Pitcher Perry performing like another rising Carlsbad star (with state tourney brackets) - Albuquerque Journal

Pitcher Perry performing like another rising Carlsbad star (with state tourney brackets)

Nolan Perry of the Carlsbad High baseball team delivers a pitch earlier this season. (Courtesy of Tim Perry)

The Carlsbad High baseball pipeline has proven to be a dependable source of elite talent. And it’s flowing again. As the top-seeded Cavemen (24-4) come to Albuquerque for the second week of the Class 5A state tournament, they tout the most accomplished 1-2 pitching combination of any of the eight quarterfinalists.

And while left-hander Mack Mabrey would likely be the staff ace on most rosters, he’s not on this one.

That is senior right-hander Nolan Perry, poised to blaze a path similar to the one taken by another Cavemen product, Trevor Rogers, in 2017: being drafted out of high school and turning pro.

“I think he’s pretty impressive, in all honesty,” Rogers told the Journal from Phoenix earlier in the week. “He really just gets after it. It’s impressive to watch.”

It’s a validation others are quick to echo. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Perry has command of four pitches, velocity that sits consistently in the 92-93 range (topping out around 95) and, by all accounts, is possessed of an unflappable demeanor.

“He just goes about his business,” said Carlsbad coach Cody May. “He’s definitely a competitor, but he shows zero emotion, whether things are going well or not going well. It’s hard to explain unless you’re around the kid.”

Added Tim Perry, Nolan’s father, “It’s one of his best qualities.”

No fewer than 14 teams in MLB, including the Yankees, San Diego, Oakland, Arizona, Seattle, Toronto, Atlanta, Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, are charting Perry closely.

The 14th team is the Miami Marlins, the team that drafted Rogers in the first round five years ago. And that choice has panned out handsomely as Rogers made the National League All-Star team a season ago and is a mainstay in the Marlins’ starting rotation.

Perry, 18, seems likely to hear his name at July’s MLB Draft. What round is not made clear of course. He has signed with Texas Tech, and it could be Perry this summer will face a decision about which path to follow.

Perry said Texas Tech is “my dream school since I was a kid” and said he chose the Red Raiders over Grand Canyon, Arizona State and New Mexico, among others.

Perry keeps the specifics of the long-term possibilities out of the conversation, at least for now. “I just want to win this state championship and play at the next level,” he said.

He may get the start for the Cavemen when they play No. 9 seed Farmington at 1 p.m. Thursday at Santa Ana Star Field in the 5A quarterfinals.

Perry’s 9-1 record includes a minuscule 0.36 ERA. Half of his 10 starts, including a no-hitter March 4 vesus Centennial, were complete games. He’s struck out 106 batters in 59 innings, only surrendered three earned runs, and walked just eight batters in those 10 starts.

In his one loss, he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Hobbs on April 28, only to give up a solo home run in the final inning of a 1-0 Eagles win.

Perry has been playing the last few summers with Albuquerque Baseball Academy’s traveling team, and he’s pitched in the Connie Mack World Series.

There is no secret to his success, say those in the know.

“He has repeatable mechanics, that’s the thing I noticed most about him,” said Valley High coach Chad Kuhn, who pitched over a decade professionally in the minors and whose Vikings faced Perry in the Rio Rancho tournament in March. “He repeats his delivery, and he’s got another gear when he needs it.”

Kuhn used the term “easy gas” to describe Perry’s velocity. Rogers picked up on this, too, as the two spent time together in the offseason in Carlsbad.

“Even in his bullpens, the ball was very fluid coming out of his hand. It doesn’t seem like it is forced. It looks like he’s not even trying up there,” Rogers said, adding, “And his curveball is a lot better than mine at that age.”

Perry’s repertoire includes a fastball, curve, slider and a hybrid of split-finger and change-up. It’s a pitch, said father Tim, himself once a minor leaguer in the Padres organization for six years, that Nolan started throwing at the age of 6.

Among those aforementioned mechanics, Tim Perry said, is point of delivery.

“Whether it’s his fastball, curveball, change-up … it’s the same arm slot,” Tim Perry said. “And to be able to have control like (him) you have to be able to repeat your mechanics.”

For his own part, Perry is polite and well spoken, but extremely soft-spoken and not prone to self-congratulatory sentiment.

“I think he just made the game very simple for himself,” observed Rogers.

His strong support system, he said, keeps him grounded. Perry said he doesn’t think much about the scouts who show up to analyze his starts.

“I would just say, I’m just focused on doing my job, hitting my spots,” he said. “Coach May and my family have helped me a lot, like telling me how to get through it, and getting me ready for games.”

This weekend, Perry – who also is a major contributor at the plate for Carlsbad, with a .410 average, five home runs and 31 RBIs – hopes Carlsbad can win its first baseball title since 2016.

“That’s how I grew up, always at the baseball field watching them,” Perry said. “In Little League, we’d go watch the games, and it was a cool atmosphere to see. And I wanted to be part of that.”

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 5A

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 4A

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 3A

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 2A

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 1A

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