Loading...
BYH: To the ECU Leaders. Alcohol Beverages at a football game. You are asking for trouble. Drunks at the game already...

Sizing them up

081117ElmStreet-9.jpg

Matthew Matthijs, left, and Ashton Byars stand on the field at Elm Street Park. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

Loading…

BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Matthew Matthijs stands 6-foot-1, which is bigger than some college baseball players. North State teammate Ashton Byars is 5-foot and built more like a conventional Little League player.

They are on opposite ends of the height spectrum for the North State All-Stars, but at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., North State will be playing against teams later this week that have similar rosters with a few “big kids” and others who are closer to Byars’ size. With these boys being age 12 or 13, it is natural for them to hit growth spurts with variance.

But Byars are other 5-footers take pride in their stature.

“It’s funny because me as the shortest kid on the team and him the biggest, we were both battling at the last round of home run derby during a practice in Georgia (for the Southeast Regional),” Byars said. “They didn’t expect that from somebody so short.”

When he’s on the pitcher’s mound, Matthijs mainly throws in the mid-70s miles per hour range. ESPN uses a converter, which is based on reaction time, during its broadcasts of Little League, and during the Southeast Regional it had most of Matthijs’ pitches in the high-90s as an Major League Baseball equivalent.

Byars also is a pitcher, and not every Little League player can step on to the mound and just overpower opposing hitters. Pitching styles definitely differ.

With tournaments played in double-elimination format and pitch count restrictions, how a coach mixes and manages these pitching styles can often determine which teams advance.

“Once they start finding their roles and embracing that role, it’s good to see them start coming together because you need all 13 boys to win,” North State coach Brian Fields said. “They have done a great job pulling for each other and coming together and really just playing for every out.”

At this point in the summer, Matthijs and others his size have outgrown the Little League fields they play on and their scaled-down dimensions.

Matthijs’ pitching was a big factor in North State going 4-0 to win its regional played in Warner Robins, Ga.

Jayce Blalock, the biggest player on the Peachtree City, Ga., squad that North State beat in the championship game in Warner Robins, made his mark as a hitter and gained brief social media fame for a long home run he hit to left field. USA Today posted a short story and video of the long shot on its website.

Players’ sizes get a lot of attention when it comes to Little League coverage, which Matthijs has noticed as his Greenville team has made a run to the prestigious World Series event.

“There are not many people (my size) at age 12,” he said. “I was asked about a ton, because nobody knew me down as the Southeast Regional.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Sports

March 20, 2019

A couple of things often overlooked during a baseball no-hitter or perfect game can be: What happens with the ball after the final out and also the catcher’s role in the rare feat.

East Carolina’s Jake Kuchmaner, who threw a perfect game Sunday at Maryland in retiring all 27 Terrapins…

032019ECUbaseball-2.jpg

March 19, 2019

Strong pitching was the key for D.H. Conley in its 4-3 win Tuesday over crosstown rival J.H. Rose at Hollywood Crossroads. 

The trio of UNC-Greensboro commit Robbie O’Neal (3 IP, 6 Ks, 2 ER), Davis Pugh (1.2 IP, 2Ks, ER) and Mitchell Hofler (2 IP, 4Ks) helped Conley escape with the first…

032019dhcbaseball-12.JPG

March 19, 2019

Pitt Community College lost on Day 1 of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II national basketball tournament in Danville, Ill., on Tuesday.

Hot shooting by Damar Sutton and PCC was matched by Johnson County (Kan.) during the first 12 minutes of the game, then the No. 2 seed…

031419PCCbasketball-4.JPG

March 19, 2019

After months of serving as the top team in Region X, the Pitt Community College basketball team will need to embrace the underdog role in its first time on the national stage this week.

PCC, the Region X regular season champion in overwhelming fashion thanks to an 11-game win streak that spanned…

031419PCCbasketball-3.JPG

March 18, 2019

A major change in leadership at East Carolina University is coming and athletics director Jon Gilbert said Monday that he remains steadfast in his priorities and plan to push the Pirates forward.

Gilbert admitted that Monday morning’s announcement of Chancellor Cecil Staton’s…

120418ECUADGilbert-2.jpg

March 18, 2019

East Carolina’s football team putting on shoulder pads for Monday morning’s workouts led to the first installment of full-contact drills.

Keeping with an early spring practice theme, first-year head coach Mike Houston left the practice encouraged with the effort by players yet aware…

031619ECUfootball-1.jpg

March 18, 2019

UCLA is the new No. 1 team in college baseball, according to rankings both by Baseball America and D1baseball.com, and East Carolina’s best ranking is still No. 14 by Baseball America.

The Pirates will play a three-game series at UCLA (14-4) on April 12-13. 

ECU, which went 3-1 last week…

022619ECUbaseball-7.jpg

March 18, 2019

Mike Houston is ready for 8:45 this morning.

The first-year East Carolina football coach was ready for it last week, bringing it up one day before the Pirates even began their first spring practice workout on Friday.

“We’ll start finding it out at about 8:45 on Monday morning, because…

031619ECUfootball-2.jpg

March 18, 2019

RALEIGH

Pitt County has firmly placed itself as one of the premier locations in tradition-rich North Carolina for high school basketball. Just take a look at the three teams that competed for state championships Saturday night.

South Central brought in an exciting team with a mix of youth and…

031719FCmens-12.jpg

March 17, 2019

Jake Kuchmaner was one strike away from the 11th no-hitter in East Carolina baseball history on March 6 when he stifled Southeastern Conference powerhouse Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss.

He didn’t complete the no-hitter.

On Sunday, he fired the first perfect game in Pirate history.

The left-handed…

022619ECUbaseball-4.jpg
390 stories in Sports. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 39
        Next Page»   Last Page»