In sports, stability is everything. Whether it’s a point guard in basketball or a quarterback in football, certain individuals at certain positions serve as a stabilizing force for their respective teams.
For the Emerald Vikings, senior pitcher Matthew Quarles has been the ace of the Vikings’ pitching staff since his freshman year, and is poised to have another impressive year as his Vikings prepare for the 2013 campaign.
“Like he (Quarles) has been for us the past three years, we are hoping he is going to go out there and be consistent for us,” Emerald Head Coach Stanley Moss said. “He is a kid that I think a lot of our kids look up to, because of his work ethic, and because he has been successful on the field. They see that and want to be successful too.”
Quarles, a Furman commitment, explained that there is no added pressure leading into his senior season.
“I don’t think there is any added pressure to be a leader on the team,” Quarles said. “Coach (Stanley) Moss expects everyone on the team to be a leader in their own manner and perform the way they are supposed to, behave the way they are supposed to, no matter how old they are or what their role is on the team.”
During his junior season, Quarles put up impressive numbers, going 9-1 with a 0.44 ERA. In spite of these jaw dropping numbers, the right-handed pitcher explained that there is room for improvement in his personal repertoire.
“I want to go out and improve and get better, like I have every year,” Quarles said. “I’m looking to have a better ERA and allow less hits.”
While Quarles’ physical tools are viable in their own right, Moss explained that his senior ace’s mental approach to the game may be his biggest strength as a player.
“He is very under control out there,” Moss said. “I don’t know that I have ever seen him lose control and get frustrated with a situation. He understands the game, he is a very intelligent kid, and when he goes out there, he is very well prepared. He understands what he is doing out there as well as any pitcher at this level. I think mentally, he is prepared for the next level, more so than he is physically.”
A major change for the Vikings leading into the 2013 season will be the move to 3A baseball, as Quarles and his teammates have spent the entirety of their young careers at the 2A level. According to the senior hurler, keeping a consistent mindset will be key as they approach a step up in competition.
“Going up to 3A is big for us,” Quarles said. “It’s a new challenge, a new league of baseball that we have to play in. We have to step up our game. We would obviously like to make the playoffs, and hopefully make it deep into the playoffs, the same situation we have been in last year and the year before.”