A year ago, when the Roxbury baseball team was enjoying its magical run to the Morris County Tournament championship and then the NJSIAA North 1 Group IV title, junior Alex Busby was not much more than a spot starter and occasional reliever.
Most of the time, Busby just patiently watched — and waited.
Busby looked on as senior Timmy Pilrun — a very similar left-handed pitcher — steamrolled through both tournaments, winning MCT MVP. Closer to home and his heart, Busby saw his older brother, Nick, win eight games and start the Group IV final.
Through all that winning and all that success, Alex Busby wondered what it would be like if it was him out there on the mound.
“Every game, I wanted to be in their place,” said Busby, the 2015 All Daily Record Baseball Player of the Year. “As they kept winning, I said that I wanted it all. I just wanted to do the same things.”
With the elder Busby pitching at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Pilrun toiling at Muhlenberg, Alex Busby realized it was time for him to “seize the day.” Alex Busby hit the weight room with a vengeance to get bigger and stronger. He did an assortment of offseason drills like long tossing and arm stretching.
Busby was masterful for the Gaels in 2015, posting a perfect 7-0 record with a stingy 0.55 earned run average. Busby surrendered just 33 hits and walked just six batters, while striking out 52 in 511/3 innings.
More importantly, Busby got the ball in the big games, including three wins in the Morris County Tournament. He scattered eight hits in the championship game against Delbarton, striking out six and walking just one in the Gaels’ 5-1 victory, giving Roxbury its second straight MCT title and the third in five years.
Busby was named the MCT MVP.
“He never had a bad day with his slider,” Gaels head coach Greg Trotter said. “In his seven starts and two relief appearances, his slider was on. Coach (Kevin) Murray (the Roxbury pitching coach) did an awesome job with Alex, getting him ready. Alex and I also got together, but coach Murray just took Alex under his wing and I stayed out of it a little. He just continued to develop and get better and better.”
The competitive spirit was definitely driven by sibling rivalry.
“I definitely wanted to do what they did, what Nick did,” Busby said. “I thought that even if they weren’t here, I could get things done.”
But no one predicted Busby would end up having a better pitching season than either Pilrun or his brother posted a year ago.
“Alex always has a ton of confidence,” Trotter said. “He knew what he was doing. I had confidence in him. … I knew that he had good stuff and had a good mental makeup, but you can’t expect for Alex to do what he did. I expected him to handle it, but I didn’t expect him to be as dominant as he was.”
Busby plans to major in information systems at Susquehanna University, where he will also pitch.
“All the training and throwing really paid off,” Busby said. “Now that it’s over, I hear the numbers and say, ‘Wow!’ I have to say I’m pretty impressed. I don’t want to let it get to my head, but it really shows that all the hard work I put in paid off. It’s a great accomplishment being Player of the Year. … All in all, I guess it wasn’t a bad year. I guess I left my mark.”