But when you’re fastball has been clocked at more than 90 M.P.H., someone’s bound to find you.
Samford did just that when it secured a verbal commitment from Lovvorn to sign a scholarship offer to become a member of the Bulldogs upon the completion of his senior season next spring.
“It’s hard to follow up behind guys like Tucker Simpson and Jackson Stephens,” Lovvorn said of his more widely-known teammates. “But I was right there behind them in that No. 3 spot. I didn’t pitch in as many big games as they did. But I pitched in some.”
Lovvorn, a 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander, went 5-1 in six starts as a junior and struck out 33 batters in just 30 innings of work.
He may have gone unnoticed on a star-studded staff that also included the 6-7 Simpson, already committed to Georgia Tech, and Stephens, a first-team selection to the Class 6A all-state squad who holds offers from schools such as Alabama and UAB and has received interest from national powerhouses such as North Carolina. That’s not to mention Frazier Taylor, a first-team choice to the Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County squad after going 6-2 with 71 strikeouts in 47 innings in a breakout junior season.
Samford coaches got a glimpse of Lovvorn in a game against Hewitt-Trussville this past season where a Major League Baseball scout was also present.
“I closed the game and hit 91 (m.p.h),” Lovvorn said. “And they started talking to me more ever since. They called coach (Wes) Brooks and invited me and (teammate) Tanner Gardner up there for Junior Day. I followed up with them, gave them my email address and we just kept in touch.”
Lovvorn said he also visited Lipscomb University (Tenn.) and received interest from Mississippi State and Murray State But he knew he’d met his match when he took in Samford’s sprawling campus in Birmingham.
“I was just like, ‘This place is awesome’,” he said. “I learned about their history and did some research. Then, I met their coaches. Mick Fieldbinder, the pitching coach, called coach Brooks everyday asking about me.”
Lovvorn said having to earn his time atop the mound in such a competitive setting has helped to hone his skills.
“It makes me better,” he said. “It’s great competition. I strive to better than them and top what they do but at the same time root for them.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.