Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 215 pounds, Johnny Piedmonte can be intimidating on the mound.
But what may be more daunting than the junior's physique for his opponents is his right arm.
"He can get people out with his fastball and he pitches off of that very well," said Hough baseball coach Jimmy Cochran. "He has three pitches that he can throw for strikes at any time in the count."
Piedmonte, who also plays first base for the Huskies, said he likes to keep hitters off balance on the mound.
"I'm not going to blow by anybody, but my location's there and I have pretty decent off-speed pitches," said Piedmonte, explaining his favorite pitch is his changeup.
Last season at North Mecklenburg, Piedmonte had a good start to his varsity career, being named all-conference for the Vikings.
"I was playing my best season in baseball so far," he said. "I hit the ball consistently all year."
Cochran said Piedmonte has worked hard to get to the level he can play at.
"He wants to be great and I think that shows in his work ethic at practice every day and in games," he said.
After the year he had at North Meck, Piedmonte admits transferring to Hough was bittersweet.
"It's been a big difference," he said. "You have to get used to the coaches and the players around you. It takes a lot to get used to."
But having adjusted to his new school, he's excited about the opportunity to lead the first-year Husky program.
"We're a new school, so we can come out and surprise people," said Piedmonte. "They don't know what we have."
Hough's talent doesn't stop with Piedmonte. Cochran said junior catcher Nick Daddio has a chance to be a special player for his ball club, while junior Jared Sobo and sophomore Blake Dueitt can provide the Huskies offensive firepower.
"I think we have quality guys everywhere," said Cochran. "We have 17 guys on our roster and I think all 17 of them will contribute for us throughout the year."
Cochran knows he's lucky to have Piedmonte and so much other talent for a new team.
"It's a luxury to have him," said Cochran. "One thing that we have is a lot of arms, and for a first-year program that's certainly a blessing."
But being young and inexperienced, Hough hasn't played up to its potential, getting off to a 2-3 start.
"We're not near where we want to be, but I feel like every day that we come out we get a little bit better," said Cochran. "That's our main goal right now - to improve every day. I think by the end of the year, if we continue doing what we need to do, we have a good chance to be very competitive."
To do that, Cochran said his players need to stay focused and show intensity.
"Not having seniors, we have to outwork everybody else that we play," said Cochran.
Hough's stronghold has been and will be its sharp defense. Cochran expects the Huskies' offense will catch up as the year goes on.
After playing for the Hough basketball team in the winter, Piedmonte is still working to get his rhythm and timing back on the baseball field.
Having played summer and fall baseball for CBC, Piedmonte said he trained for the season during the weekends during basketball, but that wasn't enough to stay in peak form.
The 16-year-old has been focusing on conditioning as well as improving his location and his hitting so far this season.
"Once he gets back to his baseball routine, he's going to be a guy that we turn to when a game is on the line," said Cochran.
Having no seniors, Hough will return this team next year, which has the Huskies excited.
"We have the talent here to be successful," said Cochran. "Once these guys have been in our system and know what to expect from our coaching staff and we know what to expect from them as players, I think we have the chance to be pretty good."