Digital Access

Digital Access
Access from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Mail Delivery

Mail Delivery
We’ve got you covered! Get the best in local news, sports, community events, with focus on what’s coming up for the weekend. Weekly packages.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in Morris and Grundy County.

Minooka pitcher Malone looks to continue hot streak

Mitch Malone is congratulated by Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic and pitching coach Jim Lamping following a complete-game victory Wednesday against Oswego East.
Mitch Malone is congratulated by Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic and pitching coach Jim Lamping following a complete-game victory Wednesday against Oswego East.

MINOOKA – Mitch Malone got the chance to grab a spot in the Minooka baseball team’s pitching rotation as a senior, and he has run with it.

After pitching 111⁄3 innings in eight appearances as a junior with a 4.32 ERA, Malone burst onto the scene during Minooka’s summer season in 2013. His 4-1 record and 0.72 ERA helped Minooka advance to the Phil Lawler Summer Classic.

This spring, Malone is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a 24-12 strikeout-walk ratio for the Indians. He recently committed to play baseball at Augustana College. After pitching a complete game in a win over Oswego East on Wednesday, Malone spoke to the Morris Daily Herald.

Johnson: I know you’re going to Augustana. How did the process of you choosing them come about?

Malone: Well, I mean, I started talking to them over the spring, and I went on a few visits to some other schools, but when I got there, like I just had the feeling that that was the one. I mean, I love the coaching staff, the facilities and the location, so it was an easy choice.

Johnson: I know they’ve got a program known for winning there. As someone coming from the Minooka baseball program, for which the same thing is certainly true, was that a big factor in your decision?

Malone: Yeah, definitely. I definitely wanted to go somewhere where I would have a chance to win. I mean, winning’s fun, and coming from Minooka, that’s basically what I’ve been doing.

Johnson: Are you, today, ready to jump into a college rotation and have success? If not, what needs to improve?

Malone: I mean, I think I’m ready. I hope so. I hope that’s what the coaches think. I mean, I could always get better, all three of my pitches, and now I’m continuing to work hard so that I can jump right into the rotation.

Johnson: What pitches do you throw? What’s your best pitch, and which need work, if any?

Malone: I throw a fastball, change-up and a curveball. I’d say my curveball is probably my best pitch when that’s on, but I’ve improved my change-up a lot over the offseason. I’m using that a lot more now. If I had to work on one, I’d probably try to put in a new pitch, maybe like a cutter or slider, but that’s all.

Johnson: I know it was a big summer for you and for the team. Some might say that summer doesn’t really count, but at the same time, was that pretty cool?

Malone: I mean, it was a big thing for us. It was our first time going to the summer state tournament, so we’re just looking to build on it. I mean, summer’s nothing, we’re going to try to make a run this year, so hopefully that’s an indication.

Johnson: Were you always a pitcher?

Malone: Yeah, since freshman year, I’ve been a pitcher.

Johnson: Did you ever play anywhere else or have a lot of success at another position?

Malone: Way back when, like eighth grade, I played middle infield, but then when I got to freshman year, there happens to be a great player called Neal Tyrell, and I love pitching, so I took that with strides, and that’s what I’ve done ever since and I love it.

Johnson: I know you’ve had a lot of success in the classroom, too. How do you balance academic life with the baseball team, and do you expect that to be a bigger challenge in college?

Malone: Well, I mean, any athlete would say it’s all about managing your time, I would say. When you’re playing a sport, you have to manage your time really well with your homework, and I feel like I can transfer that into college. I mean, it’s definitely going to be a lot tougher, a lot more studying, but it shouldn’t be that bad.

Loading more