Chipley, FL--We start with college baseball and a visit with Chipley alum, and Florida Gators freshman sensation Karsten Whitson. Whitson coming off a outstanding season at Florida, earning freshman All America honors, and helping the Gators make it all the way to the College World Series final. Upon his return back home, we spoke with Whitson about one whirlwind kind of year!
Freshman All American
"Yeah it was a great experience, something that I will never forget. And it was my first year so it was a lot of ups and downs, I was able to learn a lot of things. You know it will be things that I will be able to take into my sophomore year."
Karsten talks about ups and downs, frankly there were a lot more "ups" in his rookie campaign. 19 starts, an 8-1 record with a 2.40 earned run average, and 92 k's in 97 innings. Great numbers in any league, but fantastic for a freshman in the SEC.
"It was tough. It was great competition every weekend, a different challenge. The Fall really helped me out, to get acclimated to the type of hitters, the way that I was going to have to pitch in order to be successful. And our coaching staff really helped me out a lot, coach O'Sullivan, he really helped keep me on the right track in the Fall."
(natsot) oh-2 pitch, swing and a miss
"For the season I just tried to go out there and kind of have just one or two things in my mind when I was pitching. Try to keep my team in every game that I pitched, and try to keep my pitch count as low as possible."
For those of us back home watching Whitson from week to week, well it was easy to see how careful coach Kevin O'Sullivan was with Karsten, keeping him on strict pitch counts, usually between 70 to 80 a start.
"A thing that he's done really well in the past, not only with myself but for his other young pitchers, he's really not gonna over use a lot of guys which, we had a really deep bullpen this year as well. We had four or five guys drafted in the top 15 rounds of the draft. I think we just, it was good to have that depth because I knew, going out there, I was not asked to go 8 or 9 innings every time."
Coming up at ten we'll let you hear more from Whitson, what was like pitching in Omaha, and does he still think about giving up two million plus to pitch for the Gators???