CHEYENNE – Like all pitchers, Bradley Feezer tries to keep his mind in the right spot while he’s on the mound.
A wandering mind could be detrimental for a pitcher, so the ace for Cheyenne American Legion Post 6 has established a thought process that helps him remain in tune.
And it’s been nothing short of effective.
“I have a saying and that’s just to never lose, and that’s with every pitch,” the right-hander said. “Every pitch I remind myself, just don’t lose. If it’s a 3-2 count, don’t lose. It gets that mental block out of the way to come out and break a barrier to have some success.”
Feezer’s success has been an integral part of the Sixers’ strong season. The 6-foot-6 sophomore has a 12-2 record on the year with a 0.827 earned-run average. He also has 134 strikeouts to just 26 walks in 84-2/3 innings of work.
On top of the dominance on the bump, Feezer has amped up the velocity of his pitches.
The increase in speed can be credited to an adjustment in his release and extension he made about a month ago. He worked on the new release for about three hours the day before he started in a Class AA East Conference matchup with Gillette.
There was an immediate difference in Feezer’s pitches compared to before the adjustment – he clocked 90 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“I locked in that release, it’s more of a three-fourths release and before, I was more over the top,” he said. “It helped me raise my (velocity), there’s been more movement on my fastball, it’s gotten faster, and it just worked out the best way it possibly could.”
Now, just three starts following the change, whoever is clocking Feezer’s pitches is seeing a lot more 90s on the gun. He said that in his most recent start July 17, he was hitting that speed often.
That was the biggest point of emphasis for Feezer and his coaches. After his start against Gillette, Sixers manager Ty Lain emphasized on finding that extra speed in Feezer’s pitches and how it could set him apart from others.
“The biggest thing is trying to find that extra 3 or 4 miles per hour and wherever that is, that could really catapult him into the next tier, next level of prospect as a player in high school,” Lain said. “And he’s worked his butt off and done a lot of different things to try and get there.
“He’s put some work into that and he has a really bright future, there’s a lot of people interested in him playing in college for them.”
With a handful of Power 5 programs keeping tabs on Feezer – University of Nebraska, University of Utah, Texas Tech University, University of Missouri, and the reigning College World Series champions in Mississippi State University – it’s safe to say that he’s already separated himself from the pack. But that added velocity they were searching for will allow him to do so even more.
And he still has more time to improve.
But for now, Feezer is focused on the task at hand: securing a 29th state title for Post 6. The top-seeded Sixers open the Wyoming AA state tournament against Rock Springs at 4 p.m. Monday in Laramie.
Feezer said the Sixers know that they might hit a rough patch or two throughout the state tournament, but they’ve had their fair share of struggles over the season that have prepared them to go on a run.
“Everybody’s been put in a spot where they’ve had to come through big and it brings out true colors,” he said. “Because we’ve played a lot of tough games and it’s exposed us and it sucks to lose, but gives us something to work on.”
Post 6 enters the tournament with a record of 63-17-1, the pitching depth the Sixers have behind Feezer is a huge reason for that feat. However, it’s rare for the Sixers to take a loss when Feezer is mowing down batters.
“It’s always a blessing when Feezer’s on the mound,” Sixers junior Dominic Lopez said. “It’s most likely going to be a win, we believe in him that much because we know what he is.”