By Jeremy McDonald
CORVALLIS, Ore.– Chemeketa Freshman and Crescent Valley-grad Ethan Krupp will get a crack at making his hometown team this summer once, and hopefully when, the Corvallis Knights tip off the season here in a few weeks.
The Storm pitcher signed to a 10-day contract once the season begins that will feature road trips to Humboldt and Yakima is a step towards the dream of joining the team he grew up watching with Grandpa.
“Growing up in Corvallis, I have always gone to Knights games and watching them go about their business and watching the organization grow into what it is today has been surreal,” said Krupp. “This is honestly a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to play at Goss in the summer for them and it’s awesome knowing I get a shot to crack their roster this summer.”
Krupp, who pitched three-and-two-third innings with six strikeouts, a win and a save in three games with Chemeketa this Spring, remembers going to Knights games]early to watch batting practice.
He observed how the players approach game-day and picked the brains of the athletes following the game when fans were allowed on the field, trying to see how he could improve and prepare down the road.
“I learned a lot about how I needed to prepare for a game and how to mentally lock in, I didn’t really apply a lot of it until around high school and more so my junior year on days I pitched,” started Krupp. “Just making sure I’m 100% focused throughout the day to get the W. Getting some closing opportunities with Chemeketa was definitely huge for me.
“You can’t pitch hitters the same way you can in HS, you can routinely blow it by guys in (High School) if you throw above average but in college ball. If you keep throwing fastballs hitters are smart enough to be able to catch up to that so you have to be able to showcase 1-2 other pitches like for me it’s my curve-ball and change-up. Just trying to keep hitters off balance.”
Though he played in three games as a freshman at Chemeketa he noticed how quickly he would need a killer mentality, especially as a closer.
“You’re relied upon to get those next 3-5 outs, depending on when you come in,” said Krupp. “So it just helped me realize to just go right after hitters instead of trying to baby the pitch into the zone for a strike.”
Working on his grip with his curve and change until he found what worked for him. His change-up came around his Junior year and his curve-ball has progressed a long way in becoming a good strikeout pitch Krupp said.
“Keeping the hitter guessing is huge with all three pitches,” said Krupp of his pitches. “If you can use the same arm slot for all three then the hitter won’t be able to tell what you’re throwing until it’s too late. I’ve worked hard on being able to do that, in baseball they call it tunneling so I’ve worked super hard on tunneling all my pitches from the same point of release and arm angle.”
Yes the Coronavirus had thrown him off his typical Spring routine playing ball. 11 games into his first year in College to be exact. But Krupp is taking this time with an off-season approach. Lifting five to six days a week, throwing most of the days and re-reading Tim Grover’s Relentless to see what he can apply from the book to the 10-days.
Finding ways to just prepare his body for the possibility of truly living the dream this Summer.
“I’ve always loved baseball. It’s been my way of working through a lot of things that’s happened in my life and it was hard the first few days without having baseball,” said Krupp. “I’m treating it as an off-season right now where I’m lifting 5-6 days a week and throwing most of those days as well just preparing my body and taking care of it for hopefully a long summer with the Knights.”
“I hope to gain a lot of good experience and knowledge on how to pitch to and play with the university guys. Getting to see what they do at a university and how they go about it can help me understand what I need to do to get there.”
He’ll be sharing the opportunity with Austin Gerding (Philomath), Kaleb Kantola (Central) and Ben Leid (Crescent Valley), Krupp plays with Gerding and Kantola this past Spring at Chemeketa.
“Ben Leid and I it means a lot since we are both from Corvallis and haven’t played with each other in almost a year so it’ll be fun to get back with him,” said Krupp. “It’s going to be awesome to lace up the cleats with Gerding and Kantola again because I love and respect them both as players and people. It’ll be fun being able to compete with those two again because they are both so talented and really work for it. Same with Ben.”