Casey Whittle knows when there is a big game for Boyle County, he’ll usually be the one getting the call to the mound.
And that suits the Rebels’ senior right-hander just fine.
“For sure, like the Danville game last year at home, the idea of having the trust of your team to give you the ball (in big games) and the trust I have in them, it’s like ‘OK, I’m going to do the best I can and see if you can match it,’” Whittle said. “I like being given the ball in that situation.”
Whittle was referencing an early-season game against rival Danville in which Whittle tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings, propelling him to an All-Area caliber season.
Whittle was 5-3 last year with a 2.55 earned-run average and 42 strikeouts. He also allowed just 41 hits while logging a team-high 57 2/3 innings. He is the leader of a staff which includes four of the top five innings pitched leaders from last season. Aside from Whittle, Boyle will go with Addison Coffey (6 wins 50 2/3) innings, Jarrett Payne (26 2/3 IP, 23 K) and junior Micah Miniard, a Western Kentucky recruit who had 23 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings as well as Ryan Petitt, Brett Jones and Will Fyffe out of the bullpen.
Whittle said after a successful 2012 season, he is ready to get going this spring.
“I’m feeling really good, I lie our chances going into this year,” he said. “I definitely feel I’ve gotten better over the offseason. I’ve been working with that velocity program Coach (Kyle) Wynn got for us, and I’ve been working with Coach (Evan) Teague on my mechanics, hitting my spots like I’m supposed to.”
With his increased confidence, Whittle said he is ready to throw even more innings this spring if called on to do so.
“I’m definitely comfortable with how many innings I threw. I definitely like throwing a lot of innings, everyone likes to throw as much as he can,” Whittle said. “Coach Wynn can tell when a pitcher’s tiring down and when they need to be taken out. But I’m fine with how much I threw and I’m fine with throwing more.’
“I’m definitely feeling it. I love to go all the way and finish a game.”
Wynn said Whittle’s ability to go deep in a game helps his squad.
"Casey gives our team confidence that when he's on the mound we have a great chance to win that ballgame,” Wynn said. “You know he's going to compete at a high level and give you everything he has to put our team in position to be successful."
Whittle also said he benefitted from playing quarterback for the Boyle football team.
“I was really lucky that I’ve never gotten any major injuries. And I’ve been told throwing the football actually helps you throwing a baseball, helps with your velocity,” he said.
He also gets a little familial advice from his older brother Garrick, a senior left-handed pitcher at Morehead State.
“he helps all the time. he’s had good pitching days up here, so he’s been able to pick up on things that in high school he might not have been taught,” Whittle said. “So he helps wit those things to help give me the best advantage he can.”
As far as his college choice, Casey Whittle is undecided, but knows he has a chance to make a big impression coaches this spring.
“I’m still looking. I’ve got a couple of coaches who are coming to watch me pitch,” he said. “I’ve been on a few visits and seen some campuses i really liked. I just have go out, work my best and see who talks to me and see what happens.”
Area preseason baseball capsules
Coach: Kyle Wynn
2012 record: 19-15, lost in first round of 45th District tournament
Top returnees: Casey Whittle, Sr. P-1B, 5-3, 2.55 ERA, 57 2/3 innings pitched; Brett Jones, So. IF, .953 fielding percentage, 8 SB; Josiah Robbins, So. IF-OF, .368 29 RBI, 42 H.
Coach: Greg Henson (first year)
2012 record: 5-19, lost in first round of 46th District tournament
Top returnees: Rusty Sallee, Sr. 1B, .150 BA; Mason Myers, Jr. P-C-SS-OF, .318 BA, 6 runs; Cooper Shearer, Fr. P-SS-OF-2B, 8 R.
Coach: Greg Hammond
2012 record: 7-26, lost in first round of 47th District tournament
Top returnees: Alex Atwood, Sr. P-2B; Hunter Christian, Jr. C; Matt Sharp, So. IF-OF.
Coach: Paul Morse
2012 record: 31-10, lost in 12th Region championship game
Top returnees: Cole Phillips, Sr. IF, .288 BA, 214 RBI, Mason Stamm, So. IF-1B, .269 BA, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 17 SB; Ben Mahan, So. utility-DH, .364 BA
Coach: C.J. Lynn (first year)
2012 record: 13-23, lost in first round of 45th District tournament.
Top returnees: Seth Murphy, So. SS-P, .326 BA, 53 1/3 IP, 50K; Matt Wilburn, So. 3B-P, .386 BA, 16 2/3 IP, 14K; Ronnie Saylor, Sr. C, .333 BA.
Coach: Brad McNew
2012 record: 20-18, lost in first round of 12th Region tournament
Top returnees: John Day, Sr. 3B-OF-P, .280 BA, 11 SB, 2 saves; Dylan King, Sr. 1B-P, .380 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI; Zach Brown, Sr. P-1B, 5 wins, 77 IP, 13 BB.
Coach: Jeremy Shope
2012 record: 23-13, lost in first round of state tournament
Top returnees: Jon Banks, Sr. 3B-P; 6-4, 3.56 ERA, 51 K, 21 walks; John Ingram, Sr. 2B-P, .946 fielding percentage, .322 BA, 16 RBI, 6-1, 2.47 ERA, 27 K, 15 walks; J.T. Long, Jr. DH-P, .355 BA, 20 RBI, 6-3 2.01 ERA, 42 K, 11 BB.