WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky (6/12/13) - Changing your mind about your college choice can be a really good thing, especially if college recruiters ‘come calling’.
That was the case for Webster County High School Baseball player Brennan Pritchett. The 2013 graduate had originally decided to attend Oakland City University on a baseball/academic scholarship.
But a phone call or two from Mid-Continent University baseball coach Tyler Owen quickly changed that decision. Mid-Continent, located in Mayfield, KY., graduated 12 seniors this spring and Owen was looking for recruits capable of stepping in and playing immediately.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” the 18-year-old Clay resident stated. “He (Owen) seemed to really want me more than at Oakland City and I think I have a great chance to walk right in and play my freshman year. I want to work hard and play immediately. They also offered a little more money.”
Pritchett, a starting shortstop and pitcher for the Trojans the past two seasons, also emphasized that at MCC, he would have the chance to play infield.
“They want me as a shortstop and possibly a pitcher,” he continued. “I was recruited as an outfielder at Oakland City and I much prefer playing shortstop. With Mid-Continent losing that many seniors in one season, it will be like a tryout for every position, everyday this fall.”
Pritchett was Webster’s top pitcher last year with a 7-3 record, posting 78 strikeouts in 82 innings while allowing only 13 earned runs and 18 walks. He also had a strong season at the plate, hitting .343 with 11 doubles, three triples, 19 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. He earned All-District honors last season as well.
During his junior year, when the Trojans won 19 games, Pritchett batted .356 with nine doubles, 26 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. He was 2-5 on the mound with 19 strikeouts in 41 innings.
He credits his improved statistics on the diamond with his decision to give up basketball, after his sophomore season, and focus totally on his baseball career.
“I’ve always loved baseball, I just have more fun playing. And after playing on a traveling team after my sophomore year, I realized baseball was my love and I should totally devote my time to the sport,” Pritchett explained.
He also noted the hard work it will take to be successful at the collegiate level, a huge jump for any high school player.
“I’ll definitely have to get stronger and I need to work on my hitting,” the speedy infielder stated. “To play at the college level as an infielder, I’ll also have to work on my hand quickness.”
He plans on beginning that process this summer when he will join the majority of the Henderson County High School team on their summer traveling squad Henderson Rangers.
Pritchett not only was a leader on the baseball field, he earned an impressive 4.0 grade point average in the classroom as one of Webster’s top students.
He hopes to pursue a degree in Business Management and possibly return to Clay and help in managing the family farm.
Mid-Continent, which played in the NAIA Division I TranSouth Conference, finished its season with a dismal 13-36 record, including a 2-10 mark in conference play. MCU is also a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Coach Owen, who played baseball at Murray State University with Trojan great and current boys basketball coach Jon Newton, feels his program is on the rise, especially after the school will join the American Midwest Conference this fall, composed of 12 teams, mostly from Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas. Freed-Hardeman, another member of the TranSouth, will join Mid-Continent in the move to the AMC. This is his first year as head coach after serving four years as the top assistant.
“This is a fantastic signing for us, we’re really glad to have him,” the MCC coach said of Pritchett. “Jon (Newton) kept telling me how athletic he was and about his great character on and off the field. That’s the type of student/athlete we’re looking for.”
He noted that his squad graduated starters in center fielder, shortstop, second base, catcher as well as several pitchers.
“Everybody we sign will definitely get the opportunity to prove what they can do this fall. That’s what I tell kids and that’s what I told Brennan,” Owen added. “I think the sky is the limit for him with his athletic potential. Especially now that he will be concentrating on baseball the entire year, fall and spring, as well as a top-notch strength and conditioning program designed for baseball players.”
The MCC coach also emphasized that he will implement a jayvee team this fall which will give his first and second year players a chance to earn ‘competitive’ innings at the college level as soon as school begins.
“We’re chomping at the bit to get going and thrilled we have a player like Brennan joining us,” Coach Owen concluded.
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