By Rob Kiser
Maybe the only thing that gets Michael Anderson more excited than the game of baseball, is finding the perfect team to play for.
And the son of Shawn and Deana Anderson knew he had found it when he set foot on the Ohio Christian University campus in Circleville. Anderson recently signed his letter of intent to play baseball there.
“I knew as soon as I stepped on campus,” Anderson said. “It just felt like me. Everything there just felt like me and what I wanted.”
That included OCU coach Grant Reynolds — a former ninth-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics.
“I really liked the coach (Grant Reynolds) and the things he said just made sense to me,” Anderson said. “I understood exactly what he was saying. He came over from Australia and played in the minor leagues for three years. It is important for me to get an education and I want to play ball while I am doing it.”
Anderson has always loved the game of baseball and he is not ready to give up on his dream.
“I learn something every time I step on the diamond,” Anderson said. “I have no doubt my best baseball is in front of me. I am so excited about this opportunity. I want to play baseball beyond this (college). I definitely want to play in the minor leagues someday.”
Nobody knows that better than Piqua baseball coach Jared Askins.
“From the time Michael (Anderson) has talked about playing college baseball,” Askins said. “If you wanted to use a basketball term, Michael is the baseball version of a gym rat. He eats, sleeps and drinks baseball. Michael is the kind of kid who would be happy talking baseball, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and he would never run out of things to talk about. He just has a passion for the game.”
Anderson was a three-year starter for Piqua, who progressed with each season.
This past season he earned second-team All-GWOC North honors.
Batting in the third spot, he hit .333, with two doubles and 13 RBIs.
On the mound, Anderson shined in his first extended high school opportunity to pitch.
He finished 5-3 with a .258 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 43 and one-third innings and had a .925 fielding percentage at third base.
Anderson finished the season with his two most impressive outings, 14 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball.
He pitched a three-hit shutout against Troy in an upset of the Trojans and followed it with a three-hit shutout of Sidney in the Division I sectional tournament.
“That did give me a lot of confidence,” Anderson said. “And that has carried over to my summer team, the Miami Valley Wolverines. I am not going to blow the ball by anybody. It is all about the defense. I get outs with groundouts and fly outs and my defense has played great.”
That pitching helped create this opportunity as a pitcher for the Trailblazers.
“Coach Reynolds is looking at me as a pitcher,” Anderson said. “I want to be a two-way player. I want to earn time at third base and play some there as well. I know Ohio Christian’s going to play incredible defense behind me.”
Askins said the program is perfect for Anderson.
“I think with where Michael’s game is, it really is (a perfect fit),” Askins said. “I know he is excited about this opportunity and I couldn’t be happier for him. He is the kind of kid who is going to go in there and work hard. If he just does some pitching at first and has to wait for a year before he gets to play third or another spot, Michael (Anderson) will be perfectly happy with that. He just has a passion for the game.”
Anderson can hardly wait to get there.
“I am just so excited to play for coach Reynolds and see what is going to do for me,” Anderson said. “I can’t wait to get on campus and start playing for them (Ohio Christian) and see what my future holds.”
Which is something to get excited about.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.