Crowds are a bit larger at Garner High baseball games whenever Scotty McCreery pitches for the Trojans. And McCreery is glad to be on the field, making up for lost time after last year’s “American Idol” run.

“It's definitely special. I didn't know if I'd make it back this season and I'm glad I got the chance to," he said.

Still, after a year away, McCreery didn’t know what to expect on the mound. He was never a star pitcher and just wanted to contribute.

“I'm glad things are starting to click after being out, but I threw a lot of bullpens and at practice and I think I'm starting to throw the ball like I wanted to,” he said.

Is he ever. McCreery has been spectacular. In 26 innings, he has given up just three earned runs. That’s an earned run average of 0.82 to go along with 36 strikeouts.

No wonder fans come to watch.

"Oh, it's cool,” McCreery said. “It's good for the high school and us, a good crowd. It's fun playing for people."

McCreery is used to playing for people. And that begs the question – if singing doesn’t work out, is baseball a backup plan?

“I'm going to keep on singing,” he said. “Baseball is fun but it's just a hobby. Music's my passion, so I'm looking forward to getting back on stage."

Still, he has enjoyed his time this spring commanding a different stage – the pitcher’s mound.

In one year, Scotty McCreery went from country-music-listening high school ballplayer to reigning "America Idol" touring with Brad Paisley. But the 18-year-old still feels at home on the mound, so after missing the 2011 season, he returned to Garnet Magnet High School in North Carolina for earn back a pitching spot for his senior year. And he’s off to a stolid start, with 1.56 ERA and 13 strikeouts in nine innings through April 17. The country crooner slash curveball ace gave Playbook a glimpse of his new life.

What’s a typical day these days?

If I’m touring with Brad, I’ll be home Sunday, go to school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then I hit the road Thursday through the weekend. But if I’m home like I am now, I just go to school and live like a normal kid. Except maybe I do an interview like this.

Congratulations, Scotty!!

19/Interscope/Mercury's Scotty McCreery revealed he's attending North Carolina State University this fall. "There are a lot of good schools in Nashville," McCreery tells CMT Radio Live With Cody Alan, "but I've decided to head down to Raleigh, where my dad went to college, for at least for two years. Then maybe I'll transfer to Nashville."

scotty m

Congratulations, Scotty on your win for the 2012 ACM's Best New Artist Award!


Scotty is nominated for the ACM New Artist of the Year. Get on the ball and vote for him daily at!

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