Left-handed Kris Armstrong pitched a fine game Thursday. The right-handed Armstrong did not fare as well.
Fort Lauderdale-Calvary Christian, which traveled to Palm Beach Gardens to play Benjamin, faced both versions of the Buccaneers’ junior hurler, as Armstrong pitched with both hands in the same high school game for the first time. He pitched the first three innings left-handed, then switched to his right hand for the next three.
Unfortunately, for the No. 9 Buccaneers (13-7), Armstrong gave up six runs, four of which were earned, as a right-hander, and Benjamin fell 6-1.
“I think it’ll take a little time to get used to,” Armstrong said. “I thought I was hitting my spots pretty well, but they were just finding some holes here and there. I think, in the future, if I keep working on it, I’ll be good to go.”
Armstrong, a Florida Gators commit, is a natural right-hander and bats right-handed (and does it well, hitting .440 last year and .378 this season entering this week) but he taught himself to hit and throw left-handed when he was young. He usually pitches right-handed, but will occasionally pitch with his left hand. He has a specially made, six-fingered glove that he can use with either hand.
Coach Wesley Logsdon said there was no specific reason for having Armstrong switch-pitch Thursday, but he said his junior pitcher, who MaxPreps rated as the No. 45 junior prospect in the nation, had been working toward doing it for a while.
“It’s been something he’s been wanting to do,” Logsdon said.
Armstrong throws the same pitches with both hands: a fastball, changeup and curveball. He said his changeup and curveball are usually better left-handed. But he throws his fastball as hard as 94 mph as right-hander, while topping out at 86 mph from the left side.
Switch-pitching is rare, with the only active player in the majors or minors who can switch pitch is Pat Venditte, who plays for the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A team.
Venditte gained notoriety for a long, minor-league ordeal where he and a switch-hitter continuously switched throwing arms and batter’s boxes. The incident inspired a new professional baseball rule, specifying that a pitcher must choose which arm to throw with before the batter chooses where to hit.
Luckily, Palm Beach County umpires likely won’t have to deal with the same issue: Armstrong does not plan to switch arms in the same inning.
“I thought about it,” he said. “It seems kind of hard to get warm every inning because you only get seven pitches between innings.”
No. 2 Jupiter 6, Cardinal Newman 4: Mason Dolittle was 2-for-4 with a grand slam, a double, and four RBIs as the Warriors (16-4) held off the Crusaders in West Palm Beach.
No. 3 Wellington 2, Forest Hill 0: Angelo Brunelas and Conner Dunnam combined for a one-hitter and eight strikeouts, leading the Wolverines (15-5) over the Falcons. Brunelas had an RBI single and Danny Hernandez had two hits and scored a run for Wellington.
Santaluces 11, Lake Worth 1: A.J. Orrico was 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs as the Chiefs (9-10) dominated the Trojans in Lantana.
Atlantic 8, West Boca Raton 3: Cameron Husing doubled and drove in two runs and Aundre Rolle added a double and an RBI as the Eagles (12-9) defeated the Bulls.
King’s Academy 16, Oxbridge Academy 1: Logan Bray was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs; Jake Gerardi went 2-for-3 with a triple, two stolen bases and two RBIs, and Trevor Hollis pitched five innings, striking out six as the Lions scored 12 runs in the sixth inning to roll over the Thunderwolves.
Jupiter Christian 4, Atlantic Christian 3: Evan Peterson doubled and drove in a run and Clayton Moore added a hit and a run scored as the Eagles edged the Saints.