MacArthur’s Brandon Buchan is a great example of taking advantage of an opportunity.
Buchan pitched just 4 1⁄3 innings for the Generals varsity baseball team as a junior in 2017. But in 2018? Well, that’s a different story.
“I came out of nowhere and shocked people,” said Buchan (which is pronounced: BU-can). “No one had heard of me. I wasn’t in the Newsday’s top 100 players to watch. Nobody knew me.”
Buchan is certainly known now. The senior said he grew two inches from last season, gained 15 pounds of muscle, and picked up 5-to-6 miles per hour on his fastball.
Buchan went 8-0 this season with a 0.46 ERA for MacArthur (19-5-1) which reached the Nassau A semifinals. The southpaw allowed only four runs (three earned) in 45.2 innings with 86 strikeouts and 24 walks. He surrendered 15 hits and opponents hit a meager .101 against him.
For his efforts, Buchan won the Diamond Award as Nassau’s best pitcher at the Nassau baseball dinner at the Uniondale Marriott on Wednesday. MacArthur coach Steve Costello had a hunch Buchan would earn the award six months earlier.
“I predicted this after his first bullpen session,” said Costello, who now has coached eight Diamond winners in his 26 years as MacArthur head coach. “I called a coaching friend on January 20 and said, ‘I have someone that will win the Diamond Award.’ ”
It wasn’t an easy road for Buchan. He had a sterling freshman season when he won the team’s Cy Young award as the Generals’ best freshman pitcher. But as a sophomore, he faced a problem while pitching for his fall travel team.
“I heard a pop,” Buchan said. The news wasn’t good after an X-ray and MRI. Buchan said he was told he had a fracture on the growth plate of his left elbow. Buchan was given two options: rest or surgery. He chose the latter.
Buchan said he was finally cleared to play in March, 2016, as a sophomore. He split time between first base and outfield.
Last season, he pitched only 4 1⁄3 innings as the Generals had a loaded rotation that featured future Quinnipiac hurler, Bobby Lewis, and two D-II prospects.
“We didn’t need much of a bullpen,” Buchan said. “We [juniors] didn’t get much work.”
But Buchan was ready for the challenge when he was given his chance this season.
“I think I proved to myself, my teammates, my family and Long Island,” Buchan said, “you don’t have to be highly-touted to be successful.”