Baseball: Hilliard Darby Panthers getting boost from Andrew Patrick’s pitching

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Darby senior Andrew Patrick, a Wright State commit, has been a key performer for the Panthers this season. Through 13 games, he was 3-0 and had a 2.39 ERA with 28 strikeouts and nine walks in 26 1/3 innings.

In his freshman year, Hilliard Darby baseball player Andrew Patrick could sense his potential and his dream of playing at the collegiate level. 

Patrick, a senior pitcher and infielder, has reached those aspirations as he is again a key contributor on the Panthers pitching staff and has committed to play at Division I Wright State. 

“Freshman year I was starting to get in the weight room and get that mental part of the game,” Patrick said. “That’s when I realized I could really do this and go (Division I in college). … It takes a burden off your back (to commit). You can play free and do anything you can to help the team.” 

Patrick helped the freshman/junior varsity B team finish 25-1 and saw some time on varsity in his freshman year. He joined the varsity full time as a sophomore and helped Darby advance to the Division I state tournament, where it lost 4-3 in 13 innings to Cleveland St. Ignatius in a semifinal to finish 24-8. 

As a sophomore, Patrick hit .395 with 19 RBI, four triples, 23 runs and 23 stolen bases and was 6-0 with one save and a 1.62 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings. He was named first-team all-district and second-team all-league. 

“Andrew is an elite athlete and we’ll go how he goes,” coach Mike Weer said. “He’s playing well and he gives us a chance to compete. Sometimes he feels a little bit of the pressure. If he just goes and plays his game, he’s fine.” 

Darby was 8-6 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Olentangy on April 23.  The Panthers lost to the Braves 11-7 on April 22. 

“If we just compete and come ready to play every day, we can go pretty far,” Patrick said. 

The Panthers lost 6-5 to Olentangy Berlin on April 16, but avenged the league loss by beating the Bears 2-0 on April 19. 

Through 13 games, Patrick was 3-0 and had a 2.39 ERA with 28 strikeouts and nine walks in 26 1/3 innings. 

Max Mullen was 4-1 and had a 0.49 ERA with 24 strikeouts and nine walks in 28 2/3 innings. He went the distance in the win over Berlin, allowing four hits while striking out three and walking three. 

Patrick, who also plays shortstop and first base, was hitting .317 with a team-high 13 runs and three home runs. 

Mullen was batting .462, followed by Casey Maruniak (.429) and Cam Gilkerson (.412). Maruniak led in RBI with 14. 

Only a sophomore, Gilkerson also has committed to Wright State. 

“There’s potential (on this team),” Weer said. “We still have a lot growing and maturing as a varsity baseball team that we need to do. We’re still trying to figure out what are the right puzzle pieces to give us the best chance to compete on a game-to-game basis. It goes back to what we call Darby baseball — throwing strikes, making the routine plays, putting the ball in play and we’re not doing those things. 

“When we do those things, you give yourself a chance. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win the game, but we give ourselves a chance to compete and that’s all we’re trying to do.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank