CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Patrick Dudley is a pitcher who craves pressure.
"He wants to pitch the biggest games," Dudley's head coach, Phillip Kojack, said.
And he does. Often - and quite well.
Therefore, Dudley - a left-hander at Atlantic Shores Christian School in Chesapeake, is following the path of many successful pitchers at the high school varsity level. He's college-bound after receiving and accepting a Division I scholarship offer.
"I got the place I wanted to go to - my dream school," Dudley admitted.
Patrick throws four different pitches. But here's the curve ball: he's committed to play college baseball, and he's currently a 14 year-old in the eighth grade.
"It's crazy to think about, but at the same time - I'm blessed," Patrick added.
Last month, Dudley announced his pledge to play for the University of South Carolina - a two-time NCAA championship program.
"Patrick is special," Coach Kojack said. "He's a player who has the right attitude, the right work ethic, the right discipline - the right package of everything a coach is looking for."
But why make a college choice now when Patrick is not scheduled to graduate high school until 2025?
"To get your name out early, it's better to do it now than later when time is running out," Dudley told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler. "Now I've got it set, so I don't have to worry about it. It's definitely a big weight off my shoulders making the decision."
"He has looked at it as a contract with himself to get better and stronger and become the player they project him to be," Kojack added. "It's the source of his relief. The pressure is off. Now he can just go out, work hard and get better at what he loves to do."
Patrick Dudley, a pitcher who performs best under pressure, has found relief by knowing where he'll be pitching under pressure in the future.