By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
WICHITA, Kan. —
Former Enid High pitcher Tobin Mateychick is leaving Wichita State baseball program.
Mateychick, who would have been a fifth-year senior, said there were no hard feelings in his decision.
He said it was related to WSU’s coaching change from Gene Stephenson, the father of the program to Arkansas assistant Todd Butler.
“They have signed a bunch of new pitchers,’’ Mateychick said. “It was time for a change of scenery. Todd Butler recruited me for Arkansas, but I didn’t hear from him after he got the job. I wish him the best.
“It’s definitely not a disappointment. It’s something that happens. It never hurts to change it up. Hopefully, I can get back on track.’’
WSU pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, who coached Mateychick the past four seasons, said the move is best for both sides.
“It was a situation he felt he needed to go somewhere where he could get a lot of innings and show his talent,’’ Kemnitz said. “I still think he has a good future in the game. He needs to find a place where he can suck up a lot of innings.’’
Mateychick was 2-2 with a 7.71 ERA last season. He threw 21 innings, allowing 14 hits, 18 earned runs and 16 walks while striking out 14.
“He was a little bit inconsistent,’’ Kemnitz said.
Kemnitz said that might have been because of WSU’s pitching depth. He admitted with a deep bullpen, the Shocker coaches weren’t hesitant to take out a starter early.
“He needs to go where he can relax and settle in and not have to worry about getting the hook so early,’’ Kemnitz said. “It was me as much as anyone else. I had so much belief in our bullpen ... Tobin still has big-time talent.’’
Mateychick admitted the Shockers felt pressure with Stephenson’s job being on the line.
“It was the whole team that felt pressure,’’ he said. “We knew if we didn’t win, the coaches would be gone. You go out and walk someone in the first inning and they may already have someone in the bullpen. It comes with the territory.’’
Mateychick had been drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of high school, He said he was disappointed he wasn’t drafted in last month’s major league draft.
“Absolutely, I have hopes to pitch professionally,’’ Mateychick said. “I thought I would move on this year. Hopefully, next year.’’
He is going to Kentucky next week to throw for the Major League Scouting Bureau. He hopes he can impress scouts there. He said the more innings he can pitch next year, the better opportunity he will have.
He said he is looking at Division II schools. While not naming any, he said it “was a good possibility,’’ he would be playing in the state of Oklahoma.
“The schools that I talked with said they wanted a weekend starter,’’ Mateychick said. “It’s a good feeling that someone still wants you.’’
He said he didn’t have a timetable for a decision. Mateychick wants to visit some more campuses before deciding.
Mateychick was 3-0 as a freshman with a 5.50 ERA. He struck out 25 in 36 innings.
He missed the 2011 season with injuries and had Tommy John surgery. He came back to go 4-1 with a 5.01 ERA as a sophomore with 11 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
“He was our best recruiter (on campus visits),’’ Kemnitz said. “He’s very personable. When we had a top recruit come in, we put him in charge of him.’’
“I did get a bunch of guys to commit,’’ Mateychick said. “There are no hard feelings. Sometimes you got to change it up. I am still very close to a bunch of guys there and I wish them well.’’
Mateychick, who threw bullpen for one coach Tuesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark, said his arm is fine.
“My velocity is up,’’ he said. “I’m feeling 100 percent and it’s been a while since I can say that. I have enjoyed it.’’
Mateychick said he had “no comment’’ about Stephenson’s firing.