It’s been a dreary, rainy start to the high school baseball season, but one player couldn’t be happier.
Lucas Gordon, the ace pitcher for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, is back and starting to resemble the player who was one of the best freshmen in Southern California in 2017.
Last season, he didn’t throw a single pitch. An elbow ligament pulled off his growth plate before the season and he had surgery last spring. A four-inch scar down his right elbow provides a clue.
“You’re scared,” he said. “The first three months were pretty bad, because I’m going, ‘This is going to take forever.’ As I started throwing, it went by super quick.”
He threw his first inning in more than a year Feb. 19 against Simi Valley. Then, on Tuesday, the signs of what hitters could be dealing with this season were visible during a two-inning stint against St. Bonaventure. He struck out all six batters he faced.
“It felt great,” he said.
Next week, he’s scheduled to pitch three innings against Chaminade. The following week, he’ll start and go four innings. Soon, he’ll be back to normal but bigger, stronger and better than ever.
“The main thing is to know your doctor did well and you’re going to come back throwing harder,” he said. “I trusted my arm.”
Gordon, a USC commit, was so good as a freshman that he was selected Notre Dame’s pitcher to throw on Tuesdays, reserved for the ace. On the team was Hunter Greene, the No. 2 pick in the MLB draft in 2017. Gordon was a member of the USA 15U national team that won a gold medal in the summer of 2017.
He’s on schedule to return to his standing as one of the top pitchers in the Southland.
“Lucas understands pitching,” coach Tom Dill said. “His arm seems to be back to where it was.”
He’s got one date memorized — April 22. It’s when Notre Dame plays Harvard-Westlake. For now, fans will have to settle for seeing him pitch three innings next week when the Knights open the Mission League against Chaminade. Eagles hitters should feel fortunate it will be only three innings.