Indian River standout pitcher Colin Warner has always wanted to play college baseball. Ever since he was knee-high to a waterbug, Colin has had this particular dream. But now it’s become reality. Next season, Warner is taking his pitching talent to Division III Wesley College.
“I’ve wanted to play college ball all my life,” Warner said. “We’ll at least since I knew what college was.”
“College ball is the real deal,” he added.”
Warner had offers to play for Delaware State, Alvernia (Pa.) and East Strousburg – all Division II schools – but chose Wesley because he wants the best opportunity to play.
“Out of all my choices, Wesley was the best choice because it’s close to home and the coach was really cool. (Playing at Wesley) gives me a chance to make an impact. I didn’t want to go somewhere and sit. I want to prove myself.”
Warner said he doesn’t care where he plays, as long as he has the chance to contribute.
“I have a lot of work to do, but I’m going to try my hardest to get into the rotation. And if there isn’t a slot then maybe I’ll make it as a reliever or closer,” Warner said.
Warner certainly has the ability to make the starting rotation and, though most incoming freshmen have a hard time cracking the lineup, head coach Tripp Keister foresees Colin stepping right in – especially since he’s losing a pair of arms to graduation with his starter and reliever.
“He’ll get the ball and be right in the mix,” Keister said. “I see him starting when he gets here. He has a quite an arm and has a good feel for a breaking ball and curve.”
Warner’s best two pitches are his fastball and curve ball but he acknowledges the need to refine a third pitch.
“My fastball and curve ball are my bread and butter, but you definitely need a third pitch to get out the good hitters,” he said.
Currently, he’s working on his change-up in practice, but according to Keister there isn’t any replacement for game experience.
“He’ll get better each time – each outing,” Keister said. “When you put kids out there on the mound, they get experience and they get better. Colin has tremendous potential though I don’t think he’s even come close to scratching the surface of how good he’ll be. Right now, we’d like him to focus on pitching. We think he has a very bright future as a pitcher.”
Last year, Warner (5-2) tossed 47 innings and only gave up six earned runs in his seven starts. He threw back-to-back 12-strikeout games against Woodbridge and Lake Forest and fanned 41 last season. Warner tossed a complete-game nine strikeout performance in a 4-3 playoff loss to Newark last season but also gave up 10 hits and only one of the four runs were earned, keeping his ERA under one (.52).
At the midpoint of the 2006 spring season, Warner has already matched his win total from the previous season (3-0) and tossed complete games in each of his starts.
“My arm strength is better and I’m more confident,” Warner credited.
The Wolverines (18-13) are in control of their own destiny with possession of the fourth and final playoff position, and six conference games remaining.