(Article written by Eye On Cleveland founder John Kerezy)
BERLIN, MAY 12 — When a senior leader steps up, it bolsters the confidence of everyone on the team. Hiland knows it is in excellent hands every time that Derrick Troyer takes the mound.
Troyer has a 7-0 won-loss record for the Hawks so far this year and a microscopic 1.79 earned run average, lowest among the team’s starting pitchers. He is key reason why Hiland has won five contests in a row and 13 of its last 14 games.
When he’s not on the hill, Derrick is doing damage at the plate as well. He’s batting .279 and has eight RBIs along with nine runs scored.
“I’ve been playing organized baseball for 13 years, and I feel like I’m a part of a great program with Hiland,” Derrick says. “We have a terrific team, and my teammates motivate me to try hared and be the best that I can be.”
The righty has allowed only 37 hits and 11 earned runs in 43 innings of work so far in 2021. One of his best efforts came on April 20 at Canal Park Stadium against a talented Triway Trojans team. He went three innings, allowing no earned runs (one unearned) while striking out three and walking none. Hiland led 4-1 at the time Derrick left the game, and the Hawks eventually claimed a 7-6 triumph.
Another outstanding effort came on Monday (May 10) against neighboring Garaway. Derrick went a full seven innings for the Hawks and hurled a 1-0 shutout, allowing just four hits. He had a 0.71 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) mark in the victory over the Pirates.
Derrick is a control pitcher who prides himself on placing his fastball and curve where he wants it in the strike zone. He set a goal for himself to surrender five or fewer walks all season. So far he’s yielded only three intentional passes, while striking out 20 enemy batters.
Quick to credit his teammates for success, and catcher Isaiah Miller is at the top of the list. “When I pitch, Isaiah is amazing behind the plate,” Derrick says. “We are always on the same page.”
Derrick also praises teammates Richie Mast and Collin Lowe for challenging him to become the best he can be.
Hiland’s coaches praise Derrick’s work ethic. “Derrick strives hard, and that’s paying off with the success he is having on the mound this year,” Coach Chris Dages says. “We feel very good about our team’s chances to win every time he takes the mound.
“Derrick is extremely focused on doing everything right, and he puts maximum effort into his game,” Dages adds.
One of Derrick’s role models is former Cleveland Indians and current Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Trevor Bauer. “I love watching him pitch,” Derrick says. “He makes YouTube videos as well, and they help improve my approach on the mound.”
Derrick has great expectations for Hiland as it winds up the regular season and moves to Sectionals and beyond. “I believe we can win the Inter-Valley Conference, be very competitive in Division III and go all the say to the State Championship,” he says. “I hope to be a big part of that.”