By Dennis Garcia
The start of a new baseball season is exciting for everyone involved. But for Wittenberg’s Michael Osmond, the start of this new season is just a bit more special.
Osmond, who will be playing for the Asheboro Copperheads this coming summer, is chomping at the bit to start the new campaign after his first two years at the collegiate level were sidetracked by injuries and Covid-19. Now declaring himself totally healthy and deciding to focus solely on pitching, he said he is anxiously awaiting getting on the mound for the Tigers.
“I am jacked,” Osmond said about the upcoming season. “I am just pitching now and that is what is going to keep me feeling healthy. I’ve had my ups and downs. It’s just keeping a positive mindset with it. Missing time hasn’t been too much trouble. I deal with adversity well. Everything happens for a reason”
Upon arriving at Wittenberg, Osmond injured his knee while playing outfield and missed his freshman season.
He did play summer ball, but two weeks prior to the start of last season, he suffered a hamstring injury while running the bases. After rehab, he was set to finally begin his college career, but the season was halted by Covid-19.
“Physically, I’m as healthy as I can be. “I feel like I am in the best shape that I have been in. I’m excited and feeling 100 percent going into the season.”
At 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, the junior left-hander won a state championship while playing for Olentangy Liberty in Powell, Ohio in 2018.
In the summer of 2019, Osmond played for the Licking County Settlers of the Great Lakes Summer League, earning second-team all-league honors. He finished the summer with a 3-0 record and a 1.60 ERA. He struck out 34 in 30 ⅔ innings.
“I think I competed a lot in the Great Lakes League and proved myself,” Osmond said. “Kinda show everyone else that high school athletes from DIII can be as strong as those in DI.”
After a couple of years of fighting injuries, he’s now set to lead Wittenberg in the new season.
“I like adding guys to our roster who have had previous summer success,” Asheboro coach and General Manager Keith Ritsche said. “Michael is one of those kids having had a great summer in the Great Lakes League in 2019. His coach (Coach McGhee) had nothing but tremendous things to say about him in our phone conversations leading up to Michael signing with us. Having spoken with Michael, I could tell he is ready to help us compete for a league championship. He has good command of his pitches and it always is a bonus being a southpaw.”
Deciding to concentrate on just pitching should be a benefit, Osmond said.
“”There are times when I miss it, but with pitching, I feel better about my body,” said Osmond, who is also very much involved in school government. “I can specialize more.”
This past summer, he played in a Central Ohio-based collegiate league to prepare himself for the 2021 season.
“Division III is limited to the number of games they can play so kids like Michael usually don’t have inning limits in the summer months,” Ritsche said. “This will help our pitching depth throughout the entire summer.”
The start of every new baseball season is special. This one is just a little more special for Osmond.