BY STEVE KRAH
Mychal Witty tries to set a good example — on and off the baseball field.
As a left-handed pitcher at the University of Indianapolis, he has gotten the attention of teammates with his willingness to work — with running, weight lifting and generally staying fit.
“They listen to the things that I say probably because of all the time that I’ve put in,” says Witty of his leadership role. “It reciprocates to them.”
Witty is a 5-foot-10, 153-pound redshirt senior with one year of eligibility remaining for the NCAA Division II Greyhounds.
Witty transferred to UIndy and threw 8 2/3 innings in 2018 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, underwent Tommy John reconstruction surgery that summer and missed the 2019 season.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the 2020 season, Witty appeared in four games and went 3-0 with a 1.57 earned run average. In 23 innings, he struck out 20 and walked four.
Coming in the second inning, Witty pitched no-decision six innings in his final trip to the mound March 8 against Truman State in Kirksville, Mo.
“We did an opener this year (a reliever pitching the first inning),” says Witty. “It gives the starter the chance to be in the game at the end.”
“It’s a blast (playing for Greyhounds head coach Al Ready). He really wants to change it up.”
Away from the diamond, Witty has achieved a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and will be working toward his masters in Applied Sociology when school resumes in the fall. He has been taking 4-plus-1 graduate courses since he began attending UIndy.
“Coming from the east side of Indianapolis I endured a lot,” says Witty. “I want to be able to help troubled youth and maybe turn around a couple lives — if not all of them.
“I want to work with kids and make sure they’re learning.”
Witty attended Warren Central High School and played for two years (freshmen and split his sophomore year between junior varsity and varsity) and spent his last two on varsity at Lawrence North, where he played for Wildcats head coach Richard Winzenread.
His introduction to organized baseball came at 4 in the Warren Little League.
Witty then played travel ball for the Indy Bats for a couple summers, took a few summers off and played in the Bob Haney-led Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Indianapolis program before coming back to the Adam Robertson-coached Indy Bats at 18U.
By then, Witty had already committed to Lincoln Trail, where Kevin Bowers is head coach.
“My favorite part about junior college was that there was a lot of guys from a lot of different places and you’ve got to learn how to be one unit,” says Witty. “It was a small town. You make fun with guys that you’ve got.”
Junior college baseball is about development and players are given the time to hone their skills.
“We’d get out of class anywhere from 12 to 1 and you’d be outside for the rest of the day until the sun went down,” says Witty of his time with LTC Statesmen.
Witty throws a fastball, slider, curveball and a change-up from a three-quarter overhand arm slot.
“I spin my fastball pretty well so it runs a little bit,” says Witty, who works with pitching coach Landon Hutchison at UIndy. “(My best pitch) is that or the slider.”
Myc (pronounced Mike) is the son of Michael Witty and Stacy Landers.
The pitcher has three younger siblings — sister Neicy Persinger and brothers Mayson Smith and Merrick Smith.
Currently with the Screwballs in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., Witty is enjoying his first summer collegiate baseball experience.
“There’s a lot of good guys just trying to get their work in,” says Witty. “I’ve only had (four) outings since March.”
Since UIndy played its last game on March 11, Witty has been throwing and trying to keep his arm in shape with band work.
Class work was finished exclusively online.
“It was a struggle to say the least,” says Witty. “There’s no face-to-face interaction. There’s a lot of quiet time.
“I feel for everyone who has a tough major. Mine is a lot of writing and making sure that you answer questions. I didn’t have to do a whole bunch of extra studying per se.”