High school: North Hall (Class of 2007)
Notable: Appeared in one game for the Yellow Jackets as a freshman on April 12 against Miami ... spent last summer pitching for the Wareham Gateman in the Cape Cod Baseball League ... finished summer with 2-1 record, 4.68 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 18 walks in 25 innings pitched ... He was named the Times 2007 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year ... Holds North Hall school records in strikeouts (246), hits (102), doubles (29) and runs (108). ... Went 8-2 with a 1.55 ERA his senior season on the mound for the Trojans.
Zach Brewster takes following the doctor’s advice seriously.
The left-handed sophomore pitcher for Georgia Tech, a 2007 North Hall High graduate, is going to do whatever it takes to re-gain his full arm strength since having a blood clot removed in his left arm 14 months ago — even if it means throwing with a softball for the time being.
He’s pitched since having the surgery that removed about a six-inch segment of his rib, including a two-month stint last summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League with the Wareham Gateman.
But his ultimate goal is to take on the role of a valuable commodity in Georgia Tech’s bullpen this season.
"Hopefully, I’ll move into the role of set-up man or closer," Brewster said. "But it all depends on how the cards fall."
The Times 2007 All-Area Baseball Player of the Year is spending his Christmas break home from school trying not to stray too far from his normal day-to-day life on campus at Georgia Tech.
After working for eight hours each day during his time home, he’s working out and throwing to get his arm back to full strength for a run at a prominent role in the Yellow Jackets bullpen this season.
"That’s going to be the key to getting where I want to be down the road," Brewster said.
His training partner during Christmas vacation is former North Hall softball standout Amanda Albertson.
Brewster is trying to gain a leadership role out of the bullpen at Georgia Tech this season, after appearing in only one game last season, against Miami on April 12.
That’s quite an impressive turnaround after not even being able to throw for six months.
"It was so tough not being able to play," Brewster added. "That was the hardest part."
He first showed signs of his blood clot in his subclavian vein just after graduation from North Hall in 2007.
He spent 48-hours in the ICU at Northeast Georgia Medical Center to have a solution pumped into the clot. Surgery to have it removed was optional at that point, so he decided to wait to have the surgery performed until last October at Crawford Long in Atlanta.
"The only kind of rehab they said I needed was to re-strengthen my arm to get used to throwing again," Brewster said.
Certainly no one will question Brewster’s dedication to playing the game he’s played since age 6. This former wiry North Hall pitcher has built himself into a 195-pound muscular frame. He credits constant weight training and a strength coach at Georgia Tech that crafts workouts designed for pitchers.
He said most of the workouts in the fall semester are geared toward players getting stronger. In the spring, workouts are reduced and players are just trying to maintain their prior gains.
Last summer, he had a strong end to the season with the Gateman before returning to Georgia Tech for the fall semester. He finished his summer in Cape Cod with a 2-1 record, 4.68 ERA, 25 strikeouts and 18 walks in 25 innings pitched. His main concern was the high number of walks early in the 16 games he appeared in.
"I struggled at first since it had been about 1 1/2 years since I’d competed like that," Brewster said. "The first couple of weeks were okay, but I got progressively better toward the end."
Now that Brewster is healthy, he’s trying to take on the dominant form he played with in high school. He plans on working just as hard as the next guy to make sure that happens.