Today was a scrimmage for us. It rained all game, but never hard enough that we had to leave the field. Scrimmages like this are not my favorite. It is wet and cold, guys lose focus easily, and my least favorite thing is when a coach calls balls and strikes from behind the pitcher. This is something I battle with every year, I don’t like people calling pitches from behind the mound. I don’t know what it is about it that I don’t like, I just don’t. But that was the situation for the day, and I don’t have a say in the way scrimmages are run, I just have to shut up and play.
We had nine pitchers throw today, each an innings worth of work. I was scheduled to throw the seventh inning today, and on a day like today that is not an easy task. You warm up with the team before the game, before standing around for six innings getting colder and wetter by the minute. Luckily after dealing with this last year I keep my jacket and a pair of gloves in my bag at all times. Today they definitely came in handy. The gloves kept my hands warm, and for a pitcher that is a huge thing. If your hands stay warm, it is easier to get the rest of your body ready to pitch. So word of advice for any young pitchers that play in places where it can get cold, always have a pair of gloves in your bag!
As for the game, I started the seventh inning. I had some nerves today, because earlier today I spoke to the general manager of a summer team that I am looking to play for in a pretty prestigious league. I had a great talk with the GM, and he said he would be phoning my head coach tomorrow to talk about my performances and possibly signing me for the college summer. Since this would be my last outing before coach gave his report to this GM, I knew I had to leave a good impression.
I took the eight warm up pitches to think through my mechanics and breath out any nerves that I had. It was still raining lightly as I faced my first hitter of the day. The first hitter struck out on a great sequence. I threw to one of my favorite catchers today. For whatever reason I am extremely comfortable with him behind the plate. He always calls a great game for my strengths as a pitcher. The first batter saw a fastball on each side of the plate, followed by a great change-up on the outer half, and went down swinging on a fastball up. One down. The next hitter worked me to a full count before hitting an outside fastball high into right field. With the rain coming down and the wind blowing our right fielder couldn’t make a read on the ball and it dropped in for a double. Nothing hurt. The next hitter got a wet baseball to the back as the ball, still slick from getting hit for a double slipped off and into the HBP column. Breath, you are still one pitch away from being out of the inning. After regaining my composure it was time to turn it on. I had to execute pitches and get myself out of the mini jam. The next hitter rolled a change-up to our charging third baseman who made a great play on the ball to get the out at first base. Two down, still nothing hurt. With runners on second and third with two outs, I was one pitch away from getting out of the inning unscathed. Three pitches later I did just that, a 1-1 fastball on the hands of the hitter was lined softly into the waiting glove of our second baseman. I had gotten out of the inning with no damage to the scoreboard, and had executed pitches when it mattered.
Walking off the field I got some high fives and “good jobs” from teammates and coaches. But I wanted to know one thing; what was my strike percentage? That was my downfall the previous season, so now that’s just about the only stat I care about. If you throw well, ERA, opponents batting average, and wins work themselves out, but strike percentage, that’s what decides who gets the ball, and who cheers from the bench. Today I threw 18 pitches, 10 were strikes, eight were balls, for a final strike percentage of 56%. I didn’t miss the zone by much on those eight balls. I made timely executed pitches, and did my job of collecting three outs and getting the team off the field with a zero up on the scoreboard.
Hopefully I get a good report from my coach to my possible summer GM. I can’t control that, all I can do is be successful on and off the field in the things that I do. I am confident in my ability and the way I am throwing the baseball right now, everything else will fall into place. Still continuously working towards my goal to be a Concordia Golden Bear weekend starter.