Toeing the Rubber


Thanks Fearsome,
That’s like every game for us too. We have a pretty tough schedule against schools that are a good bit bigger. I knew the school I transferred to was losing 3 senior pitchers from last year, so I figured I’d see some playing time right from the start. As it turned out, I am the best pitcher and start about every 4th day. Which I love. I wouldn’t have it any other way - except to have sone better fielding. Lol.


Drake sounds like you did pretty well.

Many times the first curveball of the game fools the umpire. A big curve is often hard to get a strike called on anyway. You might want to consider your change up as a 3-2 off speed pitch, if you can command it.

Make sure that you are only considering statistics that reflect what you can control. Basically strikes, balls, walks and ks. Consider whether you made the pitch you wanted and located where you wanted. Did you field your position. I know that you want to win but you need to stay focused on your process as a pitcher. You need to force contact, but trying to get weak contact. That is your main job as a pitcher. Your walks are a little high but trying to eliminate all contact will cause your walk totals to be elevated.

I have been where you are. It isn’t that much fun but you can get through it and reach another level if you stay focused on your process.

Good luck,



Most good umpires will set up behind the catcher at the top and bottom of the first and get a feel for the starting pitchers. If the pitcher gives the umpire a look at a curve ball during warm up, I’d say the first one in the game will not catch him off-guard.


I’ve had a couple of umps stand behind the catcher as I warm up. Some just chat with the coaches till it’s time to call "Play ball!"
My pre first pitch routine consists of throwing each of my pitches from the windup and the stretch. I’ll repeat it if given time.
Thanks for the advice.


I think the operative phrase is good umpire. :blush:

I have seen one decent plate umpire in 11 games this year. Our umpires are usually chatting each other up while the starting pitchers are throwing their warm ups. Last night the umpire thought the middle of the off batter’s box was the outside corner (very slight exaggeration). It is really hard to imagine how people actually trying to call a game can be so inept. He did give a wonderful performance with his strike calls, a solid 3 seconds after the catcher caught the ball.

Don’t get me wrong, umpires must be treated with courtesy and respect but it is out of respect for the game, respect for authority, respect for people in general and self respect. It seldom has anything to do with the performance of the umpire.


If the umpires have their stuff together, the plate umpire will stand to the side of home plate closest to the defensive team’s dugout and prevent players from the offensive side from crossing to the other side of the plate before the catcher throws down to second.

The base umpire will be standing in shallow right field or he will be taking a few plays during the infield warm up from his A position and get the angle on a few throws from the infielders.


Ted, I think I see more chatters than anything else. I never try to show them up, but it’s tough enough trying to hit your spots and then have the umpire not see the same thing you or anyone else is seeing. The worst thing is inconsistency. If it’s a strike there once, it should be there every time. Balls the same way. If it’s a ball there for me and a strike there for the other team, then it looks like home cooking. That’s when it’s really frustrating.
I was supposed to pitch last night but the game got moved to tonight (and no, I don’t live in Baltimore). I’ve been working on my change-up and feel pretty confident in it. I think I had been slowing my arm down when throwing it in the past. Now, I’m throwing it just like my fastball and it’s got a nice tail in on a right handed batter.
I’ll post after the game.


I pitched another complete game. I gave up 4 hits, 2 walks (in the same inning and they both scored), and I struck out 12 - their big hitter twice, but we still lost 5 - 3. All my pitches were working. The other teams players and coaches came up to me after the game while I was raking the mound and told me I pitched a great game. They were all impressed with my curveball. Their big hitter who is 6’ 5" and weighs about 230 was missing it all night. He couldn’t touch it. The guys that hurt me were the bottom of the order. They had 2 players that were short and wouldn’t swing at the curve (it didn’t get called). They were good hitters and put the ball in play. Against our defense, that’s all you need to do. Lol
Anyway, I felt good about the night. The ump was consistent and I pitched well enough to win. I came. up in the bottom of the 7th with 2 out and the bases loaded and hit a grounder right back to the pitcher. I had hit the ball hard all night but went 1 for 3. This teams defense was solid - not one error and their short stop made some great plays.
I am supposed to start in a double header on Sat. so hopefully I can come back with another complete game and maybe even a win.


Defense can make a big difference. I tell my son to focus on things within his control and influence and don’t give a second thought to anything outside of that sphere. It only leads to distraction, which lowers your own performance.

My son pitched two innings and gave up 7 runs. After striking out the first two batters he faced, there were 5 fielding errors in the two innings–one specific error allowed 3 runs to score. Two outs; bases loaded average speed ground ball to short stop charging toward the mound. He had the runner by 30 feet and sailed the ball over the 1B head down the right field line following the fence down into the right field corner. Where was the RF, you ask? He was jogging in toward the mound assuming inning over instead of backing up a potential errant throw. The first person to track down the ball was the first baseman! We were fortunate to hold the batter to 3rd base! Four out of six outs were by strikeout. All he needed was the defense to kick in for a couple ground ball outs. 4 out of 5 grounders booted. One fly ball dropped and another misjudged (not technically an error). The misjudged fly was with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out. The CF got a very late break and the ball landed just in front of him…he didn’t even dive for it. Both runs scored.

I’m teaching him to pitch to contact and go deeper into games but his defense is requiring him to be a strikeout pitcher since they can’t consistently make routine plays.

I guess what I’m saying is that it happens to everyone. Keep Calm and Carry On.


Awesome job, keep it rolling!!
My son pitched consecutive complete game 1 hitter, 2 hitter and 3 hitters his Junior year. The 3 hitter he went 9 innings instead of the regular 7 and outlasted a power pitcher that was drafted in the 11th round a year later. Because his team was not great he had a record of 0-1 to show for that three game stretch. He ended up making the All-State team with a record of 1-7…haha.
Maybe the most over rated stat in pitching is wins. You just keep doing what you do and stay hungry.


Thanks Fearsome. I just checked the stat sheet. I’m 1 - 6. I have 35K’s in 30 innings. I’m looking forward to Sarurday. Another tough team on the schedule. My first season as a high school pitcher ends next week. Then my last season in the local 15U league starts on the following Sat. I’m looking forward to honing my skills and getting better! And winning some games!!! Lol


Saturday’s game was a lot like my other games aganst good teams. I pitched 4 innings gave up 5 hits, walked 4, and struck out 4. Usual errors behind me kept innings alive. We lost 10 - 0 in 5 innings. I wasn’t my sharpest- only 2 days rest between starts.
Tomorrow is the last game of the season and I’ll be starting again. We are playing a comparable sized school so we have a chance. They run ruled us early in the season but I didn’t pitch in that game.
Saturday, the 15U season starts. Every team in the 18 team league plays on that day on one of three fields in the complex. We play the latest start time of 5:30. I’ll be pumped.


So you’re pitching 3 times in a week?
Hydrate (not just gatoraid), hydrate…get your arm care in eat a lot of food with plenty of protein.
Did I mention hydrate?


The last game of the season is in the books. We lost 4 - 3. The leadoff batter in the first 3 innings got on and ended up scoring each time. 2 got on by errors and 1 on a strike 3 pass ball. At the end of the 3rd inning we were down 4 - 0. I told my coach, who calls the pitches, to let me throw my curve ball more. I probably threw it 75% of the time the rest of the game. They had one baserunner after that - a two out walk in the 7th on two straght borderline pitches. I struck out 6 of the last 7 batters I ended up pitching another complete game with 3 hits, 2 walks, and 13 strikeouts. The umpire told my catcher that that was the nastiest curveball he had seen in a long time. He came up to me after the game and asked me how old I was and I told him 15. He said I will be going places with that curve ball. I thanked him.
My dad talked to the 15U coach and told him I just pitched 7 innings, so I wont be pitching on Sat. The next game looks like Monday for me now. I’ll post again then.


We won our first two games of the season 17 - 2 and 10 - 0 (in 6). I pitched the 10 - 0 game: 1 hit, 13k’s and 4 walks. The one hit was a triple in the 6th inning when the backups were in the outfield. The pitch was too good for a 1 - 2 count. I tried to get him to chase a high fastball but I got too much of the zone. I struck the next two batters out on 7 pitches. I had too many walks. I didnt miss by much. They were all 3 -2 counts that didnt go my way. I threw a fair amount of fastballs - mainly against the bottom of the order because they couldnt catch up to it. The curveball was working on their better hitters.
We don’t play again till next Sunday and I might get that start. Not sure yet.
I’m 4 for 8 batting to start the season: 3 singles and a double. I’m hitting leadoff.


Pitched this morning. We had a 10 am start. It rained all night and was raining lightly the entire game. I couldnt throw my curveball or much of anything for that matter. I walked 5 and gave up 4 hits. I struck out 5 in 4 innings. Our fielding was bad and the other team managed to get on base and then steal against our catcher. We lost 10 - 4. I question the logic behind playing the game in the rain. That was not to our advantage. My hand looked like a prune. I must have had 6 or 7 pitches slip out of my hand and hit the backstop about 10 feet up.
My dad said to just chalk it up as a learning experience. -and don’t pitch in the rain.


Just returned from my high school sports award banquet. I won varsity letters in basketball and baseball - and the award for Most Outstanding Baseball Player!

It looks like we will be moving this summer. We’re looking at the Myrtle Beach / Conway SC area. If anyone wants to recommend a good school there, feel free!


Awesome, congrats!!
Nice to get the recognition.
Don’t be satisfied Drake, let that success feed your hunger.


Hey Drake, what’s your bodyweight + height now?

Keep up the great work.


I’ve pitched a couple more games since the last time I posted. One game was absolute joke. The umpire was the worst our coach had seen EVER in 30 years of being around baseball as a college player and a coach. Here are a couple examples: He stood about 3 feet behind the catcher and flinched and turned his head to the side when a pitch came in. I struck out three batters swinging and he called “Ball”. They were full swings - nothing that resembled a check. We would have to appeal each time - fortunately, the base umpire saw it. It was a tough game. We got run ruled 10 - 0. I had given up 3 straight hits to start the game. All 3 were hit to our backup 3rd baseman, but they were just hit off the bottom of the bat and barely made it 20 feet - each one down the line. That’s how it started. A couple of errors later, we were down 6 - 0. I still had 10 strikeouts in 5 innigs. For the year I have 56 strikeouts in 26 innings.
The last game we had a fair ump and I struck out 14 in 7 innings. I had 3 walks in the 5th inning and struck out 2, and then the next guy hits one to our sub right fielder who lets it land in front of him and it goes between his legs. and goes to the fence - allowing all 3 baserunners to score. . .and tie the game 3 - 3. That was the score going into the 7th. We scored 5 in the top and I struck out their 1, 2, & 3 hitters in order and that was it: 8 - 3.
I made the headlines in the local paper. Lol