SEC baseball hopeful named SJ-R Boys Athlete of the Year for 2023-24 (2024)

Baseball is certainly a staple at Chatham Glenwood, and being one of itstop luminaries is not lost on Cam Appenzeller.

The junior left-handed pitcher committed to South Carolina in October and didn’t disappoint this spring.

He was not just among the top pitchers in the Central State Eight Conference but also the state, with a 0.65 ERA and 5-0 mark in 43 1/3 innings. He totaled 85 strikeouts while allowing just 15 walks, 18 hits and six runs (four earned).

It wouldn’t be a stretch to describe Appenzeller as a top prospectnationwide next season.

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“When he was on, he was unhittable,” Glenwood coach Casey Erickson said. “I had multiple coaches and umpires come up to me in the middle of a game or after a game and tell me that’s the best pitcher they’ve seen all year. He’s really special on the mound.”

Appenzeller particularly trained with Brett Huber at the Maximum Pitching Lab in Edwardsville over the offseason.

“He was an ex-pro baseball player and he’s just really helped me and knows what he’s talking about. He got me into the gym doing all of my stuff and making sure I stay on top of getting better," Appenzeller said.

“I think that’s what really made me a lot better this year and I found my control with all of my pitches. I used to be kind of wild around the zone, but this year I kind of found it and started throwing strikes.”

SEC baseball hopeful named SJ-R Boys Athlete of the Year for 2023-24 (2)

That physical strength could also be attributed to other sports, including golf and basketball. He excelled on all fronts to become The State Journal-Register's Male Athlete of the Year.

He won the individual and team CS8 boys golf titles as the only player to shoot under par at Weibring Golf Course in Normal before leading the boys basketball team with 12 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

It shows on the diamond, Erickson said.

“Cam’s a special athlete,” Erickson said. “He’s very talented like you saw in basketball. He can shoot, he can dribble by guys, he can throw it down at the rim. He plays great golf in the fall and obviously in the spring he’s a five-tool guy.

SEC baseball hopeful named SJ-R Boys Athlete of the Year for 2023-24 (3)

“He’s got a great arm, he’s got plus speed, plus power and he plays really well defensively, so obviously the kid’s just a very talented athlete.”

Appenzellerrecalled once winning the Drysdale junior golf tournament as a kid beforefocusing on baseball. Hestarted using the clubs againafter his family moved next to a golf course.

Appenzeller said he knew this year’s golf team was going to be special.

“It made me play better knowing that I had people on my team trying to catch up to me and we were all competing for the (No.) 1 spot and everybody was close,” Appenzeller said.

SEC baseball hopeful named SJ-R Boys Athlete of the Year for 2023-24 (4)

Golf and baseball require Appenzeller to keep his emotions in check — but not basketball.

“Basketball’s always been fun,” Appenzeller said. “I think playing it keeps me athletic and it just helps me in baseball even more running and staying in shape. I think I move pretty well for my size, if I can just helpthe team handling the ball, getting rebounds or whatever it is, I think it’s just my job.”

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The 6-foot-5 Appenzeller wants to reach at least 195 pounds by next baseball season. The strength he's already added led him to reach as high as 93 miles per hour on his fastball this spring.

He hopes to hit those high marks consistently next season while helping the team’s newcomers getup to speed to forge another playoff run. He may perhaps become a mentorlike his dad, Kyle, who was a pitcher himself at Lewis and Clark Community College and Francis Marion University, which also happens to be in South Carolina.

“I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I’m a lefty,” Appenzeller said. “He would hand me the ball in my left hand and that’s what I startedthrowing with. I think he knew that lefties are a little bit more sought after.”

SEC baseball hopeful named SJ-R Boys Athlete of the Year for 2023-24 (2024)

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