USD Magazine Fall 2013

By all accounts, St. Louis Billikens relief pitcher James Norwood has a solid collegiate baseball career ahead of him. The flame-throwing junior has allowed only one home run in 61 innings of work over two seasons, and is considered to have one of the best fastballs in the Atlantic 10 Conference. He’s also become a fan-favorite among the USD baseball faithful, and you can bet he’s none-too-pleased as to why. On a wet, dreary and altogether miserable evening at Fowler Park last March, Norwood took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning of an early-season matchup with the Toreros. St. Louis had built a commanding 6-2 lead, and the majority of the 340 die-hard fans in attendance had seen enough; opting to head en masse toward the exits and, presumably, warmth and shelter. With his team just six outs away from a confidence-boosting win against a nationally ranked opponent, Norwood threw a 94-mph fastball across the heart of the plate — and the greatest hitter in USD history was ready. “I remember that the coaches told me that he had a really good fastball, and to be ready for it early in the count,” Kris Bryant recalls, futilely attempting to suppress a grin. “I wasn’t feeling great that night, and went to the plate with the intention of swinging at anything close to the strike zone. He grooved a fastball, and I got ahold of it pretty good.” Natural THE Kris Bryant has a season for the ages — with a little help from his friends Photography by Tim Mantoani by Mike Sauer



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