During the summer, most high school and college players have the opportunity to relax and give their bodies the chance to recover before the start of the next season.
However, some athletes use the off time as a chance to improve their game. West graduate Brady Knittel chose the latter method as he has been playing American Legion baseball for Waverly Post 142.
Knittel is a dual-threat player, seeing time as an infielder while spending a majority of his effort pitching for the Shockers.
Prior to Monday’s contest, Knittel has pitched 14 innings, striking out 15 while walking six opposing hitters. He’s allowed six runs, four earned, and has a 1-1 record.
“The season’s been good,” Knittel said. “Coach Teeters is a good coach and I’ve been playing pretty well. He’s been helping me out a lot and he’s had the confidence to put me out on the mound, and it’s been good.”
Knittel is considering playing is college ball at Rio Grande, where he would have the opportunity to pitch and play second base. Before his freshman campaign, Knittel is striving to become a better pitcher.
“I’ve been trying to concentrate on the pitching side of it,” Knittel said.”I really want to go to college for pitching. So, every time I have an opportunity to take the mound, I treat it like a bullpen session to better me for college in the fall.”
Regardless rather he takes the mound or plays at second, Knittel should feel right at home.
“I’ve played second base all my life and I’ve pitched all my life, so I’m comfortable at either spot,” Knittel said.
In his limited plate appearances over the summer, Knittel has proven he is more than capable of hitting the baseball as he is sporting a .352 average in 17 attempts.
Knittel credits American Legion baseball for his development as a player, especially when it comes to his development as a hitter.
“It helps a lot,” Knittel said. “During my sophomore year, I hit in the low .200 and I played Legion baseball during the summer after my sophomore year. My next season, I hit in the mid .300s, so it helped me see the ball a lot better. It helped me see the top players from around the area and it’s good competition to play in, which helps prepare you for the next year.”
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or on Twitter @crslone.