Brooks joins Sun Devils bullpen

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, June 1, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Just weeks after leading the Escambia Academy Cougars to the Final Four of the AISA Baseball Playoffs, pitcher Norris Brooks notched another big win, this one being a scholarship to Faulkner State Community College.
The senior signed Friday to pitch for the Sun Devil baseball team and their coach, Wayne Larker. He will report to Faulkner in the fall.
Brooks was excited about the opportunity to play at a higher level.
"This is really what I wanted all along," Brooks said. "I wanted to at least be able to get to a two-year school and continue playing. My arm's carried me this far along."
EA head baseball coach Mike Harrell, who coached Brooks for one season, was happy to see one of his players succeed.
"He really improved this year," Harrell said. "He already had a lot of talent before I got here, but he really put things together over his senior year."
In addition to Harrell, Brooks credited two other EA coaches for his success.
"Heath Gibson and coach McPhaul (who is no longer with EA) really helped me last year," he said. "Coach McPhaul helped me a lot on my mechanics and got some zip on my fastball. It's my best pitch now."
A pitch so good, in fact, that Brooks was clocked in at 91 mph during a tryout, and consistently clocked at 88 miles per hour.
Faulkner State head coach Wayne Larker said that word of mouth had led him to Brooks.
"He came over for a workout after being recommended by one of my ex-players, Brian McGill," Larker said. "He worked out extremely well and we were impressed with his abilities. I called around to a few of my contacts there and they said he was a good kid with a good work ethic. You don't hear too much about Escambia Academy, but we had heard they had some good players this year."
Harrell was also pleased that Brooks would be able to play for Larker.
"Coach Larker has a good program at Faulkner," Harrell said. "I think Norris should fit in pretty well there and succeed."
Brooks is working with Jaye's Land Development by day and umpiring Cal Ripken Baseball games by night this summer, and then will step straight into baseball upon arriving in Bay Minette.
"They play a lot of games in the fall," Brooks said. "So I'll get to play plenty of baseball."
Larker also plans to give Brooks a chance to see the field this fall.
"We play a lot of games in the fall, and he'll get a chance to throw plenty of innings," Larker said. "It's good to get them in there as freshmen, because that only makes them better as sophomores. We should be able to see pretty soon how he does against college guys."

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