Apr. 11—Team's lone senior pitches, plays shortstop
When Owensboro's Ethan Gibson stepped on the field for the first time in the 2021 high school baseball season he found himself in a dramatically different role compared to the last time he had played for the Red Devils.
Two years ago, Gibson was a burgeoning sophomore on a roster filled with highly skilled, veteran players. When the COVID-19 pandemic knocked out KHSAA spring sports in 2020, no less than 10 OHS players were deprived of their senior seasons.
Fast forward to this spring and Gibson is the lone senior on a Red Devil team chock-full of talented, albeit extremely young and inexperienced players.
"I'm definitely in a different role now," said Gibson, a 6-foot-1, 168-pound pitcher-third baseman who has signed with NCAA Division II Southern Indiana. "I was one of the young guys two years ago, we didn't have a season last year, and now I'm the only senior — so, I'm in a completely different role this season.
"I just try to tell these young players not to worry about past mistakes, move on to the next pitch, and play your game — I want them to know that they don't need to try to do too much, they just need to go out every day and play their game. I want them to do what they do well, and that will help us win games."
Gibson is certainly playing his game well to start the 2021 season, batting .538 with a home run, eight RBIs, and only one strikeout hitting in the No. 3 hole through the team's first five games.
On the hill, he has a microscopic 0.78 earned run average, with 16 strikeouts and only three walks in nine innings of work.
"I just want to pound the zone with good (velocity), do the little things it takes to be an effective pitcher," said Gibson, whose repertoire includes a fastball, change-up, curveball and slider.
"I feel pretty good about the way I've started the season on the mound.
"At the plate, I'm swinging it pretty good here early on, and at shortstop I want to be consistent and be an example to the younger guys as to how to play the game."
Indeed, he is the Red Devils' on-field leader in more ways than one.
"Ethan's leadership on this team is unbelievable," Owensboro coach Logan Johnson said. "He knows what it takes to improve the individual battles during a baseball game and that is showing up on the field for him — now, he's able to pass that knowledge on to other players."
Gibson's affiliation with organized baseball goes way back.
"I probably started playing T-Ball at age 4 and my love for the game just took off from there," Gibson recalled. "I just fell in love with the game, was always around ballparks, and baseball just became a way of life for me.
"I love every single thing about baseball. My passion for the game is still there, definitely, and I'm sure that passion will always be there."