West Point's Portera will get chance at EMCC

May 7, 2009

Danny P Smith -


WEST POINT -- East Mississippi Community College baseball coach Tony Montgomery first saw Oak Hill Academy''s Lance Portera as someone who could help the Lions as a outfielder. 


Montgomery likes Portera''s arm so much he chose to recruit him as a pitcher. 


Portera signed Wednesday with EMCC as an invited walk-on and is looking forward to playing for Montgomery. 


"He''s a good guy and I have heard a lot of good things about him," Portera said. "People have said (EMCC) is a good baseball program and how much improved they are going to be. I think it''s a pretty good decision. It has been my dream to make it somewhere in baseball." 


Montgomery is impressed with the strength of Portera''s arm. He said there is no doubt Portera has been in the weightroom. 


After clocking his pitches at 89 mph in their latest evaluation, Montgomery believes Portera will compete for a spot on the pitching staff. 


"That kind of woke us up," Montgomery said of Portera''s velocity. "Two years with us, he could be in the 90s, so we are really going to try and work with him. Hopefully, we can develop his breaking ball and work on his changeup a little bit. With (those pitches) and a high-velocity fastball, he can really be good in our league." 


Portera (3-6, 3.48 ERA) made 12 starts for the Raiders and led the team in strikeouts (60) and issued 24 walks. 


He didn''t make any errors in the outfield and hitting .340 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. 


Oak Hill Academy baseball coach Marion Bratton said the Lions are getting a player who will work hard to improve. 


"If he''ll keep working like he has, there''s a bright future for him," Bratton said. "He''s a strong young man and wants the baseball. He won''t back down from anything. He wants to know what he can do to help, and he''s a team player."