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Hochevar, Corral advise FHS players at Diamond Dinner

Even Farragut High School baseball, with its four state titles the past six seasons, can learn new methods and attitudes about how to keep winning big.

A Major League pitcher and a major college pitching coach emphasized there’s no limitations to success, regret hurts more than discipline and out-work the next guy. And how the pitcher learned much from his former coach.

As first reported in Farragut First Edition at Jan. 26, those were keys points from Luke Hochevar, national college Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-American as a Tennessee Volunteer (2005), and first-round draft choice of the Kansas City Royals currently in the Royals’ starting rotation.

Hochevar joined Fred Corral, Tennessee Volunteers pitching coach, as featured speakers during FHS’s 2009 Diamond Dinner in First Farragut United Methodist Church Monday, Jan. 26.

Corral, who coached Hochevar at UT, said his former standout hurler “had a phobia … someone was working hard in a different part of the country, and he had to work harder than that person.”

Hochevar, named Roger Clemens National Pitcher of the Year in 2005 after his 15-3 record and 2.26 ERA helped land the Vols in the College World Series, said his father “used to tell me there’s two types of pains in this world, either the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. And the pain of discipline feels a whole lot better.”

For all of his dad’s critical advise, the Royals’ 25-year-old pitcher said Corral’s tutoring “took me to a level that I would not have even come close to. He instilled in me the warrior-like mentality.”

Before Corral, Hochevar described his pitching technique as “a mechanical mess.”

Hochevar, a 6-foot-5, 205-pounder whp compiled a 6-12 record and 5.51 ERA in 22 starts (129 innings) in 2008, said “keeping a journal,” a suggestion from Corral while at UT, has been vital to his improvement.

“The mentality of baseball has to be habit,” he said. “Believe me, there are some mornings when I wake up I just want to throw the thing away because I’m tired of writing.”

A former U.S. Junior Olympic team member, Hochevar said he learned a valuable lesson during those Olympic games in Japan and Taiwan earlier this decade.

“I had been through a couple of years of college and had seen quite a bit of baseball, and figured I’d probably had seen it all up to that point,” Hochevar said.

But while “hanging out” with the Japanese team, “To watch these guys work and to watch the discipline in their work was remarkable,” the former Vol said.

“It really opened my eyes, and told me, ‘I think I’m somewhat behind these guys,’” he added. “They’ve taken it to a whole new level. They’re throwing 220 pitches over here [per game] and pitching coaches are losing jobs. … These guys are throwing 260 pitches in a game.”

Advising the FHS players to not place limits on their goals, Corral said that among the current 750 Major League Baseball players, 150 are not U.S. citizens. “And those numbers are going up … because there are no limitations [to success] in other countries.”

Hochevar left the FHS players with one promise, even as he’s traveling city-to-city with the Royals: “I’ll be definitely checking the Internet, keeping up on you guys.

“Making sure we bring home another state championship.”


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