Q&A with University of Maryland Commit Nick Pantos

By Jerry Shank
Maryland Director of Scouting

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Gaitherburg RHP Nick Pantos recently committed to the University of Maryland. The RHP is one of the top players in the class of 2016 and part of a talented rotation at Gaithersburg high school. He was also mentioned as an early potential candidate to represent Maryland in the 2016 Super 60.  You can read that article by clicking HERE. Pantos was kind enough to speak with us about his decision and the recruiting process.

Nick PantosWhat was the recruiting process like for you?

-- Going into the process, I really didn't know what to expect. My coaches, my dad, and the rest of my family were a tremendous help throughout the entire recruiting process and made everything easier for me. All that I had to do was go out and play my best and my coaches would work out how I was going to be seen by scouts and get exposure. In addition to my coaches, my family was a huge help with supporting me throughout and I knew that they would support whatever decision I chose to make in the end. The recruiting process was very fun and exciting for me, but also stressful. I knew I was making a big decision for my future and I wanted to be sure that I made the right one. All of that support made the whole process much less stressful and helped me to focus on doing my best out on the field and not worry about anything else.

What were the key factors you were looking for in your college decision?

-- Initially, I wasn't really sure what I was looking for in a school and I assumed that I would figure it out as I went along. I've been a University of Maryland fan since I was little and UMD has been a dream school of mine to play at. I also feel like I connected with the coaching staff and I really like the direction that they are taking the program. Another big factor in my decision was the fact that the academics at UMD are very highly ranked and I will get a very good education going there. The campus itself is very nice with high quality facilities. On top of all this I can stay close to home while attending UMD.

When did things heat up in your recruitment?

-- I started playing showcase baseball the summer before my sophomore year. It was a good introduction to how playing in showcases worked and how the recruiting process worked since the events in the fall season were smaller. During the fall season and on into winter camps I started attracting some attention. The spring of my sophomore year was when scouts first started coming out to see me throw, and when I took my first visits. Over the summer things heated up even more with bigger events and contacting more coaches and schools. I received some scholarship offers and generated some pro scout interest as well.

When did you realize that you were a college caliber baseball player?

--I played on great tournament teams for years against the best competition around, but I really started thinking seriously about college ball when I made the high school varsity team as a freshman and batted #3 in the lineup all season. I made the all-division and all-county teams that year and it really started to click for me that I could raise my game to the next level. My freshman year in high school our team won the division and was the #1 seed going into the postseason. The next year we were 20-3 and won our region while making it all the way to the state semifinal game. I played a key role on these teams hitting 3rd in the lineup, playing the field, and being a part of the pitching rotation. Another big moment that made me feel I could play in college was during my first showcase in the fall of my sophomore year, when coaches gunned my fastball at 86 mph.

What was the biggest factor in the school you finally chose to attend?

-- There was a combination of things from connecting with the coaching staff to the academics at Maryland. Regular and postseason play showed that Coach Szefc, Coach Belanger, and the staff have the program going in a great direction. I really like the campus and the academic and athletics facilities are fantastic. I'm also glad that I'll get to stay close to home while attending college. Finally I've been a Maryland fan my whole life. All of these were big factors in my choice to attend UMD.

What other schools were you considering?

-- Before committing I took numerous visits and drew interest from a number of schools, including University of Richmond, VCU, Maryland, Coastal Carolina, and Virginia Tech, to name a few. I really enjoyed the traveling, meeting, and talking with coaches. I got to see all of the great facilities and the professionalism of all of the coaches and other players and recruits I met during the whole process.

What has been the biggest moment in your baseball career?

-- One of the most exciting moments in my baseball career came last year in a high school game at home against Seneca Valley. Going into the game we were losing 8-0 and looking to continue the undefeated season. In the bottom of the sixth inning, we were down by two runs. Our leadoff hitter got on base and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice. I came up to the plate with two outs and hit a home run to left center to tie the game. I could hear the home crowd screaming as I rounded the bases. We ended up winning that game in the bottom of the next inning on a walk off hit to center field and improving our record to 9-0.

Who do you play for over the summer? Why did you decide to play for them?

-- In the summer and fall I play for Elite Baseball of Pennsylvania. My high school coach Jeff Rabberman recommended the organization to me when I first showed interest in playing showcase ball. All of the coaches there have been a huge help to me with instruction and also throughout the recruiting process. They've gotten scouts out to see me throw and helped me participate in events that would increase my exposure and put me up against very good competition. I also learned and continue to learn from my pitching coach, Coach Park, and Coaches McKenna and Werts every week with lessons and practice to continue to improve my game. I definitely would not be in the position I am in now if it weren't for the Elite program, Coach Rabberman, and my parents helping me achieve my goals.

Is there a MLB player that you would compare your style of play with?

-- I would compare the way that I throw most closely with Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins. Our deliveries are very similar and we both have the same type of frame. I have 4 pitches and like to throw a sinker and a hard breaking ball, making our pitching styles very similar.

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