All of a sudden, there's a new kind of pressure when it comes to pitching at Watkins Memorial High School.

All of a sudden, there's a new kind of pressure when it comes to pitching at Watkins Memorial High School.

After all, 2006 graduate Eric Arnett was selected in the first round and 26th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers during Major League Baseball's amateur draft earlier this month. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander had just completed his junior season at Indiana University but signed for a $1.2 million bonus and reported last week to play at the Class A level in Helena, Mont.

Moreover, 2008 graduate Justin Warrington is playing for the Licking County Settlers of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, a wooden-bat organization funded in part by MLB. Also considered to be a professional prospect, the 6-3, 210-pound left-hander just completed his freshman season at Ball State. Arnett is a former Settler, too.

So, at least in the short term, just about any young pitcher possessing a live arm and is coming up in the Warriors' program these days might merit an extra look from college and pro scouts alike. If so, however, junior Eric Robinson seems oblivious to that revelation despite enjoying a strong start playing this summer with the Pickerington American Legion Post 283 team.

"Well, I'd sure like to follow those guys and do something similar," Robinson said before pushing his record to 3-0 as the pitcher of record in a 20-3 home victory last Wednesday against McArthur Post 303, with Post 283 improving to 17-7. "That's a long way off and I'm not stressing about it yet, of course, but seeing what they've been able to accomplish just makes me believe I can do it, too."

Robinson, who is 6-3 and 175 pounds, has fared well enough to earn a spot in Post 283's rotation. Six players, including pitchers Jared Meyer of Groveport and Jared Whittington of Liberty Union, return from the team that finished 38-9 overall last year and advanced to the state tournament. Newcomers such as Pickerington Central's Dan Walters, who posted a 5-1 record and 1.71 ERA in the spring, and New Albany's Jake Sullivan added more depth to the staff but Robinson has shown he's worthy as well after playing for Pickerington's B team last summer.

"We put the ball in his hands and he doesn't want to give it back," said Post 283 coach Chris Weber, a Watkins assistant whose team is trying to reach the state legion tournament for the third time in four years after finishing third in 2006. "The biggest thing is that he's aggressive and throws strikes. He comes right at hitters, and our other kids love playing behind him. He has a good mound presence, too, and he doesn't get rattled."

Robinson, who is one of three Post 283 players from Watkins Memorial, needed only 91 pitches to defeat Zanesville Post 29 in the final 6-1 as Pickerington won all five of its games during the Southeastern Ohio American Legion Baseball Classic, which was held June 19-21 in Zanesville. He proved he's a warrior in more ways than one, too, taking a batted bat off his shin but remaining in the game.

He also took a shot to his stomach while defeating Utica Post 92 in his first start of the summer and another to his knee while pitching against defending-state-champion Sandusky Post 83 in a 6-5 loss. Robinson's other appearance came in a no-decision against Grove City Post 164A, which won 16 of its opening 21 games, and that's another example indicating that Weber has enough faith to put Robinson on the mound against top opponents.

"I wasn't really sure what to expect," Robinson said of making the jump to Pickerington's top team. "It's been a great experience so far, though. I'm definitely gaining confidence."

Robinson, whose father, Jeff, pitched at Utica High School two decades ago, is joined on Pickerington's roster by Watkins teammates Sean Fannin, a spring graduate, and Matt Connor, who will be a senior in the fall and also is playing for Pickerington's top team for the first time.

Fannin, an outfielder who was valedictorian of his graduating class, will play at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after earning first-team all-OCC-Capital Division and Division I second-team all-district honors this past spring. He played on the 2007 team at Watkins that advanced to a Division II regional final.

"It'll be a great release from all the pressure you face at a school like that," Fannin said of playing baseball for the Engineers, who won a program-best 25 games in the spring. "A lot of people don't know it but they offer more athletics (33 varsity sports) than any other Division III school in the country."

Connor, who is alternating at catcher for Post 283 and also plays some third base, is a college prospect as well, Weber said.

"He's probably not a Division I kid, but he's certainly got enough tools to get an opportunity somewhere," Weber said. "He's kind of a ballpark rat, really. He's got a (batting) cage at home and he's always working on his game. He just loves baseball."

Robinson's sudden rise in Post 283's pitching rotation isn't a new thing, and Connor said he's just beginning to reach his potential. Robinson split time between varsity and junior-varsity for the Warriors in the spring, and his arm definitely was a welcome addition for the varsity when projected ace Taylor Day struggled.

"Eric's very consistent and he keeps the ball down. When his velocity picks up a little more, he's going to be a good one," Connor said. "It's been really great catching all the pitchers on this team, guys who are accurate and around the plate all the time. I'm having a lot of fun."