PULASKI, Virginia - Spencer Mahoney has not always been the intimidating hurler that he is for the Pulaski Yankees. In fact, he was not even considered a pitcher until the Yankees signed him after the 2015 season.
Mahoney attended Valparaiso University, where he played infield for the Crusaders. In his junior season he led his team in runs and walks. Once he graduated he started playing independent ball in the American Association.
"I played indy ball last summer as a position guy and I went and trained at the Driveline facility in Seattle, Washington this offseason," Mahoney said of his path to the Yankees. "Mr. Danny Borrell came through to just check out the facility and check out the program itself and it just happened to be a day that I was throwing."
Danny Borrell is a pitching coach in the Yankees minor league system who discovered Mahoney and told him the Yankees would like to have him join their organization.
"After a couple days went by I got a call from him that said 'Hey man I was dead serious about this and would love to get the process started,'" Mahoney said about his signing with the Yankees.
A couple of weeks after that fateful phone call, Mahoney and the Yankees reached a deal which eventually brought him to Pulaski for the 2016 season, where he currently leads the team in strikeouts. Despite not pitching much prior to joining the Yankees, Mahoney has been tough for hitters to face this season, striking out 19 batters thus far.
Mahoney's success on the mound can be attributed in part to his determination and work ethic. His favorite player growing up was Ray Durham. Mahoney liked the passion that Durham played with on the field and hopes that he plays with the same fire. Spencer doesn't limit his competitive spirit to the baseball diamond, though.
"We play N64 all the time and I'm not very good at Mario Kart yet but I will get there. Every loss I take to heart and I try and get better at it. But I'm getting better at Super Smash Brothers so that's a good thing."
As well as getting better at Super Smash Brothers, Spencer is improving his pitching, mostly his fastball, which he says he has the most confidence in at the moment. Mahoney's goal for this season is to win an Appalachian League championship, but to also learn and work on his pitching.
"My expectation for this season is to win the league. That should be for everybody here. We've got an unbelievable group of talented guys."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.