Mecke moving up at PSU-Berks
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Lackawanna Trail graduate Mason Mecke is moving his way up the depth chart on the Penn State Berks baseball team.
Mecke, 19, of Nicholson, appeared in just nine games last season at third base, but after getting a shot at pitching in a fall ball game for the Lions, Mecke is now looking to make an impact as a starting pitcher.
“During a fall scrimmage coach asked me to pitch,” Mecke said. “I came in and struck out three straight batters.”
From there, Mecke has been crafting his pitching skills and will look to be the fourth starter on the team.
“I have some pitching experience,” Mecke said. “I pitch for my summer league team.”
Currently the Berks team has seven pitchers vying for spots in the starting rotation, but Mecke is the front-runner for the fourth spot.
“All seven pitchers will get to start this year,” Mecke said. “But the top four will pitch in league games, and the other three will pitch in non-league games.”
In addition to pitching, Mecke will also be the Lions starting third baseman or designated hitter on days when he’s not on the mound.
Mecke said he will rely on his three main pitches to bring him success on the mound.
“I have four pitches, but I mainly use my fastball, curveball and knuckleball,” Mecke said. “I also have a changeup, but I don’t go to that as much.”
After Mecke finished up some fall scrimmages with his team he spent the winter months doing a workout regimen and practicing his swing.
In addition to crafting his pitching skills, Mecke will look to build on his .231 average from last year.
“In my senior year (2011) of high school I batted .520,” Mecke said. “I know college is a different ballgame, but I’d like to get my average somewhere around .300.”
Last year, the Lions won the North Eastern Athletic Conference Western Divisional Tournament, but fell to Castleton State College in the NEAC Championship.
This season, Mecke thinks the team has a good shot of making it back to the championship and going even further.
“We hope to get back to the same spot we were last season,” Mecke said. “We’ve brought in some guys that are really good. I think we should do just as good, if not better than last year.”
While Mecke is enjoying playing for Penn State Berks, it wasn’t an easy road to get where he is.
“I went to Kutztown in the first semester of my freshman year to try and walk on to their team,” Mecke said. “I ended up missing the team by one spot.”
Mecke wasn’t sure he would be able to continue playing ball until Kutztown’s coach Chris Blum suggested he try out for Penn State Berks.
“He said they were looking for players,” Mecke said. “So I ended up having a tryout and I made the team.”
Ultimately, Mecke hopes to put in four solid years with the Penn State Berks team and move on to a semi-professional wood bat league.
In the meantime, Mecke will continue to put in a solid effort for Berks while studying electrical engineering.
The team is currently on the road in Myrtle Beach, S.C., but will return for its home opener on Tuesday, Mar. 12, against Gwynedd-Mercy College at 4 p.m.