Coming up through the Brainerd baseball program Trevor Thompson primarily was an infielder.
"In ninth grade I played short and 10th grade was when I might have moved to third," Thompson said. "I didn't pitch a whole lot."
Even Brainerd Warriors assistant Keith Peterson, who coaches pitchers, had his doubts about Thompson as a pitcher.
"When I saw him growing up, and at the beginning of last year, I wasn't sure whether pitching would be his thing," Peterson said, "but he wants the ball. He would start every game if he was physically capable of doing it."
It's difficult to imagine the senior doing anything but pitching while glancing at his minuscule 0.48 ERA.
The right-hander has been the ace of the Warriors' staff the last two seasons. As a junior he was 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA, leading the team in innings pitched, fewest walks and ERA.
This spring he is 4-0 and has allowed just 11 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. He has pitched two complete-game shutouts and owns a 2-1 victory over St. Cloud Tech.
"Trevor just goes out and throws strikes," Warriors coach Lowell Scearcy said. "This year we haven't had a gun on him but I think he's picked up a little bit of speed over the last year. And, I think his breaking ball is a little bit better.
"We're at a point now where every time he goes out there we can count on him not giving up a bunch of runs. We know we will be competitive when he's on the mound. I think the other kids have a lot confidence in him, too. When you throw strikes you seem to play a lot better defense than when a pitcher is walking one or two every inning."
Consistency is Thompson's forte. He usually gets ahead of hitters and rarely walks them. Last season he walked just three in 39 2/3 innings and faced 80 consecutive hitters without issuing a base on balls.
"For the most part, over the last couple years, he's been able to throw strikes when he's needed to," Peterson said. "He has control of his fastball and changeup and has added a pretty decent and powerful curveball this year. He seems to be able to throw his fastball and curveball in whatever count. He's come through with strikeouts on 3-2 curveballs. He doesn't seem to have a lot of fear.
"Both years he's never really been blown out of a game. A lot of that comes back to throwing strikes. He also keeps himself in good shape. He has real simple mechanics. He doesn't have a lot of extra movement where things can go wrong for him."
Thompson keeps hitters guessing by mixing his fastball, curve and change along with an occasional slider.
"I throw a two-seam and a four-seam fastball," he said. "I just like to keep hitters off-balance. I've been working on my changeup this year. Actually, my changeup has helped me out quite a bit."
After a slow start at the plate, Thompson has begun to come alive. He ripped the game-ending hit that beat Tech and is now batting .280.
"Actually, I'm just starting to hit the ball better," he said. "I've kind of found a new batting stance that I like. I've been using that the last few games and it seems to be working."
Other notable efforts:
Tyler Monda, golf, was medalist in the season's first two meets.
Hannah McAllister, track, won the 800 run at the Hamline Elite Meet.
The 4x800 relay of Luke Delaney, Tyler Rose, Mitch Lorenz and Thomas Ruttger won at Hamline.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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