Tuesday, he added to his dominant spring on the mound, which, in Lakes Eight Conference action, has already seen him throw a no-hitter against Ludington on April 15 and a complete game shutout against Tri-County on May 3. Tuesday, he put down 10 Trojans with strikeouts, allowed just one walk and three hits in a 5-2 victory.
“That’s just a testament to Nick,” Spring Lake coach Brian Sabo said. “He just shows a lot of poise on the mound. Fortunately, he hasn’t faced a lot of adversity out there this season.”
With his victory, Keller improved his season record to 5-0, and lowered his earned run average, which was 0.7 entering Tuesday.
Even more impressive, he’s struck out 57 batters in 37 innings.
Spring Lake now holds a one-game lead over Fruitport in the Lakes Eight after the nightcap was called due to darkness with the teams tied at 8.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Keller said. “Usually, anything under (a pitch count) of 120 and my arm is good. Fruitport’s one of the tougher teams out there. They’ve been knocking people around, and it’s really nice we came out on top. If we take both of these, we can control our own destiny.
“When I’m out there, I just try to throw strikes. If a pitcher can do that, more than likely, he’s going to be successful, but if he can’t, he’s going to get knocked around. I knew I could always come in and do that.”
That wasn’t always the case, as control was one area that Keller struggled to grasp as a junior a year ago. It took some fine-tuning from his summer league baseball coach, Ed Herrera of the Grand Rapids Flames, before Keller no longer had to worry about walks being a consistent burden.
“He watched me and said I just need to keep my shoulder down,” Keller said. “It was coming up on my release and it messed up my control. After that, I was consistently throwing good, low strikes.”
After his senior season concludes with what Keller hopes is a long stay in the postseason, his stint with the Flames will include contests around Michigan and a even a trip to Tennessee for a tournament. Keller hopes to catch the eye of a college scout during those contests, enabling him to continue his baseball career.
“I’ve been looking at a few community colleges,” he said. “It would be a blast to play a couple years at a community college and then maybe move a step higher.”