Entering this week’s series against Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Country Day sophomore pitcher Drew Loepprich sported a 7-1 record on the mound.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder has been a bit of a surprise this season, helping coach Mike Hennessey’s squad to an 11-8 record.
Loepprich recently spent time with South Charlotte Weekly to give his perspectives on things on and off the field.
Q: What were your goals entering this season?
A: Just to improve. Last year, I started (the season) on varsity, and I didn’t play at all. I asked the coach to move me down to JV so I could get some playing time and experience. I think that really helped me.
Q: How did you get into baseball?
A: When I was really young, my grandfather died. He told my parents (John Loepprich and Mari Jo Craft) that when I was about 5, I always loved throwing balls with him. He told me he was supposed to be a pitcher. After that, my parents put me in baseball, and I’ve been playing ever since.
Q: What’s your strongest pitch?
A: Probably my slider. I like throwing that. I can throw it any time for a strike.
The last few years, I had only been throwing curveballs, fastballs and changeups. But this past season, with Jake Robbins at (Showcase Baseball Academy), he taught me a new way to throw a slider, so I’ve been doing that. It just gives me more to work with.
Q: Who are your baseball role models?
A: (My teammate) Jordan (Green’s) dad, AJ Green, and my friend Chase’s dad, Bobby Arnold. Chase and Jordan are my friends, and their dads have been with me for almost as long as I’ve been playing. I try to listen to people around me. They’re great role models.
Q: What are your goals for the rest of season?
A: We have our big series against (Charlotte) Christian (this week), and I’d like to win the series and then maybe carry that confidence into (the state tournament).
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: I like the Food Network a lot, but I also like Animal Planet. I really like “Finding Bigfoot.” My girlfriend and I watch that a lot.
Q: What’s your favorite college team?
A: I like UNC, and I like UCLA, too. That’s where my mom went to school.
Q: What’s your favorite professional team?
A: The Dodgers and Rangers. I’m a California guy. That’s where I was born, in Orange County. I left there when I was 2 – first to Virginia and then to here. I go back and visit once or twice a summer.
Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be?
A: Nolan Ryan. He’s probably the best pitcher of all time, and I’d love to talk baseball with him – just talk about how he did what he did.
Q: Do you have a pre-game ritual?
A: I lost my friend last year in a car wreck, and I always write “R.I.P.” and his initials on the back of the mound. His name was Michael DiMaggio.
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: I’m a big gamer. I like computer games. I used to play World of Warcraft when I was younger. Now, I’m going to be playing Diablo 3, which is a new game coming out soon. People wouldn’t expect that for me because, when they think of games like that, they think of nerds.