For The Tribune
Being on the mound and in control is what Seymour senior Mitchell Moore likes about playing baseball for the Owls.
“I enjoy being able to control the game with every pitch,” he said. “You feel like you have the biggest impact in winning the game, and that’s what I like about it.”
Moore has pitched in the Owls’ varsity rotation for the past two years and last spring received the top pitcher award.
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On the mound, he said, he has three main pitches — fastball, changeup and slider.
“My go-to pitch is probably the slider, other than the fastball,” he said. “That creates the deception if you use the same arm speed. You come over the top with every pitch. That helps with not letting the hitters know what pitch you are going to throw.”
The first time through the order, he likes to start with a fastball, Moore said.
“They haven’t gotten a chance to see you yet, and you can get away with it,” he said. “But then the second time or the third time through the order, I’ll mix in the off-speed a lot more to keep them off balance.”
In throwing different pitches, Moore said, there is a strategy.
“You change your grip and ‘break’ your wrist,” he said. “For a slider, you break your wrist. For fastball, you normally come straight down with it. The slider breaks more to the side, away from a right-handed batter for me and into a left-handed batter. A curveball usually breaks more down.”
Moore said getting his arm in shape before the season was important for him to be able to throw hard throughout a game.
“Sometimes, I feel like I actually start throwing a little bit harder as the game goes on,” he said. “Usually, in the middle innings is when I feel the best.”
Long toss drills have helped the Owls gain strength so they are ready to play.
“I do long toss every day, usually before practice,” Moore said. “Before the game, you get loose and you can use it to strengthen the arm. It has gotten me a long way in terms of velocity.”
To gain an advantage while pitching, he said, he tries to get ahead in the count.
“It’s really important,” he said. “If you get behind, it opens up to walking guys, and that usually leads to runs, and that is huge in a game.”
It also is key to limiting the number of pitches per inning, he said.
“It’s good to start early throwing strikes and getting guys out,” Moore said. “There’s going to be an inning where you’re going to have to throw some (extra) pitches, but you just have to work through it. If you’re having a good game, usually, (the coaches) will let you stay in there longer. You don’t want to hurt your arm. You want to keep everybody healthy, so that’s a big part of it.”
Being mentally prepared to take the diamond is important, too, he said.
“You have to stay mentally tough through everything,” he said. “When bad happens, take a deep breath, let it go and move on. You have to stay focused on every pitch.”
When he’s not pitching, Moore plays shortstop or right field and is a designated hitter. He usually bats third or fourth.
“(Coach Jeremy Richey) wants to get me toward the top of the lineup and get some guys in, get some RBIs and start it over for the rest of the guys,” he said.
The key to being a successful hitter is going with the pitch, Moore said.
“On an inside pitch, you want to get the bat on it and turn on it,” he said. “On an outside pitch, just drive it the other way.”
This spring, Moore was named a team captain.
“It was a very nice honor,” he said. “The coaches rely on you to lead the team. The other kids look up to you when times get tough. It’s a huge honor to have.”
The Owls have played a strong schedule this year, and Moore hopes that pays off in the postseason. Seymour hosts the Class 4A Sectional 15 this week.
“It’s always good to play the best and see how good you are,” he said. “We play a tough schedule. The teams in our conference are pretty good teams. That gets us mentally prepared for the big games against the top teams.”
Moore has been playing baseball since he was 5 and said playing travel ball was a big help to his high school game.
“Travel ball gets you more experience,” he said. “You get to work on in-game situations. Playing in games is a lot different than practice.”
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Name: Mitchell Moore
School: Seymour High School
Family: Parents, Brian and Amy Moore; brother, Matthew
Sports: Baseball, four years; basketball, three years
Athletics honor: Pitching award in 2014
Home games: “The home games are great. I think we play a lot better at home, too. Everybody likes the home field more.”
Favorite away field: “My favorite might be New Albany. It’s a shorter field, and I like the infield there. The hops usually stay pretty true.”
Indoor practice: “It was very important. It was a big part preparing for the season. I think we get a jump on everybody else that doesn’t have that opportunity. I think it has helped us with our hitting and our pitching. Practice is very important to stay in shape, keep your skills and stay focused. The season gets long and tough, but you’ve got to work through it.”
Attending Seymour High School: “I enjoyed being a student here and taking AP classes and getting college credit. That’s the biggest thing. I’ve met some of my best friends here that I hope to keep through college and later on into life.”
Plans: Attend college and play baseball
Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite movie: “Coach Carter”
Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan
Favorite team: Louisville Cardinals
Favorite book: “Slight Edge”
Favorite quote: “He who says he can’t and he who says he can are both usually right.”