Cameron Wagoner is making sure he grabs a hold of every moment to create lasting memories during his senior year at Tecumseh.
Wagoner, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-handed pitcher, has grabbed the attention of major-league scouts, including 21 during a 2-0 win last month over Ypsilanti Lincoln when he struck out 11.
When you touch 93-95 mph on the radar gun like Wagoner does, along with go-to pitches like a curveball and changeup, scouts tend to take notice.
Wagoner was 8-2 last season with a 1.07 ERA, striking out 90 in 58⅔ innings, helping Tecumseh win a regional championship before falling in the Division 2 state quarterfinal to DeWitt.
Tecumseh is off to a 14-3 start this season, and Wagoner is doing his part as Tecumseh once again hopes to be playing in the final week of the season.
Wagoner improved his record to 7-0 with a three-inning, mercy-rule shutout win over Ypsilanti on Thursday at Siena Heights University, striking out seven. He hasn’t allowed an earned run, giving up just two runs in 37 innings, while striking out 72 — nearly two an inning.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” Wagoner said. “It’s my last year with this team, and honestly it’s the team we grew up playing with. We went to states every single year of Little League and it’s the last time I’m going to play with them, so I want to make sure it counts.
“My second baseman (Macguire Hawley) and center fielder (Hunter Stines) are going to play together next year at Alma College, and my catcher, Colin Brazil, is going to Cleary (University). Colin has caught me since machine pitch. Ty Rhodes, our first baseman, is also playing well.
“We dog-piled, sprayed water bottles everywhere after we won the regional last year. It was special, and we’re going to try and do it again and hopefully win the state championship this year. I feel we have the talent to get it done.”
Wagoner has matured both physically and mentally, a reason he could be selected in next month’s MLB draft. He already has signed with Eastern Michigan, actually enrolling to get his classes Thursday before taking the trip to Adrian for the doubleheader against Ypsilanti.
“I decided to not play basketball last year and I didn’t play again this year, and gained 30 pounds,” Wagoner said. “I was throwing 77 (mph) my freshman year and got up to 95 earlier this year so everything is improving, but it’s more of an accuracy point of view.
“I used to be a really wild guy, and it would be really easy to get in my head so when teams got a couple of hits on me I would just mentally shut down. Now, it’s to the point of 'You’ve done it so many times, you can get through this.’ If you ever want to make a future out of anything you have to be able to withstand, like if something doesn’t go your way and a guy hits an absolute bomb you’ve just got to say, ‘Congrats,’ and move on.
“One of the most satisfying things as a pitcher, at least for me, is when you absolutely let one loose and you actually hit the spot perfectly. Every game is one that you remember, not every pitch, but one where you create memories.”
Tom Bullinger, now in his 13th year as head coach at Tecumseh, said Wagoner’s command is his strength.
“His command on the mound is what makes him special; he’s really matured out there and has done a good job,” Bullinger said. “We’ve had a lot of scouts here ... he’s consistently in the low 90s, throws hard. He’s a hard worker and he’s fun to watch on the mound.
“He’s come a long way since his sophomore year. I remember sometimes when he was a sophomore when he didn’t have his stuff he’d be looking in the dugout at us. Now, he’s more of a bulldog out there. He wants the ball and that’s good to see.”
Wagoner could be the best right-handed pitcher to come out of the Southeastern Conference since Zach Putnam of Ann Arbor Pioneer, who went on to pitch at Michigan and then for four teams in seven seasons in the majors.
DAC Athletic Awards set for May 13
The Detroit Athletic Club Foundation announced the 2019 Michigan High School Athlete of the Year nominees on March 20.
The winning female and male Athlete of the Year will be announced during the DAC Athletic Awards on May 13 at the Detroit Athletic Club, 241 Madison Ave., Detroit.
In its 23rd year, the annual DAC Athletic Awards recognizes high school student-athletes who exemplify the ideals of high academic standards, spirit of athletic competition and community leadership.
The six female nominees are Julia Ayrault of Grosse Pointe North (basketball), Madeline Chinn of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (volleyball), Rickea Jackson of Detroit Edison (basketball), Ashley Turak of Farmington Hills Harrison (swimming), Jansen Eichenlaub of Birmingham Marian (soccer, track) and Danielle ‘Elle’ Hartje of Detroit Country Day (tennis, soccer, hockey).
The six male nominees are Lance Dixon of West Bloomfield (football), Austin Brown of Madison Heights Madison (football), Heath Baldwin of Kalamazoo Hackett (football, track), Nick Foster of Ann Arbor Pioneer (cross country), Kendel Taylor of Madison Heights Bishop Foley (football) and Derek Maas of Holland West Ottawa (swimming).
“Each year the bar is raised by the amazing student-athletes nominated for the Michigan High School Athlete of the Year,” said Lorron James, Michigan High School Athlete of the Year Chairperson and DAC board member. “Besides the outstanding athletic and academic achievement, the student-athletes are volunteers in their community. The nominating committee continues to be impressed by the talent and it gets more difficult each year to make the final selection.”
Former Pistons star Ben Wallace will be a guest speaker at the event. The winning female and male Michigan Athlete of the Year receive a $5,000 scholarship and other nominees receive a $1,000 scholarship presented by the DAC Foundation.