Brody Mack will never overpower batters with his pitches. He will never burn up the base paths with his speed. And he’ll never blast balls over the fence in great numbers if at all.
But leave Mack out of the lineup and Potomac’s chances for success drop considerably.
“He doesn’t do anything great, but he does it right,” Potomac head baseball coach Mike Covington said. “He finds a way to win.”
Mack was the key player in Potomac’s run to the Class 5 state final last season after going 11-2 with a 1.13 ERA and batting .435 in earning all-state honors as both a pitcher and an outfielder.
And with the loss of only two starters, Mack remains the key player again as the Panthers look to put last season’s disappointing finish behind them and capture the program’s first state title since 1988.
“We all have a chip on our shoulder,” Mack said. “We went all the way and didn’t finish what we hoped for.”
As the Panthers’ only four-year varsity player, Mack believes it’s his job to guide his team in a way that honors the past and paves a way for the future. The question was how best to lead Potomac.
His performance as a pitcher and outfielder provide a good starting point.
A self-described “crafty pitcher,” the left-hander relies on deception and good command of the strike zone to get batters out. He recorded 80 strikeouts in 80 innings last season.
Hylton head coach Jason Ritenour recalled a matchup a year ago against Mack where his velocity was down and he still dominated the Bulldogs.
“He’s a pleasure to watch other than when you have to face him,” Ritenour said.
Mack’s calming presence is helped by having his younger brother Braden catch him for Potomac games.
“He knows what to call and keep me on track,” Brody Mack said of Braden. “If he comes out to the mound, he’ll say the same two words and then go back and everything is fine.”
As a right fielder, Mack reads the game well by positioning himself correctly to make the right plays.
And as a hitter, he consistently gets on base with minimal power by putting the ball into play and scoring runs.
Total everything up and it’s no surprise Mack could be the first player in Potomac history to record 20 wins as a pitcher, 100 hits and 100 RBIs. That’s quite an accomplishment for a member of Prince William County’s winningest high school baseball program that’s produced its fair share of standouts since the school opened in 1979.
“He would play on any team in any era,” Covington said.
Mack’s leadership style also reflects his team-first attitude.
Mack was uncertain about what approach to adopt until he attended a leadership seminar in January at Woodbridge High School. After hearing a Marine talk about leading from the middle, Mack decided that method best fit him. Being out front or behind seemed too detached.
“I thought it was a good place to be, where the people saw you as an equal,” Mack said.
Mack first employed the approach one day by picking four underclassmen to lead warmups. Two were surprised by the move, but the other two jumped right in, waiting for that opportunity.
“I’m trying to make it so people can step in after others have graduated so they know what to do,” Mack said.
Mack’s patience paid off with a baseball scholarship to William & Mary. Coming into last spring, Mack had generated interest from Division I schools, but no offers.
The Tribe began following Mack in the postseason. Good performance or bad, the coaches kept coming back. Covington believes Mack convinced William & Mary to offer him after Mack played well at the Commonwealth Games over the summer at Liberty University.
“That pushed him over the top,” said Covington who coached Mack at the Commonwealth Games. “He faced better pitching and competition. He looked like he belonged.”
Mack’s academic profile only enhanced his prospects. He carries a 4.42 GPA and is Potomac’s senior class president. Mack committed to the Tribe in August as a two-way player and signed during the early signing period in November.
“Brody is one of the better two-way players in the area,” Ritenour said. “From an outside perspective, he’s always in control of the situation.”