According to the Gospel of Skip Wilson, pitching is the name of the game.
Wilson, now in his 44th season as Temple’s baseball coach, might have one of the better pitchers in the Atlantic 10 in Matt Powell, even if his statistics don’t suggest it.
Powell’s numbers – a 2-5 record to go with a 4.70 earned run average – certainly don’t jump off the stat sheet.
But a few Major League scouts have come to Erny Field to evaulate the senior’s arm strength.
Powell’s teammates believe he has a shot to extend his playing career beyond this season.
“Matt does have the ability to play pro ball and will be highly pursued by other ball clubs,” Temple second baseman Fred Hilliard said.
Powell, a righthander from Holland, Pa., wants to go pro, something every kid dreams of when he first starts playing baseball.
But he doesn’t put that goal in front of his team.
“I’d like to go pro, who wouldn’t?” Powell said, “But right now, I’m focused on our team winning games.”
Powell leads the team with 38 strikeouts and 51.2 innings pitched. Wilson considers Powell to be his staff ace.
“Matt is a very intelligent ballplayer,” Wilson said.
“He has a feeling that he’s not going to lose, and he’s able to go the distance.
All week long, Powell gets mentally prepared for each upcoming game.”
Powell seems to embrace the mental aspect of the game.
“As of now, I’m physically conditioned and where I want to be,” Powell said.
“Mentally, I try to visualize myself doing well and having success the next day.”
Powell also seems to be a bit superstitious.
“It’s all about the glove.
When I’m out there pitching, whatever glove is working for me I keep on” Powell said.
“Otherwise, I change it up.
I have a black glove that I used in high school. That one is my favorite.”
Powell is also known to use up to four gloves on some days.
Before each game, you can find Powell in the team’s clubhouse taking a nap.
In his mind, he goes over what pitch he is going to throw next or what pitch the batter is expecting him to throw next.
“He has dedicated himself to making this team better, and helping out the younger guys on this team,” Wilson said.
Powell has embraced the role of being a leader on a Temple team trying to win an A-10 championship.
“There are two types of leaders, vocal leaders and those who lead by their performance,” Powell said.
“I try to be a little of both.”
Powell owes a lot of his pitching knowledge to former coach Rob Kell, who was with the Owls last season.
Through Kell, Powell learned a lot more about the mental aspect of the game; most importantly the ability to read batters and recognize swings.
Powell’s older brother, Greg, once pitched for Temple and is currently in the Houston Astros organization.
Powell is scheduled to graduate in May of next year.
Around the horn …
Powell pitched a season high 8.1 innings against New Orleans on March 7…He also has a season high seven strikeouts against Troy St. back on March 2…Powell is on pace to break his individual strikeout record of 46 from the 2002 season.
Anthony Hood can be reached at email@example.com.