By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Pitching is a mental game. You got to get out of your way and just focus on getting the next out no matter the situation you are in.
The last two years at Chemeketa Community College has helped out 2018 McKay-Grad Austin Brown in that aspect of his game and it paid off moving into the next chapter of his playing career.
“It was all 100% mental. I learned pretty quickly at Chemeketa that I can’t do everything myself so once I started to focus on only the things I can control,” said Brown. “I think I become a lot better pitcher physically and mentally.
The Storm went 9-3 before the season came to a halt for Brown and Chemeketa on the heels of a 25-19-1 season in 2019 and an East Super Regional appearance.
By the numbers on the hill, Brown went 6-2 in 11 starts and 19 appearances, striking out 66 batters in 82-and-two-third innings with a save to his credit. Brown also carried a 3.66 ERA as the Chemeketa Sophomore adjusted to the task of pitching at the college level.
“Going from McKay to Chemeketa was a big jump but it was the right decision for me,” starts Brown. “I was able to learn from my coaches and teammates what it takes to be able to compete at the college level, from getting things done in the weight room to taking care of (the) arm as well as how to be a pitcher and not just a thrower.
“Chemeketa also helped me become a better leader which is something I want to take to Eastern (Oregon University) as we bring back a program that had a lot of success in the past.”
The Mountaineers brought back baseball after it was cut in 2006 due to budget cuts that left the sport on the shelve until it was announced late in 2019 of it’s return to the diamond. Eastern Oregon University hired former Western Oregon University Associate Head Coach Mike McInerney.
McInerney was the Wolves pitching coach during his time in Monmouth.
For Brown, he’s entering this next chapter of his playing career looking to continue to improve on the foundation he has built to this point in his college career. Outside of the physical aspect of the game in becoming a pitcher and not just a thrower, he worked on the mental aspect of the game.
Being exposed to the talent of the college level, he began to trust his abilities as a pitcher in the psychology-side and physical-side of the position.
“It was a big jump mostly in that of the competition. It went from playing against high school teams where they had a few dudes that were pretty good to playing college teams where every guy was a dude on their high school team,” said Brown. “I adjusted to this by learning to be more competitive in and out of the strike zone as well as letting my defense work behind me which is something that I think will be a huge part of my game as I move on to Eastern.”