RALEIGH — Alex Yarem is a recent Apex High graduate preparing to launch his college career at Campbell University. He will first add to his pitching repertoire by competing for Apex’s American Senior Legion baseball team this summer.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right-hander picked up another win as Apex defeated Cary 8-3 Saturday at Athens Drive’s field.
“I’m working on my changeup, and it’s coming along well,” Yarem said. “I’m getting a good feel for it. I left a couple of changeups up early, but it was coming along by the end of the game.”
Yarem pitched six innings, allowing only one earned run on seven scattered hits when he left the contest with an 8-1 lead after reaching his coaching-imposed limit of 85 pitches.
“I got a lot of run support early, and that always helps,” Yarem said. “This will be a good win to build on if we get into the state playoffs.”
Apex remained in contention for a playoff berth behind first-place Raleigh with a 6-3 record, while Cary dropped to 3-6.
“Alex is a super, very smart pitcher,” said Apex coach Tim Harrell, an Apex High assistant in the high school season. “He knows what he has to work on. One of the other things he’s working on is learning not to waste pitches.”
Yarem’s new changeup mechanics are advice from Campbell’s coaching staff to help him take his game to the college level. He was recruited by Greg Goff and Justin Haire, but only Haire will benefit from the finished product as Yarem’s polishes for his arrival in Buies Creek.
Goff, the former head coach, left for Louisiana Tech following the Camels’ NCAA tournament appearance. Haire was subsequently promoted to head coach. Rick McCarty, the pitching coach who also helped recruit Yarem, remains on Campbell’s staff.
“It affected me a little,” Yarem said of Goff’s departure, “but I’m happy coach Haire has taken over. He recruited me, and I know he’s going to do a great job. I’m looking forward to playing for him.”
In addition to the summer competition, Yarem said he’s enjoyed the American Legion experience for the chance to play with former rivals as teammates. Holly Springs products Mikey Sconzo, Matt Swartz-Vega and Andy Wantz also are producing a strong summer for Apex.
“They were rivals but now they’re friends,” Yarem said. “The competition in Legion ball is good, and the chance to compete helps before college.”
Wantz played first base in the win over Cary and scored two runs and with one RBI on a double, but he’s another talented pitcher on the Apex staff as a UNC-Greensboro recruit on the mound.
“Andy Wantz has really come through with his bat in the last few games,” Harrell said. “We have a lot of players contributing for us.”
All nine Apex starters contributed a run or an RBI.
Cary managed 12 hits, but it wasn’t able to put together rallies. Robbie Thorburn, a Cardinal Gibbons alum who was a freshman at UNC-Wilmington last spring, and Stephen Pitarra (Green Hope) both had two hits and one RBI.