July 28, 2014

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Baseball: Comets star has Stanford scholarship, lofty goals

In 2012, Griffin Weir batted .422 with eight doubles and 22 RBIs as the Amherst Comets went 19-9 overall and shared the Southwestern Conference title with Avon Lake with a 10-4 record. He was a first-team All-SWC and All-Lorain County selection as a junior, and for good measure orally committed to Stanford.

It was a season most high school baseball players only dream about.

Weir isn’t most high school baseball players.

He is arguably the top player in Lorain County and one of the best in Ohio. He’s signed and waiting to be delivered to Palo Alto, Calif., to begin life as a Cardinal after his senior season and graduation. He has high expectations for himself.

So while last season was a success at the plate, it was a disaster where it mattered most to him — on the mound.

After pitching four innings against Avon, he moved from the mound to third base to finish the game. He then went home, showered and his right arm “just blew up.” The diagnosis was a strained elbow muscle that shut him down for the season as a pitcher.

“I hated every minute of sitting on the bench,” said Weir, who offered pitching advice to teammates as a way to stay involved. “It was not enjoyable at all. I like to be out there with my teammates, and all I could do was watch.

“It got a little better when I was allowed to hit, but I still wanted to be pitching. It’s what I love to do.”

The affection for baseball is normal given his success, but Weir admits it wasn’t always his favorite sport. Basketball held that honor until Weir gave up the dream for the reality of baseball.

“Basketball was my favorite sport when I got to high school,” said Weir, who lettered on the court as a sophomore and junior. “But I quickly realized that baseball was my ticket to the next level and started putting a lot of effort into it. It was tough not to play basketball this year, but after the elbow injury it was for the best.

“The transition from basketball to baseball the past couple of years was sloppy and I didn’t want to reinjure the arm.”

Although the injury cost him a season of pitching and ended his basketball career, there was a silver lining. The time off allowed Weir to work on his mechanics, and he’s pitching better than ever.

“I worked on my curveball and reinvented my throwing motion,” he said. “I have a lot better control of the pitch and it’s actually easier on my arm when I throw it now. So I guess everything happens for a reason.”

In addition to the curveball, Weir throws two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a change-up. He considers the two-seamer and change-up his best pitches. Amherst coach Matt Rositano believes all of Weir’s pitches are good. Really good.

“He has the tools to go to the next level and beyond,” said Rositano, in his first year. “He is throwing his fastball consistently in the 89-92 miles per hour range. His other pitches are outstanding. He’s got a great work ethic and wants to maximize his abilities. He’s a leader on and off the field for us.

“He’s going to go as far as he wants to go.”

Repeating as SWC champs and winning a district championship are at the top of Weir’s to-do list. A state title, a successful college career and a potential professional career sit behind the more immediate goals.

“We have to take it one step at a time,” he said. “We have to do the first two things if we want to do the next thing. Individually, I need to do the same thing and focus on the present. If I do that, then the future will take care of itself.”

Although he has signed with Stanford, Weir would like to pitch well enough this spring to move into the first 10 rounds of the MLB amateur draft. He can work on moving up even higher once he lands at Stanford.

“I missed a season so I have a lot of work to do,” Weir said. “You’re only as good as your last season and I last pitched on the high school level two years ago.”

Weir carries a 4.1 grade-point average and plans to major in finance at Stanford. Its reputation as an academic and athletic institution wasn’t the only thing that attracted Weir.

“I liked everything about the school,” he said. “Obviously, academics and athletics were at the top of my list. But the coaches were nice, I felt comfortable in the atmosphere there and I liked the weather. I live in Ohio, where we play baseball in the cold and in the rain.

“I’m going to enjoy playing baseball in California.”

Contact Hans Schneider at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.