Paul Gervase has really grown into a college prospect, signing to play baseball at Pfeiffer on Friday.
As a freshman at Harnett Central, Gervase was 5 feet, 10 inches. He was 6 feet as a sophomore, but now stands 6-7. He has played basketball, but only in gym class at Central.
As his stature has increased, so have his contributions to the Trojans baseball program.
“Paul has been a very pivotal part of this culture here at Harnett Central High School,” said Central baseball coach Lance Honeycutt. “He’s been very vocal this year, which has been very good. He’s got a tremendous work ethic on and off the field. I have no doubt he’s going to be successful at the next level.”
Gervase has pitched and played first base for Central. He had a .326 batting average as a senior and a 2.39 earned run average.
The Falcons, who were 31-7 in 2018, have recruited him as a pitcher.
“It’s funny how it worked out,” Honeycutt said. “I was coaching with State Games this year. The Pfeiffer coach (Jordan Stampler) just showed up. He’s like, ‘I need some pitching.’ I said, ‘Well, I got one for you.’ I told him he was 6-foot-8, threw mid 80s (miles per hour) and threw a lot of strikes.”
That was before Gervase’s senior year at Central.
“He was the closest to a perfect game that I’ve seen in a long time,” Honeycutt said.
Gervase had not allowed a baserunner with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning in the regular-season finale at Triton when an error ended his bid for perfection.
“A very good pitcher and a very good mindset,” said Honeycutt, a former East Carolina hurler. “Very proud of him. I’m very grateful to his parents (Tom and Stephanie) for letting him be here for four years. I wish him the best. He’s got a great upside. If he continues to work, he’s going to be something special.”
Playing college ball has been a goal for the right-hander.
“I’m excited to go play at the next level,” Gervase said. “It’s something I’ve really been looking forward to my whole life.”
Honeycutt put Gervase in touch with Brandon Young, a pitching coach in Holly Springs.
“He helped me get my velocity up,” Gervase said. “He changed my mechanics. He was one of the main reasons for my success.”
Gervase threw 88 mph on Senior Night in the seventh inning against Triton, his top velocity for the year. He also features a breaking ball and a change-up.
Gervase is unique among many recruits in that he hasn’t played on a travel team since the eighth grade.
He’s interested in a business-related course of study in college. His career thoughts include law or sports broadcasting.