Getting their work in
Top area pitchers find a way during stay-at-home order
The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping people a recommended six feet away from each other.
Luckily for baseball pitchers, they get 60 feet, 6 inches to work with.
But with Gov. Tim Walz’ stay-at-home order keeping students across Minnesota at home until May 4, pitchers are working to have their arms ready if and when the baseball season begins.
“It’s been pretty boring. I wake up, do my homework, do some stuff around the farm and then my brother and I go out and play catch,” said Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg sophomore left-hander Alex Call. “We do baseball stuff on the daily. We’re putting the work in ourselves.”
If a season happens, the usual regular-season crunch could be exasperated with condensed schedules. Currently, section baseball playoffs would start on May 21 (Section 2A; 5AA), May 23 (3A; 3AA) and May 26 (6A; 6AAA).
So, staying on top of workouts at home is key.
“It takes a lot of self motivation,” said Minnewaska junior Darion Alexander. “ I just use a lot of social media and videos online for different types of drills to get ready for the season, different drills focusing on things like arm patterns and arm path.”
Call, who verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Arizona this winter, said he has his own workout routine along with workouts he and his team have been sent online by head coach James Cortez. Lifting weights has been a concern, but Call said he and his family are working on that.
“We’re trying to build our own squat rack,” said Call, who was the Camden Conference’s Player of the Year in 2019 with an 8-1 record and a 1.06 ERA and 87 strikeouts while leading the Fighting Saints to the Class A state tournament. “I would be lifting weights but we don’t have access to anything. … It’s been a lot of push-ups and squats. I (also) do Plyo balls every day to keep my arm strength.”
Along with working on pitching mechanics in his spare time, Alexander is also able to get time in the family’s batting cage. Darion’s father, Joe, played baseball briefly at South Dakota State University.
“I’ll lift once a day, do some speed work and do as much as I can with the stuff I have,” said Darion, who had a Laker-record 0.24 ERA with 24 strikeouts while going 4-2 with two saves in 29 innings of work last spring.
Both Alexander and Call can also lean on their siblings to play catcher for a bullpen session. Alex’s older brother, Isaac, is a junior in the Fighting Saints’ lineup while Darion has a younger brother, Dylan, to play catch with.
“We’ll do some long toss once every two or three days and throw some bullpens,” Darion said. “Just work on all-around mechanics to keep it up to date.”
“It’s just a whole different routine,” Alex added.
Everyone’s making due with what they can during the stay-at-home order. Both Call and Alexander said they are keeping tabs with teammates to make sure everyone is doing their part.
Now, it’s just a waiting game before the real practices and in-game experiences can hopefully begin.
“We got plenty of room on the farm (to work out),” Call said. “But it’ll be nice, once the fields dry off, to go on the mound and practice.”