College Baseball: Bye bye, Bobb
Abe Bobb only has one start left in a Willmar Stingers uniform. It’s been quite a run.
The righthander from San Francisco is pacing the Northwoods League with a 1.36 ERA and has tossed a league-leading three complete games.
He went 4-0 during the first half, helping the Stingers to a second-place finish, 1.5 games out of a playoff spot behind the Waterloo Bucks.
“I would’ve liked to take home a postseason spot in the first half, but Waterloo just played a little better,” Bobb said. “I trust these guys — they’re playing well.”
Bobb is leaving the team due to an innings limit and nagging injuries. He makes his last start against the Duluth Huskies at 7:05 p.m. today at Bill Taunton Stadium.
“He’s dealt with an injury all year long,” Stingers’ manager Matt Hollod said. “Believe it or not, he leads the league in ERA. He’s a little sore and he has to take care of himself for school ball.”
Bobb said he’s been pitching with a small tear in his hip labrum for the past two seasons and has dealt with a minor arm problem this year.
He hasn’t pitched like someone coping with two different injuries.
Bobb debuted for the Stingers on June 8 against Duluth and went eight innings in a 4-2 Willmar victory. Bret Dahlson pitched the ninth in that game, earning the save in Bobb’s only start that wasn’t a complete game.
He followed that up with a 6-1 win against St. Cloud on June 14, setting down the Rox on just 88 pitches.
June 22 was more of the same. He won a 2-1 complete game in seven innings, with the abbreviated length due to a doubleheader.
He capped it off July 2, holding Duluth to three hits and one run in a 8-1 victory for the Stingers.
“(The complete games) are a lot of fun,” Bobb said. “I haven’t really done that this often ever in my career.”
He’s also done it without the benefit of swing-and-miss stuff.
“(Bobb) calls his own game, which is unlike most other pitchers,” Hollod said. “He really understands how to pitch and use what he has. He has a lot of movement on his pitches — he’s got so much movement that he gets a lot of ground balls and it’s hard to get solid contact off him.”
He only has 12 strikeouts this season in a team-leading 33 innings pitched, an average of 3.2 per nine innings. In comparison, Madison’s Luke Staub has the second-lowest ERA in the NWL at 1.58, while averaging 8.5 strikeouts per nine.
Bobb works from two different arm angles. He’ll throw a fastball, slider and changeup overhand in the 88-91 mph range, and he also will drop down to sidearm for a fastball-slider combo.
“I don’t really think about strikeouts,” Bobb said. “With my stuff, they just have trouble barreling up the ball early in the count. I try to keep them off-balance.”
Bobb, who is heading into his redshirt senior season for San Francisco, said he has pro aspirations but that the injuries hurt his stock.
“Before I got hurt I was on playing pro ball after this year,” he said. “I’ll probably go back to college now.”