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NCAA BASEBALL

Tennessee has a fireball in Ben Joyce

The Tennessee Volunteers have an outstanding stable of pitchers, none moreso than Ben Joyce who threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in NCAA history

Update:
The Tennessee Volunteers have an outstanding stable of pitchers, none moreso than Ben Joyce who threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in NCAA history

There are two ways of going about your business as a pitcher. One is to concentrate on movement and placement: sliders, knuckles, and curves. The other is brute force. Just grip it and rip it and get the speed to do the work for you. Movement and placement can be developed, but speed is much more ethereal. You either have it or you don’t.

The Tennessee Volunteers have a solid pitching staff and bring a good mix of movement and speed. But one guy stands out. Six-foot-five right handed pitcher Ben Joyce is one of those who relies on speed. And boy does he have it. He regularly hits the 100 mph mark and had an NCAA record-breaking 104.1 mph fastball in the Vols win against South Carolina last week.

That is the fastest pitch in a college baseball game ever.

The entire at-bat was a corker. He threw five pitches: a 102 mph fastball, a 103 mph fastball, a 104 mph fastball, a change up that came in a 91 mph, and a 102 mph fastball for the strikeout. Think about that. His off-speed pitch was faster than most fastballs.

I played Division III ball and generally I could put the bat on the ball. I’ve seen low-nineties pitching and they are pretty zippy. The ten mile an hour difference between 82 and 92 is cosmic. At 82 you can judge the spin, take your time. At 92, you can just about judge whether or not to swing. Now add another ten miles per hour. I’ve never faced that kind of speed, thank God. I’m not sure if I could see it, much less swing the bat.

Nolan Ryan was a beast, Randy Johnson was too. Bob Feller is reported to have hit 108, and Aroldis Chapman definitely hit 106. Ben Joyce is in that exclusive club, and he is only 21 years old. What will he do in the Show, and make no mistake, this kid will be there. His control is excellent and his speed is unquestionable. As long as he stays healthy, he will be big in the Bigs.

Tennessee started the season ranked 17 and have now risen to the top spot, largely on the strength of their pitching rotation. Ben Joyce and his 104 mph fastball are a huge part of that.