High School Sports

Henry Clay senior Walker Buehler a standout on the mound and in the classroom

Henry Clay senior Walker Buehler has a 30 ACT score and a 94 mph heater. He will face Scott County in the districts on Monday.
Henry Clay senior Walker Buehler has a 30 ACT score and a 94 mph heater. He will face Scott County in the districts on Monday. Herald-Leader

Henry Clay baseball star Walker Buehler's Twitter handle — @buehlersdayoff — is a clever tip of the cap to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a 1980s movie about a hooky-playing high school smart aleck.

The names Buehler and Bueller sound just alike, but Walker and Ferris have nothing in common.

Walker Buehler is a stand-up student/athlete. He has a (weighted) GPA of 4.3 and scored a 30 on the ACT. A standout pitcher, he has signed with Vanderbilt, and he's drawing serious attention from professional scouts.

The senior right-hander will take the mound against host Scott County in the 42nd District semifinals on Monday and try to help Henry Clay clinch a spot in next week's 11th Region Tournament.

Coach Jordan Tarrence has all the confidence in the world in Buehler, who's been in the Blue Devils' rotation since he was a freshman.

"Walker really understands the game and knows how to compete," Tarrence said. "We still call pitches for him, but he could go out and get it done on his own. He knows how to attack hitters."

The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Buehler has all the tools to dominate on the high school level. His fastball, which maxed out at 80 mph as a freshman, has been clocked at 94 mph this season. He also has a nasty curve ball and slider, and a change-up.

Buehler's career record of 16-12 is deceiving, which is obvious when you consider his career ERA is 2.11, with 234 strikeouts and 75 walks in 166 innings.

He has seven losses over the last two years. Henry Clay has scored a total of three runs in those seven games. (Example: Buehler had 12 strikeouts and gave up three hits in a 2-1 loss to Bryan Station this season.)

"With all the good arms we see around here, you know when you go out you better only give up maybe one run," Buehler said. "Any quality pitcher has to have the mentality, that I can shut a team out."

The pro scouts love Buehler's upside.

"They look at him and see a 17-year-old kid who's got very sound mechanics and is very polished," Tarrence said.

"It's intriguing to them that he can throw 90 mph at 160 pounds, and wonder what he could do if he gains 30 pounds and more stamina. Maybe he could throw 94 for seven or eight innings."

Baseball America projects Buehler as a possible second-round draft choice in June.

Might he go pro instead of going to Vanderbilt?

"Oh, yeah, there's a big chance," Buehler said. "It's all financial. It's cool to even have (scouts) talk to you.

"It's awesome to have options — college or the pros. It also brings a little stress. I'm just a high school pitcher."

He's just a high school pitcher who's already had his No. 12 jersey retired, a tribute Tarrence said was well-earned.

"Walker's got a chance to finish second in (school history) in innings pitched, second in strikeouts and third in wins if all goes well.

"If he's in the top three in those categories in a program like Henry Clay's, and he could be the highest drafted (pitcher) we've ever had here, I think people will talk about his career for a long time."