Varsity Baseball | July 8, 2021

Lake Central grad Matt Litwicki matures at Indiana, develops 99 mph fastball ahead of MLB Draft

By: David P. Funk, nwitimes.com

Now’s a good time for Matt Litwicki.

The Indiana and Lake Central graduate admits he wasn’t ready before. After high school, he thought he was. Now he knows he’s prepared to be picked in the Major League Baseball draft next week.

“Looking back at it, I wasn’t ready off the field and I wasn’t ready on the field, for sure. I’m glad I took my four years at Indiana,” Litwicki said. “I was immature. At Indiana, I learned a lot about myself, about how to be a better teammate, about how to try to be a better leader. In high school, I was super immature. I kind of thought the world revolved around me. The more I was put into the baseball world, the more I found that the better teammate you are and the better you attempt to be a leader, the easier it gets to develop on the field. Coach (Justin) Parker and coach (Jeff) Mercer took my hard-headed self and made sure I was ready to be developed off the field as much as I was on the field.”

Litwicki worked out of the Hoosiers bullpen the last three seasons. He was the closer in 2021, tallying four saves and striking out 17 over 12 innings. He didn’t give up a run in his first eight appearances as he finished up his degree in sports management and marketing.

“I really don’t feel like a graduate. I feel like I should be getting ready for another season of Indiana baseball,” he said. “In five days, my name could get called. It’s weird.

Litwicki saw a jump in production from the previous two campaigns. It wasn’t a coincidence. He had Tommy John surgery and sat out the 2018 season. He said it took about 16 months to get over that hump physically and mentally. He hasn’t had any setbacks since.

COVID-19 took away most of his 2020 season. Litwicki is peaking at 99 mph with the fastball now, garnering attention from pro scouts. He’s consistently 93 to 95 but hasn’t worked out in front of MLB teams. He has talked to several, though.

“They like the competitiveness. They like the way I present myself on the mound,” he said. “It’s looking good right now.”

Litwicki spent some time with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen of the Midwest Collegiate League earlier this summer, just trying to get some innings in against competitive hitters. He’s currently working out in Bloomington.

The arm feels good in recent bullpen sessions, he said. No one’s raised the idea of moving out of the relief role, but Litwicki said he wouldn’t be opposed to starting if it meant making a team.

“I’m just trying to work on offspeed stuff, sharpen different aspects of my game,” Litwicki said. “My mentality fits more into the back half of games. I like to be thrown into the fire and let the juices flow a little bit. I like to let myself be myself on the mound.”

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