THE MEMBERS OF Desmond Drummond's posse have a decision to make.
During school Monday at Girard Academic Music Program, they promised to go watch their basketball teammate play baseball against Franklin Towne Charter.
To a man, they also told him, "If you don't hit a homer, we won't go again!"
Were they kidding? Hmm. First, they'll have to reach a verdict on an issue that could prove dicey.
GAMP is located at 22nd and Ritner, in South Philly, and plays its games at 7th and Packer, 15 blocks east and seven more south. Devon Ford, Tobias Stokes and Mikhail Wilson made the journey on foot and by the time they arrived, the game was in the fourth inning.
Drummond's outta-herrrrre moment, a solo shot with one away, occurred in the third.
"Yeah, they missed it," he said.
Drummond, a 6-foot, 205-pound senior, plays third base and pitches for the Pioneers, who rolled to a 5-1 win in the Public A contest. He handled the former spot Monday and found himself involved in just two plays - a groundout and a successful tag on a pickoff throw from catcher Jeremy Castellanos, who's also a basketball player.
At bat, he walked in the first, grounded out in the fourth and - pow! - fired his homer to left-center in between.
As he freely admits, Drummond loves to jump on first pitches. The dinger came on pitch No. 2.
"Fastball, curve, anything. I love swinging right away," he said. "But that first pitch, it was too far inside. Had to take it. So then I was thinking, 'I'm definitely hackin' at this one. I'll even take a fat hit [bloop single] if that's what happens.' [No. 2 hitter] Joe Brinkman always get those. The pitch was high, but . . .
"I saw the kid go back and thought he was going to catch it. Then it hit off the scoreboard and it was, 'OK, that went out. I'm happy.' Then I was hoping my buddies were here to see it . . . Oh, well."
Veteran coach Art Kratchman loves Drummond's potential and believes he could become quite the college force.
"You've gotta see his bat speed," Kratchman said.
He wasn't the first to notice that desirable skill.
"I was playing football when I was younger," Drummond said. "But then I got hurt and my dad [Lionel] said, 'No more football.' So then I tried baseball, at age 14, and a guy said to me, 'You don't play baseball a lot? You have great potential. Your bat speed is very, very fast and that's hard to get. That's very unusual, especially for someone who's hardly played. You have a skill. You should keep doing this.' I decided to stick with it. See how it would go.
"I have to thank my dad. He was a track runner at Central. In our family, sports is a must. You have to do something. When I decided to go with baseball, he found out everything about it he could. He was always sitting there with pen and paper, writing down stuff. He has helped me get my swing and fielding and pitching together. Even now, we practice after every game for, like, 2 hours. We're gonna go do it right now."
GAMP scored two runs in the first on Brinkman's fat hit to right-center and a groundout off Nick Carine's bat. Brinkman (also on a chubby knock), and Dante Sanguilliano (infield single) had RBI in the fourth. Jake Kurtz, a sophomore righthander, went the distance while allowing six hits, striking out nine and being prominent in two of the game's three brick delays.
Huh? Bricks are beneath the dirt at the front part of the mound - for landing purposes - and they kept popping to the surface, so Kratchman and assistant Joe DeStefano wound up serving as groundskeepers.
"That was crazy," Drummond said. "I was thinking, 'Hey, I've pitched on that mound and it didn't break.' I'll be on it Thursday. Just so it's all good by then."
During the last delay, disappointed with his team's listless performance, FTC coach Kyle Riley groaned, "I'm going to ask them for one of the bricks so I can hit myself in the head with it."
Earlier, as Kratchman pounded the area with a tamper tool, Riley had quipped, "I guess this gives new meaning to 'hitting the bricks.' George Klein, FTC's third baseman, was right nearby. He said, 'I don't even know what that saying means.' "
The Coyotes' Tim Hart, a junior righty, yielded four hits in five innings and only Drummond's was stung. He fanned eight. Chris Hartman went 2-for-3 with a run-scoring, ground-rule double in the sixth.
Drummond, who wants to major in business and is being eyed by the likes of Eastern, Lincoln and Philadelphia Bible, lives on the 4800 block of North Leithgow Street, in Olney, not far from 5th and Roosevelt Blvd. The house is usually alive with the sound of music.
"I play some trumpet. Usually jazz," Desmond said. "My dad, my mom [Michelle], my sister [Sierra], my brothers [Jonathan, Marshall], we all can play instruments or sing. We've got the little family band."