COLUMBIA — A starter knows that he needs to pitch long into the game while limiting his pitch count. Relievers have different roles. Long relief, set up man and closer — each is vital to a team’s success.
Pitchers on the Hickman baseball team have to be ready for all roles either starting or relief. Last year junior Drew Mitrisin would come into a game when the starter was struggling and the next week he might get a start.
But during the end of last year Mitrisin started getting more starts and took advantage of them.
Hickman coach Dave Wilson said that he could see Mitrisin steadily improving throughout the season and he knew he was ready for big things.
“I think he competes well and having some success at the end of last year has definitely paid off,” Wilson said.
Mitrisin is now the ace of the staff and no longer has to worry about coming out of the bullpen.
“He is now one of our top starters and has solidified that,” Wilson said.
Last year, Mitrisin said it was hard to establish himself on varsity. He said the skill of the batters he faced was something that gave him problems.
Over the course of the summer and through the fall, Mitrisin committed himself to continuing to play tough competition to prepare himself for the start of the season.
“I had a lot of success during fall ball, and I knew that if I got the chance early, that I would prove that I could get people out and hopefully win games,” Mitrisin said.
The 2008 season could not have started any better for Mitrisin, who won his first start.
“That first game was pretty memorable for me because it was a complete game shutout,” Mitrisin said. “They had a kid going to play at Texas A&M and to shut him down on their team gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”
Wilson said it is great to have Mitrisin become one of their go-to guys on the team because it is key to have a good left-hander in a pitching staff.
“I can’t say how much Mitrisin means to our team and to our success down the road,” Wilson said. “We need to have a good left-hander because you never know what type of matchups you will face, especially when we get into districts.”
Mitrisin is the only non-senior on the Kewpies’ varsity, but Mitrisin has turned into one of the leaders of the team.
“Drew is like a lot of our guys, he is committed to winning a championship, and he gets better with each game and that is what makes him a leader,” Wilson said.
Mitrisin said that being the only junior is not that weird because he has always played up with this senior class.
Mitrisin’s record is now 6-0 and he has an ERA of 1.84 in 34 and 1/3 innings pitched with 19 strikeouts.
Last year, Mitrisin led the team in hitting and this year he is also leading the team with a .468 average and 22 RBIs
The Kewpies (16-4) play at 4:15 today against Troy and then play at home on Saturday against St. Charles.