La GRANGE, Texas -- One of the three cute girls standing by the desk in the office at the high school announced "Super Star" as Homer Bailey walked by. He smiled, but didn't stop to acknowledge the compliment.
Bailey, projected to be the No. 1 high school player taken in Monday's draft, has grown accustom to such adulation.
"Pretty much everyone knows who I am," he said of living in this town of 4,400 in central Texas, 100 miles west of Houston. "Sometimes it's a good thing. Sometimes it's a bad thing, because people who you never met decide you're best friends.
"There's always a jealousy factor in a small town. A lot of people don't see the hard work and dedication it takes."
When you're a 6-foot-4 right-hander with a 94 mph fastball, a 13-0 record and 0.57 ERA, people know who you are, from near and far. Coach Ralph Ferguson said 43 pro scouts attended Bailey's first game this season. And that was a scrimmage!
High school pitchers sometimes compile outrageous statistics against overmatched hitters, particularly in Bailey's case when you're playing at the 3A high school level.
But it's his nearly immaculate control that catches your eye. In 78 2/3 innings this season Bailey has struck out 180 and walked only 12. That's right. Just 12 walks.
"Throwing strikes is easy," he said. "I've always had decent control. You go after batters. If I want to throw a strike, I can."
Opponents are hitting a measly .089 against him.
"When they hit the ball, people (from the other team) cheer," Ferguson said. "Base hits are like they scored a run."
Bailey has allowed only 27 hits all season.
There's nothing fancy about him. He throws a fastball, curveball and occasional changeup.
"I live with the fastball and curveball," he said. "I can't really throw a changeup that much playing high school baseball. It's the only thing they can hit."
Frankly, the competition during the regular season can be lacking. La Grange won several games by the 10-run rule.
"Three-A baseball is not where I'm really challenged," said Bailey, who plays for the more competitive Houston Heat in the summer.
He was born to pitch.