An effective high school pitcher isn’t always the same with a bat.
“Just like it’s difficult to play two sports in high school, it’s difficult to really excel in two spots in baseball,” Arlington Martin coach Curt Culbertson said. “When you find somebody you can, you just let them do it.”
At Arlington High, coach David Nix could count on pitcher/second baseman Omar Salinas, and the senior carried the team on the mound and at the plate, making him the Star-Telegram Super Team Player of the Year for 2014.
With a regular season batting average of .486 and a 6-4 record with a 1.49 ERA, Salinas finished in the top 10 in the area for both hitting and pitching categories as well as the District 3-5A MVP.
Salinas helped carry his team to a second-place finish in district.
Arlington’s second district meeting at defending 3-5A champion Martin stood out for Salinas and Nix.
Salinas pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and no walks in a 1-0 win April 1. Salinas struck out nine but needed 110 pitches to finish the game. While it was past the pitch count Nix would have preferred to have seen his pitcher throw, he said there was no way Salinas would allow him to take the ball.
“[The pitch count] was getting up, and he said he wanted the ball. And he pitched the shutout, and it was a big win at a critical moment for us,” Nix said.
Salinas also went 1 for 3 with the game’s lone RBI.
“It’s a rival game. I really wanted to beat them so bad,” Salinas said.
Hitting is and always has been Salinas’ first love, and he believes playing second base will be his future when he suits up for Hill College next year.
“I love pitching and everything, but I don’t see myself as a pitcher in the future. I more see myself as a hitter,” he said.
He can thank a lighter course load his senior year for his improved abilities that saw him hit over .400 his previous two years on varsity at the plate.
After ending his school day at noon, he spent the rest of his afternoons in the cages, fine-tuning a swing that wreaked havoc on North Texas opponents.
“I think that’s just the beginning for him,” Richland coach Chuck Wells said. “There’s nothing flashy about him. He’s not flamboyant about anything. He plays the game very calm and lets the game come to him.”
His talents were admired and recognized by coaches around the area, and they are fine with seeing him excel at the next level.
“I’m glad he’s graduating,” Culbertson said with a laugh.