For nearly every incoming college student, a main goal in year one is to avoid an early wake up call. Nothing is more dreaded than the 8 a.m. freshman orientation class.
That won’t be a problem for Matthew Heard when he starts at Georgia College and State University in the fall.
Heard, currently of North Forsyth baseball’s pitching staff, is no stranger to early mornings. The senior’s weekly routine includes a 6 a.m. workout each day before class.
“You have to be really dedicated, committed, and have a future goal in mind,” Heard said. “There are a lot of early mornings, long afternoons, being the first one to practice and the last one to leave.”
Simply put, Heard is a man of quiet example. With no shade in intention, he’s the lesser known of the top two pitchers for the Raiders. Teammate Dakota Chalmers, a signee with Georgia, attracts pro scouts regularly. Heard might make his own appearances sans radar guns, but as far as North baseball is concerned, he’s just as star-studded.
With few words, a humble but effective 85 mile per hour fastball and a calm demeanor, it’s Heard’s reputation as an option 1B pitcher that has earned the respect in the county and beyond.
Even when players of the Greenbrier baseball team arrived for Monday’s contest, the team from Augusta immediately recognized and offered hellos to Heard.
He doesn’t ask for attention—but he’s earned his share of it.
“I like to try to stay confident, but also I try to stay humble,” Heard said. “If you boast or anything, that’s not going to work well for you.”
Heard brings four pitches to the mound for the Raiders: a conventional fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. His polished craft, he attributes to balance.
“I’m working on my slider right now,” Heard said. “But you really have to work on every single pitch the same. You can’t put too much time into one of them.”
Heard began playing baseball at the age of four at Coal Mountain Park, just next to North Forsyth High School. He picked up pitching at 9, but played in the 10-year old league to face better competition.
He’s made a steady, but quiet climb ever since. Last season Heard was named to the Forsyth County News honorable mention list for all-county. He’ll be in the mix for higher honors this season, but he’s more concerned with how strong he and Chalmers have made North’s pitching staff, collectively.
“We’re really deep as a staff,” Heard said. “Of course we have Dakota who’s really good, but all of our pitchers are really good. I don’t think we could be deeper as a pitching staff. We can play through a lot of games and not overuse guys.”
Even when put in the spotlight, Heard just wanted to talk about his team. By now that shouldn’t surprise anyone.