Aden Burnside said one of his goals the past couple of was to play college baseball once he completed his career at Seymour High School.
He took a big step forward in reaching that goal by signing a letter of intent to play baseball at Marian University in Indianapolis on Monday night.
“As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew it was the right decision,” he said of his choice of schools. “I knew when I pulled into the parking lot.”
One thing Burnside likes is the location of the campus.
“I love that it’s right in (northwest side) Indianapolis,” Seymour’s 2021 MVP said. “I feel like there are tons of opportunities for me. I can do about whatever I want in the city. It will be a big change from small town Seymour.”
Seymour baseball head coach Jeremy Richey said Burnside is the 22nd Seymour player to sign to play college baseball since 2014.
Richey said he feels like Burnside can see a lot of mound time at Marian.
“I think he has a great shot to go in and compete, to throw some innings right away. They’re a good program. Aden has the ability to pitch, and that’s one of the things I talked about when everybody was introduced tonight,” he said.
“Aden has the ability to stay within himself and pitch to his strengths. He’s not yet got the velocity that he’s going to throw it by people when they know it’s coming,” he said. “The velocity is improving. What he does, he throws all of his pitches for strikes, and he mixes them up really well. That kind of puts him ahead of the game because a lot of times, college pitchers are guys that throw hard in high school, and then they get to college and they realize that everybody can hit velocity when they know its coming.”
Todd Bacon, baseball head coach at Marian, said there will be a lot of openings on the Knights’ pitching staff in the near future.
“We’re going to graduate five arms this year, so we are definitely looking to replace those five,” Bacon said. “We feel like (Burnside) has a big upside, and I feel like he’s just tapping his potential, body type and arm length, and just the fact that I think he’ll fill out here in the next year or so and put on two or three miles an hour and I think he’ll be pretty competitive at another two or three MPH.”
Bacon looks for Burnside to become stronger.
“With an added 15 or 20 pounds of muscle and the frame, now all of a sudden, you’re able to create more down force coming downhill,” he said. “When you get to 83 or 84 from that (left) side, all of a sudden, you’re pretty competitive in our conference.”
Burnside said he usually throws a fastball, a slider and a change-up.
“On my fastball, I have a four-seam and a two-seam,” he said. “I feel I can control all my pitches. Locating my pitches is definitely my cup of tea because I don’t have the most overpowering fastball, but when I mix in my off-speed and my location, it really helps me be successful.”
Richey talked about his control, as well.
“The thing that he does well, he doesn’t walk a lot of batters,” he said. “He can throw 3-1 sliders for strikes and is comfortable doing that, so I think that puts him ahead of a lot of pitchers, especially pitchers that have a lot of velocity in high school because that doesn’t transfer over as well as somebody who can throw a lot of things for strikes.”
Burnside, a 6-foot-3 left-hander, throws overhand.
“Last year, he and Coach Elvis (Hernandez) worked on a slider. and I think that really changed his game,” Richey said. “There were a lot of games he threw his slider quite a bit. What that does, that increases the fastball velocity even more. He does a nice job with his change-up, but that slider really brought him along as the season got on.”
Richey said Burnside may play some first base when he’s not pitching for the Owls.
“He talked to me at the end of last year that he wants to be on the field more,” Richey said. “It’s one of the things he knows the situation. We have a lot kids coming back, and the reality is we are going to put guys on the field that give us the best chance to win.”
Burnside said playing travel ball for the past several years has greatly enhanced his baseball career. Last year, he played with Main Command from Columbus. That team was made up of payers from Columbus, Seymour, Brownstown and Bloomington.
“I played with that group for three years,” he said. “They really helped me develop my love for baseball, along with my school team. I love how everything is in my control, and I’m almost playing chess. In every situation, you want the batter to do a different thing. Groundouts are a big part of why I’m successful. I need to work a little more on my pickoff move.”
Marian is an NAIA school and is a member of the Crossroads League. Other Indiana schools in the league are Bethel, Grace, Goshen, Huntington and Indiana Wesleyan, plus Spring Arbor, Michigan, and Mt. Vernon Nazarene, Ohio.