Mark Adzick may be the one Penn Charter student with a financial stake in his senior project.
Adzick has until May 24 to finish his year-end assignment, "The Pros and Cons of Signing a Professional Baseball Contract Out of High School vs. College," and until June 6 or 7 - the dates of Major League Baseball's amateur draft - to put his project to the test.
It is fairly safe to say that if the lefthanded pitcher slips to the second day of the draft, he will head to Wake Forest.
"They have to beat that to get me," Adzick said.
Of course, the draft is often a tricky proposition, especially for a top-notch student. Big-league ball clubs don't want to waste top picks on the Joe College types.
And after meeting with 22 scouts, the 6-foot, 4-inch, 170-pound Adzick still is unsure where he'll go in the draft or if he'll go at all. In a few weeks, though, Adzick and his parents should get a better feel of their standing and the scouts a better idea if Adzick is willing to skip college.
Right now, the pros and cons are fairly even, according to Adzick and his project survey.
"I've had completely different responses," Adzick said. "Some people say college is the obvious choice. Some say, no way, you can't pass up all that money."
To be sure, Adzick is not pitching for the dough, although he joked that it would take "millions" to get him to sign. A varsity hurler since the eighth grade, he pointed to the Phillies' Cole Hamels as one reason to go pro.
"He's the ideal example of what's good about getting drafted," Adzick said. "He was only 22 and already in the majors."
Adzick has not had the opportunity to show his stuff recently - a consistent 89 m.p.h. fastball, an 80 m.ph. changeup and a 12-6 curveball. Two weeks ago he strained an oblique muscle in his abdomen, and he has not pitched since, although he is still playing first base for the Quakers.
Also, with scouts monitoring his every pitch, it has been fairly difficult for Adzick to top his previous four years of success.
"It's really not the scouts," Adzick said. "Of course, they add to it. But sometimes I think my teammates expect perfection, and it's almost impossible to be perfect in baseball."
If anything, Adzick has improved his hitting, a change he credits in part to the additional weight he gained in the off-season.
"Also when I pitch, I hit better because I'm so focused on pitching, I'm not thinking about hitting," Adzick said. "When you don't think you do better."
The same could not be said of school, or more specifically, of Adzick's senior project.
"I could always fail the project," Adzick said, "and not graduate in time for college."
Even irony isn't that cruel.
Conestoga moved alone into first place with a 5-2 win over second-place Haverford on Monday in the Central League.
Junior righthander Steve Richter (5-0) recorded the win for the Pioneers and is just one reason why Conestoga is setting itself up for a postseason run.
The other main reason is another junior righty, Max Kenan (4-0). The two are surrounded by a senior-laden group led by second baseman Ben Scott and centerfielder Sean Behm.
"The kids have embraced [the juniors]," coach John Vogan said. "They're very quiet on the mound and just go about their work. Steve and Max are just cogs in the wheel."
The Pioneers avenged an early-season drubbing by Haverford. Today at 3:34 p.m., they get another shot at payback when they face Lower Merion, the only other Central League that has beaten them this season.
"Lower Merion simply outplayed us," Vogan said of the 10-5 loss. "But you can have the best team in the world and you're going to lose games."
Anthony Cafagna, a senior pitcher at Chestnut Hill Academy, signed with Richmond on Friday. A righthander, Cafagna broke a finger on his non-pitching hand and is sidelined for the 16-2 Blue Devils. . . . Conwell-Egan's John McDonald, a senior shortstop/pitcher, has signed a letter of intent with Monmouth.