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Pesci Makes It Happen With ‘Dream School’ Alabama

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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Pesci Makes It Happen With ‘Dream School’ Alabama

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Anthony Pesci RHP / RHP / Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep, MI / 2024

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP - “The goal was to play at Alabama since I was eight.”

Anthony Pesci is ecstatic to have that long-time ambition come true with a commitment to the Southeastern Conference university.

“This is a huge accomplishment for me,” noted the Orchard Lake St. Mary's senior, whose family vacationed there when he was younger, a trip that initiated interest in the oldest and largest college in the state.

“When we stopped at Tuscaloosa, it was my first experience at a school outside of Michigan State and Michigan,” Pesci reflected. “It was amazing. Then years passed and my sister went there. It’s even more reason for me to go there.”

Ohio State, Xavier and Marshall “offered a couple of months in advance” of Alabama according to the 14th-rated 2024 right-handed pitcher in Michigan, but the goal of nearly a decade became too much to pass up.

“’Bama was just a different fit than the rest of the schools,” Pesci said.

Family played a big part in making it happen.

“The first time they ever saw me was with my Phillies’ team,” Pesci explained. “A couple of weeks passed and I got a text from my Phillies’ coach that the pitching coach at Alabama was going to reach out. He called and said he liked what he saw but wanted me to throw in front of the rest of the staff. So on four days notice me and my family packed up and went to Tuscaloosa for me to throw.

“A couple of weeks later he said they wanted to offer but first wanted to see me throw in a game. So I went to Jupiter to throw and they offered after that. It felt like home to me. It was a no-brainer.”

The indoor facilities, weight room and offseason dietician to “make me the best I can be” were among the reasons Pesci listed why Alabama was the perfect choice to satisify his aspirations to play at the next level.

“I’ve been playing since I was four, it’s a kid's dream to go D-I at the best school I can,” Pesci said. “I’ve never been the best in my class, but last winter I took training and diet more seriously and put on 15 pounds. I was sitting low-90s after that on preview day. I always try to be better and it helps when you’re around guys like that, who push you to be better each day.

“That’s what I like about St. Mary’s,” Pesci continued. “If you’re part of that organization you want to play at the next level. My friend group of five are all going to play at the next level. We have fun competition that makes you a better player. I transferred in sophomore year and learned you try to be the best. It’s fun to go up against guys you can learn from and that teach you. It drives you to work harder.”

Alabama saw a lot to like in the 43rd-ranked senior in Michigan.

“I’m 6-4 and only weigh 195, that’s a bunch of projectability,” Pesci explained. “They like my presence on the mound. I let a hitter know I’ll be the hardest challenge for each one. They like my work ethic and that I have a great family for the program.”

Improvement was instrumental in making his quest to play college ball become a reality.

“The weight room led to velocity gains,” Pesci pointed out. “Instead of sitting 84-86, now I’m 88-90-91 topping at 92. I live in the weight room. I take sleep and nutrition more seriously than I ever have. I did a throwing program to help perfect pitch design and mechanics.”

It all was beneficial in a recruiting process that started junior year.

“It was a little later than my friends,” Pesci related. “I went to a PBR my sophomore summer and got my numbers up. I topped at 86 and the report said ‘very projectable frame with more in the tank.’ I didn’t know when I’d make it happen until I found the weight room. After that I got noticed from little schools. I went to PBR tournaments and the numbers and PBR posting tweets led to phone calls and visits.”

There was additional help along the way.

“High Performance Training introduced me to a throwing program and TSP Performance is the reason I gained weight and saw a vision of the biggest and fastest version of myself,” the 17-year-old said. 

It led to a commitment at the university he has longed to attend since the age of eight.

“What an unreal feeling,” Pesci said. “I sat back and looked at my freshman year and here’s a kid throwing in the low-70s and now I’m going to my dream school. I’m thankful to everyone who was by my side, parents and coaches, that helped me get there. It’s different when you work so hard for something.”

Accounting or finance will be the likely major for Pesci, a 3.8 student at Orchard Lake excited about a promising future at the SEC university located 12 hours from home.

“I’m looking forward to (head) coach (Rob) Vaughn and the new staff forming me into a better player than I ever imagined,” Pesci concluded. “Playing with older guys is going to help me just like at St. Mary’s. I’m going to such a prestigious school and I can’t wait.”

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