D.H. Conley freshman pitcher Matthew Matthijs walked into high school baseball with plenty of expectations already set. The former Greenville Little League star had all the hype in his first season, and delivered.
He went 9-1 in 14 appearances, striking out 86 batters in 58.1 innings pitched. He also racked up 86 strikeouts, earning him The Daily Reflector's Pitcher of the Year honor.
"It was fast (the jump from middle to high school baseball)," Matthijs said. "I had to grow up quick to play with the increased competition."
Being the new guy can be stressful, especially when all of your teammates already know of you and your accomplishments.
"I just tried to keep all of that in the back of my mind," he said. "I just wanted to focus on the game and the moment I was in at the time."
Matthijs and Conley head coach Jason Mills have a detailed plan of how to continue to improve his skills from year to year without burning out the talented pitchers arm.
"I'm going to work on my changeup, and maybe my slider a little bit," Matthijs said of his offseason routine. "I want to try and throw a lot more strikes."
Throughout the summer Matthijs will continue to play, working with the Canes 15U national team.
"It's a little different than high school baseball," Matthijs said. "We're not as close right now, but as the season goes on we'll get closer and become like brothers."
There's no doubt opponents will know what to expect once Matthijs returns to the mound next season. Until that time he'll work on adding some more tricks and pitches to his arsenal in hops f having another dominant season.