Hartline shows his versatility for BobcatsPublished 8:36am Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Brandywine senior baseball player Brock Hartline has showed that he can fill many roles on a baseball field.
During his three years on the varsity team, Hartline has been a third baseman, first baseman, relief pitcher and starting pitcher.
Bobcats baseball coach Dave Sidenbender is most excited about Hartline’s potential on the mound.
“I think he can be one of the better pitchers in the area,” Sidenbender said. “He throws with good velocity. He’s a low to mid-80s thrower when it’s warm out. He’s getting more comfortable out there.”
Hartline posted a 5-1 record with a 3.00 earned run average as a junior.
“He pitched well last year,” Sidenbender said about his 6-foot-5 righty. “I look for him to be our No. 2 pitcher this year right there with Kyle (Duncan). The only way we’re going to have success is if they both throw strikes.”
Hartline agrees with his coach.
“I hope that me and Kyle can lead the team pitching-wise and help the team go further at districts,” said Hartline.
Brandywine lost in the first round of districts last season.
Hartline showed glimpses of brilliance on the mound last Thursday in the second game of a doubleheader against Berrien Springs. The two games were the season openers for the Bobcats.
Over the first three innings, Hartline allowed two runs and two hits and struck out four. He ran into trouble in the fourth inning, giving up five runs on four hits.
“If I would have kept throwing strikes like I started to, I think I could have kept going,” Hartline said. “But I stopped throwing strikes.”
After issuing his second straight walk to load the bases in the fourth inning, Sidenbender visited with Hartline on the mound.
“I thought he threw pretty well,” Sidenbender said. “He threw a lot of strikes for the most part. As we got into the game and he threw 90 pitches, he said he felt fine, but you could tell he wasn’t. He was tired and when he came out he felt tightness (in his arm).”
Before his high school baseball career got started, Hartline thought he would just play the field and be a solid hitter.
“I pitched when I was younger, but I didn’t think I’d pitch on the varsity in high school,” he said. “It was a little bit of a surprise. But, I like pitching.”
Hartline batted .320 last year with a homer against Mendon. That was his first career high school homer.
“I’m looking for more (home runs) this year,” Hartline said. “I just have to hit my pitch.”
Sidenbender expects to see more power out of Hartline this spring.
“He’s one of those guys that can hit the ball out of the park,” the Bobcats baseball coach said. “He hits the ball really hard when he makes contact. He just needs some consistency.”
Hartline hopes the team can display more consistency and improve upon last year’s 18-15 record.
Brandywine didn’t get off to a good start in the first game of a doubleheader against Berrien Springs. The Shamrocks won 7-1, taking advantage of 11 Bobcat walks and five Bobcat errors.
“We talked as a team after the doubleheader,” Hartline said. “We have to be able to communicate better as a team on and off field. (Against Berrien Springs) there wasn’t much communicating going on out there on the field. That doesn’t help you win games.”