The high school baseball season is over, but Northwest Texans pitcher Dustin May is not resting in the off-season. This summer, the Keller Dirtbags take up much of May’s time. With the Texans poised to be a fairly young team next season, May’s experience over the summer can only make him an asset when he returns in the fall.
“This summer is the year when a lot of my kids are playing select ball and it will help us tremendously,” said Northwest head coach John Herrick. “Dustin came in and did a great job for me late in the year. He worked really hard to get on varsity this last year and he has a lot of potential.”
More playing time is what Herrick is hoping will help May, and his teammates, recognize that potential.
“I hope these kids are playing on really competitive ball clubs against tough competition and that they have good coaches,” he said. “I hope that my hitters are playing in at least 45 or 50 games and getting around 150 at bats against quality pitchers.”
May is also hoping to hone his offensive game over the summer.
“I am hoping to really work on my hitting this summer and work on getting some colleges to look at me,” he said. “I’m a solid pitcher, but I need to work on my hitting.”
Herrick knows that playing for the Dirtbags can bring the growth May is working toward, but also that the grueling summer schedule can be hard on young athletes.
“In the district we are going into, there are no slouches. In select ball, the guys learn situational baseball. They can’t simulate every situation, but I hope they get enough to learn from and know what to do later in different situations,” he said. “But I also hope the pitchers aren’t getting overthrown. Dustin is easily 6’4’ and I hope his ligaments and muscles are staying up to the grind he has to have as a pitcher.”
A versatile player, May has had to pull double duty as a pitcher and shortstop.
“We will look for Dustin mostly on the mound this year, but he will have to be a position player when he’s not pitching,” Herrick said. “Dustin is also a quiet leader. We are looking to him and a couple of other juniors to be counted on for the leadership next year.”
May likes playing both positions but prefers one to the other.
“I like pitching better,” he said. “I have more command when I’m on the mound and control the outcome more.”
The Dirtbags travel to tournaments throughout the summer, like this weekend’s road trip to Oklahoma. May knows his time on the team will return him to the Texans a better and stronger athlete.
“I want to make it to the playoffs next season,” he said. “I’m going to work on pulling my teammates up and being a leader. I’m playing a year up in my summer team and these players are all a little better and will help me evolve into a better baseball player.”