At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School senior Jextin Pugh has never had trouble getting noticed on a baseball field.
Pugh's physical size, strength and ability have enabled him to shine on the pitcher's mound, in the field at first base, and with the bat.
He was a Little League phenom in the East End Little League, and became a regular player as a 14-year-old with the Flood City Elite Travel baseball team comprised of players 17-and-under from the Altoona-Johnstown area.
A four-year varsity player at Bishop Guilfoyle, Pugh posted a 9-3 pitching record and batted .550 last spring with four homers and 25 RBIs while leading the Marauders into the District 6-A championship game and PIAA state playoffs.
Binghamton University, a Division I baseball school in upstate New York, offered Pugh a scholarship, and he recently responded with a verbal commitment to attend the school. Binghamton competes in the American East Conference, from which member Stony Brook advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. this past June.
"I went up there to visit the school, and talk to the coaches,'' Pugh said. "They have great facilities - they just put in a new multi-million-dollar baseball field, and the coaches are awesome.''
Binghamton also offered Pugh the chance to continue to play both in the field at first base, and as a pitcher - a combination which greatly appeals to him.
"I did a lot of research on the school,'' Pugh said. "They have a very strong non-conference schedule, they're always playing great competition, and they have a really strong recruiting class for this year and next year. They're going to have a great team, so maybe it will be a chance to go to Omaha.''
Rick Roberts, a coach with the Flood City Elite baseball travel program, said that Pugh has all the physical skills necessary to succeed in baseball. Pugh will also participate this month in the invite-only Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau's game that pits outstanding players from around Pennsylvania against the Allegany (Md.) Community College baseball team on Allegany's home field.
"He's got a fast ball up around 90 miles per hour, and he has really good power at the plate,'' Roberts said. "He's also learned how to hit for average. He's going to be a two-way player [in the field and on the pitcher's mound] at Binghamton, which is really impressive for a kid to do at the Division I level.''
Even more importantly, Roberts pointed out, is that Pugh possesses solid character and a fine work ethic.
'The thing that stands out about Jextin the most is his character and work ethic,'' Roberts said. "He's a great kid, a great team player, probably everything you'd want as a coach or as a teammate.''
Pugh's character is reflected in his community awareness and involvement. Along with his family, Pugh is helping to organize a concert at the Altoona Railroaders Museum on Saturday, Oct. 20 to benefit two area youngsters - Johnny Fleck, 12, and Zachary Treese, 8, both of Hollidaysburg - who live with Type I diabetes.
"There will be two bands playing, a lot of food, and speakers will be coming to talk about juvenile diabetes,'' Pugh said. " I want to do something that will help others.''
In December, Pugh will participate in the Power Showcase Home Run Derby at the new Miami Marlins Stadium. While Pugh will be attempting to knock baseballs out of Marlins Park, pictures of his two young friends, Fleck and Treese, will be displayed on the stadium scoreboard.
"A scout recommended me to be in it,'' Pugh said of the Florida event. "I'd love to hit every pitch out of the park, but my main goal is just to do well.''