Who wants to be called upon to get the job done when it really counts? Quite frankly, being a “go to guy” is a position for some that can bring some discomfort. But for others, it is seen as a chance to come through and perform at a moment of truth. Left-handed pitcher J.D. Everett assuredly ranks in the “go to guy” category and if all goes according to plan, plenty of those moments will be in his future.
As a 2020 lefty, the Wake Forest University commit out of St. Stephens High School in Hickory, NC, seems to be a total package of sorts. He has a fastball that is regularly in the upper 80’s and the curveball is beyond serviceable.
After coaching Everett on the Dirtbags Skrap Pak squad last year, the organization’s founder and CEO Andy Partin shared a few words that capture J.D.’s abilities and personality, “J.D. is a bulldog on the mound. He’s coming at you. He’ll pound you inside with the hard stuff and he’ll finesse you with the off-speed stuff.”
In respect to being a “go to guy” Partin added, “J.D. was terrific for us last year. He was one of the guys we went to in jams. Our staff has so much confidence in him.”
At 6 foot and 195 pounds Everett has simply put himself in this position with hard work. Having been with the Dirtbags since 9th grade the southpaw says the ability to play with good players on good teams has been tremendously impactful not only from an experience standpoint but also as a motivator to work harder.
In learning more about how he transformed from just being a run of the mill left-handed pitcher into becoming a dominant ACC-bound prospect,the theme of work becomes apparent. His velo was in the mid 70’s as a freshman and his initial efforts to improve got him to 80. Once he committed to a pitching program that was dedicated to building strength and enhancing movements the numbers continued to climb. Now he works 2-3 hours a day on his body and pitching. He’s finding the results to allow him to throw harder and safer.
His commitment Wake Forest in fall of 2018 seems to have been influenced by this combination of wanting to elevate his game even further and the willingness to do the work. The recent implementation of a pitching lab at WFU was a critical point of interest for Everett. He recognizes the investment the program is taking to allow its pitchers to elevate their performance while also aiding those players to reach the next level. With the ultimate goal to certainly be professional baseball, matching this opportunity at the collegiate level with a school that offers such a quality academic atmosphere made the decision obvious.
But being a member of the Dirtbags had so much to do with his opportunity to make such a decision according to Everett. The organization’s ability through its reputation to have connections to serve its players find those best fits is not lost to him. He mentioned his communications with Dirtbags GM Trey Daly and how he contacted programs about Everett and the interest just blossomed. Stating, “He reached out and it all happened.”
Before the hurler dons the black and gold of the Demon Deacons, more work is still ahead. His 2019 high school season didn’t go as planned and Everett wants to be a catalyst to lead to the Indians of St. Stephens to the playoffs next year. Hoping his hard work will be an example to his teammates he’s excited for what lies ahead for them to accomplish together.
Until next spring he is planning to pitch a lot with the Bags. J.D. says the summer will be a chance for him to hopefully hit 90 mph on a radar gun and work on getting that curveball sharper to be a close out pitch for more strikeouts. As for the team, he says the Dirtbags will have a chance to win every tourney.
Partin agrees, saying, “We are going to have to win some big innings this summer and believe me, J.D. is going to be pitching a lot of those. He’s a winner.”
And that’s all well and good with Everett. He wants to be in those spots. And he’s ready, because he’s going to do the work.