AT 5-4 AND 120 pounds, some may say Joe Pagan is too small to dream big. Just don't tell that to the sophomore righthander from Franklin Learning Center. He has his head in the stars.
Yesterday, Pagan started on the mound and led the visiting Bobcats to an 11-4 win over Walter B. Saul High. Pagan struck out 10, scattered 12 hits and allowed just two earned runs in seven innings.
However, after the victorious Bobcats (9-4) broke their postgame huddle, Pagan had more to say about his future studying the cosmos than his pitching performance.
"I'm going to be in the business field," he said, "but if not, I'd love to be an astronomer."
He cannot see many constellations from his home in Northern Liberties on Germantown Avenue near Second and Girard. He is waiting for his cousin, Brian Kingston - who Pagan said recently graduated from Archbishop Ryan - to purchase a telescope.
"Of all the things that are in the universe, it's just amazing how many things work out that we can't see," Pagan said. "I love it so much. I look in the sky all the time at night and I just look at the stars and study them. It might sound weird, but I don't know . . . "
The only oddity in yesterday's Public League Division C matchup was the two teams combining for nine errors (FLC five, Saul four).
Offensively, the Bobcats lunged late after falling behind 2-0 in the first. After getting back a run in the second, FLC put up five in the fifth, punctuated by back-to-back leftfield bombs by freshman Edwin Acosta (3-for-5, two RBI) and junior David Anderozzi (2-for-5, two RBI). A sixth-inning home run by freshman Sandro Rodriguez swelled the lead to 9-2.
Bobby Tinney led Saul (8-4) with a 4-for-4 day while Joe Blockus, Austin Dennison and Nate Teagle each had two hits.
Meanwhile, Pagan efficiently tossed 77 strikes to just 35 balls and whiffed two or more batters in three innings, including striking out the side in the seventh and proving you can dominate no matter your size.
"It could be a little disappointing when you're 5-4, but that doesn't stop me," Pagan said. "You have all these guys getting drafted and they're all big guys. Sure, I'm 5-4, but that's not going to stop me. I'm going to keep trying what I [love] to do so that's definitely not going to stop me."
And if the draft doesn't come calling, there is always a place for Pagan in the sky.
"It all started in the sixth grade when one of my teachers was talking about the universe, and I just loved it," he said.
Now, he frequently watches the Fox TV show, "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."
"I'm always curious about the astronomy world," Pagan said. "I always look into the sky and ask myself, 'How many years did it take for that star to build and when will that star die? I definitely have a lot of curiosity about that stuff."
As a stellar righty, who is already a team captain, Pagan's star is definitely on the rise.