Sophomore pitcher steps up to the plate ready to compete

Hanny Wolkoff, Sports Editor

At a first glance, 6’3” sophomore Tyler Cortland seems to be more fit for the basketball court. However, the sophomore feels most comfortable on the mound, where he will be one of the starting varsity pitchers for this year’s baseball team as they look to secure a spot in the state tournament.

“I love pitching because you are constantly in the action and have a large responsibility on the field. I enjoy the competition and having fun with teammates,” Cortland said.

11 years of Cortland’s life have been dedicated to baseball. He not only plays for the high school’s team, but also for the Connecticut Blue Jays in the fall and summer.

He has a high ceiling. If he continues to progress, he will play at the next level. [He brings] size, strength, and athleticism [to the pitcher’s mound]. He has a great skill set, especially pitching and hitting. He’s a plus in both those areas. [As a person], he is great. He is kind, empathetic, and motivated,” varsity coach Mike McGuire said.

As with any starting position on any team, there is always pressure to succeed. Although he does not have much varsity experience, Cortland plans on using his experience in high-pressure tournaments to stay calm.

“I know that if I just go out there and do my thing, I’ll be fine. If I had to choose one thing [that I’m most nervous about], it would be my first couple [of] games of the season. I don’t have much experience as a varsity pitcher, so it will be important for me to adjust to the faster pace of the game. One of my personal goals is to win every game that I pitch in to show that I am contributing to our team’s success,” Cortland said.

Along with McGuire, the rest of the baseball team has also noticed Cortland’s potential on the mound. Senior Zac Conrad, one of two captains that will be leading the baseball team this year, believes that Cortland will be an asset to the team.

“Tyler is a young player that we are we relying on to have a big year. Even though he is a sophomore he has already experienced the varsity level, and we are looking forward to seeing his improvement from last year to this year. Tyler brings a very calm demeanor and has a strong arm, which will help play a role in our success this season,” Conrad said.

Like Cortland, 2017 alum Brooks Mihalek was a pitcher for the team starting as a sophomore and through his senior year. He has faced the same pressure Cortland will face on the mound and has shared his advice.

“I think Tyler’s big challenge is his mindset. If he comes at the game with a good attitude, then he’ll be successful. He can’t let the game get to him,” Mihalek said.

The team looks to secure a spot in the tournament with a new pitcher on the mound. The center of baseball is the pitcher, and with his team supporting him, the sky is the limit for Cortland.

“My advice to Tyler would be to simply play the game you know you can play. I was in his shoes two years ago and let self induced nerves and pressure get to me. He should just trust his instincts, talents, and preparation and he will be able to succeed. Everything goes by so fast, don’t let anything else affect your game. Just do your best,” senior captain and former pitcher Patrick Arnold said.