If you were to look up “athlete” in the dictionary, you’d probably see Brett Pitts’ name.
The rising Benjamin Russell senior is the defending Outlook Defensive Player of the Year and now he’s adding another major honor to his resume.
After a well-rounded season offensively, defensively and on the mound, Pitts is the 2019 Outlook Baseball Player of the Year.
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“Brett is a guy who can play in a lot of different places,” BRHS coach Richy Brooks said. “He caught his freshman year while Wilson (Hays) was recovering from surgery. Then he moved to short stop during his sophomore year. So he can catch, play short stop; he can pitch and played third base.”
Plus, he’s a pretty incredible hitter. Most recently, Pitts was named the South MVP at the AHSAA North-South All-Star game which pits the best rising seniors in the state against one another. But prior to that, he hit lights out for the Wildcats this year.
Especially at the beginning of the year, Pitts seemed unstoppable at the plate. At one point during the season, he was batting nearly .500 and although he hit a bit of a slump toward the end of the season and into the playoffs, Pitts still finished with a .385 batting average. His on-base percentage was just above .607 and his slugging percentage was .632.
“For the first three quarters of the year, he was as good a hitter as we had,” Brooks said. “He was who we relied on. He had a tough skid in April and maybe balls just weren’t dropping for him, but it was hard to keep up the pace he had.”
Pitts led the team in hits (45), doubles (17) and home runs (4). He also tied for first with 28 RBIs and was runner up for most runs scored with 28, behind only leadoff hitter Nick McGhee.
But that isn’t where Pitts’ eye-popping stats stop.
After an error-filled sophomore season during which Pitts played with a nagging injury, he along with the rest of the Wildcats shored up their defense. Appearing at short stop, third base and second base, Pitts finished the season with a .887 fielding percentage and nearly cut his errors in half from the year prior.
“He played short stop and the year before he had a very tough year throwing,” Brooks said. “But he played through an injury, and this year, he was a much better defender for us. Our team as a whole cut our errors probably in half and that’s why we were successful. We pitched and we played defense, and Brett did his part because more balls get hit to short stop than anywhere else.”
Pitts also contributed on the mound for a very successful Benjamin Russell pitching staff.
As a staff, the Wildcats with a staggering low team ERA of just 2.145 and Pitts had the lowest on the team of anyone who pitched more than 10 innings. Pitts gave up just nine earned runs (18 total) in 43 1/3 innings of work for an ERA of only 1.454.
He also averaged more than a strikeout per inning with 52 on the season and gave up only eight walks. In 12 appearances, Pitts finished with a 6-1 record with one save.
“We’re hoping that he can pitch a lot more this year and hopefully he will do well,” Brooks said. “He’s got a really good breaking ball. His breaking ball is really tough; it’s as good as any in high school. It’s a tight-spinning, harder-power breaking ball. He throws it well and he throws it for strikes.”
With Pitts being a jack of all trades, Brooks’ biggest decision will be where he’ll put his star player next season. Hays is graduating, and that means Benjamin Russell will be in need of a stud catcher. Pitts is the best the Wildcats have, but Brooks would ideally like to see Pitts back in the infield where he can do even more damage.
“With him being a four-year starter (next year), I’m expecting him to put up similar numbers that he’s put up throughout his career,” Brooks said. “We’re going to have to decide where to put him, but that’s totally dependent on what role other kids can fill.”
This will be an important year for Pitts as it’s his last before playing college ball. While he’s gotten some interest, Brooks expects that interest to grow even more next season.