June can't come soon enough for one Bunker Hill senior.
Jeremy Null, a 6-foot-7-inch 215-pound pitcher for the Bears, will graduate this spring. However, he will also be looking forward to the month because of the Major League Baseball Draft.
"I am just anxious," Null said. "I want to graduate, but I love high school too. High school has been a blast. It will be a bunch of mixed emotions. I am ready to see what the draft is going to be like."
Null is on the radar of many Major League teams due to the many impressive accolades he has and skills that he displays. He has been playing since he was almost 4 years old.
If drafted, he will become the second Bear to do so. Jamon Deal was drafted in 1988 after he went to college at UNC-Asheville.
"If that happens, I would be extremely happy for him," said Bunker Hill baseball coach Marty Curtis. "Would it be honor for our baseball program? Certainly, but I would be more happy for him. Something like that is a dream of his."
During his junior campaign at Bunker Hill, Null was 8-1 with a 0.24 ERA. His 114 strikeouts are second in a season at Bunker Hill. He may have been the record holder in that category, if not for missing the last five games of the season.
Null also completed a school record six shutouts, and had three games of 15 or more strikeouts. He gave up two earned runs the entire year, which came against South Iredell and Surry Central.
"He is a talented young man," Curtis said. "He has a lot of God-given ability, along with the fact he is just such a fine young man. I guess you have to give credit to his parents on that. He is a hard worker. He is what you hope for in a baseball player and has a good attitude."
The Bears finished the season with a 29-1 record and made it to the third round of the playoffs.
Null wants to do even better individually, but has bigger goals in mind
for his team this season.
"I would like for us to win the conference regular season and tournament again," Null said. "I would also like for us to win the eastern tournament and go farther into the state playoffs."
His velocity on his fastball reached a high of 91 mph during the high school baseball season. Also in his repertoire is a 70-73 mph breaking ball, but he is always trying to improve to his current arsenal.
"My fastball can now hit 92 miles per hour," Null said. "That was during a Futures game at Chapel Hill. I haven't really worried about speed too much. Of course, you want to get your arm stronger. I have been working more on location and developing my breaking pitches more."
Not only is Null great off of the mount, but he also does well from the plate. He hit a .412 average, scored 21 RBIs and had a school-record seven home runs last season for the Bears.
"I have always loved hitting," Null said. "It is good to know you can help yourself out when you are pitching, too. I like when people look at me not as just the pitcher. Pitchers always get the reputation that they can't hit. I pride myself as much in my hitting abilities as I do my pitching abilities."
Null spent time pitching this past year for American Legion Post 48 Legion team in the Area IV West Division. It was his first year pitching in Legion ball.
"I am pretty good friends from the high schools around here," Null said. "They were all playing Legion. So I just decided to play with them and see how it goes. It was my first time playing that. It was new and different."
As for college, Null committed to the Western Carolina University in August 2009 and signed with the Catamounts last November. However, Null might bypass college and sign with a Major League team.
"It all depends on the situation, where I get drafted and what I get offered," Null said. "It is a decision me and my family will have to sit down and discuss. If the situation is right, there is definitely a possibility of me signing. I wouldn't sign for nothing because I have my college papers and a chance to go play college baseball."
Null wants to play in the majors, but his ideal situation is to suit up for his favorite team.
"I would play for any team," Null said. "I've always been a St. Louis Cardinals fan growing up. The dream would be to play for them. I have talked to some teams, and there are some places I wouldn't mind going to or getting drafted by. Being a Cardinals fan though, that would be the perfect situation for me."