MISSOULA, Mont. - The Washington State baseball program is off to good start so far this spring in Pullman with 16 wins to 11 losses and a conference record of 3-3 in the PAC-12.
Many western Montana baseball fans have been watching the Cougars closely; their roster has not only one but two local boys on the roster. Red-shirt freshman Ben Roberts of Missoula has two homers and nine RBI's on the season.
But the big story is true sophomore Joe Pistorese out of Kalispell, who may already be one of the top aces in the entire conference.
Back in high school Pistorese was as good of a baseball player as you'll find in Montana. He was a great defensive player and a great hitter, but more importantly an amazing pitcher. Not only did Joe throw a perfect game for Kalispell but he was known to strike out as many as 19 or 20 batters more than once in his Lakers career. Just less than two years ago, Pistorese was picked in the 44th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the White Sox. However, Pistorese turned down that offer to go straight to professional baseball and decided to attend Washington State.
"It was a great honor to be drafted last year," said Pistorese. "But I'm glad I made that decision just because there's a lot of work to be done. I don't think I was physically ready, it would have been a big jump for me and I think college is that kind of inbetween that helps get you there."
As glad as Pistorese is about going to Washington State, the Cougar baseball program is probably the most excited about that decision. Just look at the numbers that the Kalispell native has put up so far in his sophomore season. In 47 and two thirds innings of work he has an ERA (earned run average) of only 2.08. That's by far the best of anyone on the team who has thrown more than 20 innings this season. He's also tied for the team high in wins with three victories so far on the mound this year, and he's recorded a team-best 29 strikeouts. Listed at 6-foot-2 and just under 180 pounds, Pistorese definitely isn't the biggest guy you'll find in the PAC-12. But the Kalispell native says pitching with the body he's been given and not trying to overstress anything else has been a major key to his success.
"I guess the major thing I try to do is not compare myself to other athletes. I've been pitching the way that I have for my whole life with the body I have, so just going into the weight room, whatever you're doing, with a good head on your shoulders just thinking you have to do your own work and don't compare yourself to other athletes because you can dominate with the body you were given," said Pistorese.
And Pistorese definitely has been dominating so far in his young career, he's one of the best young pitchers in the entire PAC-12 conference.
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