The first word used to describe 6-foot-3, 240-pound pitcher-first baseman Paul Nixon from Archbishop Curley is imposing.
The second word that should follow is champion.
Nixon helped lead the Friars to their first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference baseball title since 2001. He batted .412 with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 43 RBIs while compiling a 9-2 pitching record with 82 strikeouts. He had a 2.41 ERA and allowed just 41 hits and 20 earned runs in 61 innings.
“My mindset has always been about getting better,” said Nixon, who lost 20 pounds in the offseason before adding 10 pounds of muscle. “I worked on increasing my velocity and bettering my mechanics, and really improving my lower core.”
Nixon went 8-1 in conference play, including 2-0 in the playoffs. He allowed six hits and three runs in six innings before teammate Nick Richardson closed the door on Gilman in an 8-3 championship game victory.
“Paul pitched in most of our big games this year and was nearly outstanding,” Archbishop Curley coach Brooks Norris said. “He came in as a big, strong kid with a lot of raw talent, but he did not know much of what he was doing early on. He figured it out quite a bit.”
Nixon throws in the upper 80s and relies on a strong slider as his out pitch.
“He pitched effectively on the inside of the plate,” Norris said. “He is not afraid of anything.”
Nixon credits his older brother Damond, a former Curley standout, and his grandmother with aiding in his development.
“We had to learn how to take care of ourselves, and my grandmother has been everything for us,” Paul Nixon said. “She works for MTA and she has worked a lot of overtime for a lot of years because she cares about our dreams.”
Nixon is playing for the Baltimore Dodgers in the Cal Ripken Baseball League this summer before joining Tom Eller’s 47-win Harford Community College squad. He plans on majoring in nursing, though he is focused on professional baseball possibilities down the road. His time at Curley has prepared him for either path.
“Playing here has meant a lot,” Paul Nixon said. “We are part of the brotherhood we preach at school. Everyone is there for each other, regardless of sports or not. It helped me grow as a man.”