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Under The Gun: John Creel
Written by Trey Daly

Impact Baseball decided to travel out to Huntersville, North Carolina for this edition of "Under The Gun" with John Creel. Creel is gearing up for his sophomore campaign at Lake Norman Charter. The tall right hander has put in an immense amount of hard work this past offseason in hopes to lead the Knights to an 2013 Southern Piedmont Conference championship.

John Creel
High School: Lake Norman Charter
Position: RHP
Graduation: 2015
College Commitment: Uncommitted

What are your expectations for Lake Norman Charter this season?

My expectations for LNC this year are to finish as one of the top teams in our conference and make it deeper into the state playoffs than last year.

What parts of your game did you work on this past off-season?

During the offseason I worked hard in the gym in order to get my velocity up off the mound. I worked on keeping my weight back in my motion and getting tighter spin on my curveball. But the main focus was definitely getting my velocity up.

What are your strengths you bring to the table as a baseball player?

My strengths are my ability to hit my spots as well as throw a secondary pitch for a strike in any situation. 

What should people expect coming to watch you play?

Anyone who comes to watch me play should expect to see a competitor. At the end of the day it comes down to winning the game and that is my first priority.  People who come to see me should see a relaxed player who’s trying to win games.
I had the pleasure of coaching you last summer; I really liked the way you continued to get better on the mound outing after outing. What were your keys to doing so?

After I’m done with an outing I go through all the individual at bats and situations in my head to see what mistakes I made. Whether it was in pitch selections or mechanics, I need to figure it out. If it’s in pitch selections I talk to my pitching coach about it and talk to my catcher the next weekend, to make sure we are on the same page going into the next appearance. If it’s a mechanics issue I focus especially on that part of my delivery on my weekday pitching lesson and make it the main point of my lesson.

When you are on the rubber, what your mindset? Do you try to set the tone for your teammates?

I’m always focused on getting the batter out, that’s my first priority. I try and look at the kid’s stance to see if he opens up or is too closed; and choose my pitches on what I think fits best. Setting the tone is in my opinion one of the biggest jobs a pitcher has when they’re on the mound. The first inning I always try to go 1-2-3 and get our hitters back up to the plate to give them an opportunity to score first. After we have the momentum I try to grind through as far as I can to make it as easy on our bullpen as possible while keeping the lead.

Who's the best player you have had as a teammate? What made him so special?

Cole Hart (N.C. State Commit), not only because of the natural ability he brings to the table but also how humble he is about it. I’ve never heard him brag about himself and he gives his teammates the credit for what he is usually responsible for. He also plays the game the right way, to win.

This past summer, you met a lot of new people playing with The Dirtbags. Now, you guys are really good friends. Can you expand on how those friendships impact your live today?

I talk daily with most of the players I met through summer and fall ball. We have group chats on our IPhone’s and we tweet each other a lot to stay in contact through the long offseason.

What lessons did you take away from this past summer/fall playing with the Dirtbags?

I learned that the best thing you can do as a baseball player is to play to your strengths. Don’t try to play a way that you’re not good at, because it’s only going to hurt you and your team.

Best advice you have ever received as a baseball player?

The best advice I received as a baseball player was from this summer when Coach Daly told me this “If you play for the name on the front, then the name on the back will take care of itself.” It means that no matter who’s watching you need to play to win and the rest will figure itself out.

What's a typical day like for John Creel?

I wake up at 6:00 in the morning, shower then usually make eggs for breakfast because I’m a great cook. Then I go to school. After school I go to the local gym and workout for about an hour and a half, and then I go run. After that I usually go home and do my homework. Then I relax and waste time till 10 o’clock when I go to sleep and do the same the next day.

Below, I want you to tell me what teammate comes to mind when you hear these words:

Cannon: Cole Hart
Gamer: Cole Abshire
Captain: Tyler Price
Game-Changer: Drew Piscorik
Knowledgeable: Sen Keneally 
Resilient: Zach Moore
Joker: Josh Hollifield
Talker: Darryl Johnson

Random Questions for Mr. Creel:

If John Creel was given a hundred dollars and had to eat dinner, pick a movie. What would they be?

I would go to Outback Steak House, where I would get an enormous 3 course meal, (because I don’t eat salad) which would include a blooming onion, and the Largest steak they have.  Then see the newest comedy movie because nothing goes better with good food than good comedy.

What's your favorite MLB team?

My favorite team is the Braves, no doubt.

What kind of music is on your iPod?

I have a mixture of all kinds of music; I have anything from Country to rap, dub-step, and rock music; basically anything with a beat that gets stuck in my head.

What's your favorite Major League Park?

My favorite MLB Park is Turner field, because of all the great memories I have of going there. But my favorite one just from its features would be San Francisco’s AT&T Park because being a lefty we have the ability to hit it into the bay, which I first saw when the homerun derby was held there. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

What's your favorite city in North Carolina?

I’m from the 704, so I’d have to go with the Queen city Charlotte on that one.

If you had to pick a teammate to get a hit with the game on the line, who would it be?

It would without a doubt be Jamey May, not only because he’s a good hitter; but also because he has the ability to remain calm when the games on the line. Seemingly every time we were in a jam this fall he came through in the clutch and delivered a key RBI, which gave us the lead late in games.

If you could give advice to kids out there in little league playing baseball, what would it be?

I would tell them that if you don’t like the sport, don’t play. In life you shouldn’t do anything you don’t want to do unless it’s the law. When you get older the love for the game is the only thing that pulls you through the long workouts and all winter long where you’re lifting and running six days a week. If you don’t love what you do, your game is going to reflect it.

What's one fact most people don't know about you?

I actually love to hit, these muscles aren’t just for pitching. If Coach Daly sees this I hope he will reconsider. You never know what you got till you use it. LET ME HIT COACH!

Impact Baseball would like to thank John Creel for his "Under The Gun" interview. We wish him and the Knights the best of luck this season.

More to come here from Impact Baseball, stay tuned...