Baseball: Sandburg’s Bryan Pall mastering mental approach to pitching
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org May 6, 2014 8:22PM
Bryan Pall, of Sandburg | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 8, 2014 6:37AM
From a physical standpoint, Sandburg senior Bryan Pall looks pretty much the same — 6-foot-2, 215 pounds — as last season.
He still unleashes a fastball that ranges between the upper 80s and low 90s (mph). His slider remains devastating, his changeup effective.
Looks, however, can be deceiving.
It’s between the ears — his mental approach to getting hitters out— that has changed. Pall isn’t throwing; he’s pitching.
“I’ve learned to think my pitches through,” he said. “I’m setting up guys and thinking the game more this season. I’ve matured mentally.”
Pall has been dominant, boasting a 3-1 record and 0.75 ERA. In 28 innings, he’s allowed just 20 hits and six walks while striking out 51. Last season he needed 592/3 innings to strike out 58.
“Bryan’s ability to understand the game plan on the mound has improved since last year,” Sandburg coach Jim Morsovillo said. “He’s more of an all-around pitcher this year. His slider is his true swing-and-miss pitch and it has more movement than last year.
“He’s a hard-working, humble young man who is our go-to guy on the mound.”
That’s saying something, considering the Eagles boast two other Division I college caliber starters in Sean Leland (Louisville) and Matthias Dietz (Logan Community College). While the three are competitive, they’re also very supportive of one another.
“There’s some competition to outdo the other, but we’re all good friends and love each other,” Pall said. “We’re so confident that whichever of us is pitching that day, we’re going to get the win.”
Pall has been winning games as a pitcher since he was a member of the Orland Park Magic youth baseball organization. However, he’s prone to struggles, just like any other pitcher. The difference is during those rare stretches he can call on an uncle with major league pitching wisdom.
Donn Pall, who pitched in the big leagues for 10 seasons, including six with the White Sox, is Bryan’s uncle.
“He’s been a big influence,” Pall said of his uncle, who had a career 24-23 won-lost record and 3.63 ERA, primarily in relief. “I’ve watched tapes of his games and always pick his brain about pitching. He’s helped me most on my mechanics. He’s been a great resource.”
As one can imagine, Pall had numerous Division I colleges recruiting him. In the end, he couldn’t pass up the quality education, state-of-the-art facilities and Big Ten competition that Michigan has to offer.
“It’s top-notch everything,” Pall said. “I liked everything about Michigan. When I’m finished, I’ll have a great degree.”
First things first. Pall has some unfinished business to attend to at Sandburg. He would love nothing more than to lead the Eagles to the Class 4A state championship.
“We’re capable of anything,” he said. “We’re playing better defensively and putting the ball in play. With Sean and Matthias, we have great pitchers. I’d love to end my high school career with a state championship ring on my finger.”