Fighting through adversity to begin the year, Hart pitcher Bryce Collins never doubted his ability or the fact that he would return to the field for the 2017-18 baseball season.
Contracting the flu and mono, the recent Hart graduate had to sit out the beginning of the season, but never stopped trying to perfect his craft.
“You know, I just worked day in and day out,” Collins said. “I knew that I had to give everything I had to be able to produce like I know I can. I had a great coaching staff and teammates, and everybody bought it. The effort that I put into getting back, really showed throughout the year.”
Posting a .98 ERA, Collins had the lowest average among his Hart teammates and in the Foothill League, culminating in The Signal 2017-18 Male Athlete of the Year award.
“It feels incredible. It’s a huge honor,” Collins said.
Collins relied on his intuition and the defense behind him throughout his senior campaign with the Indians.
“Just get ahead early and attack early,” Collins said. “I knew that command-wise, I wasn’t really where I wanted to be because I sat out the beginning of the season. But my defense backed me up with those ground balls and fly balls and I owe a lot to them.”
Making 11 appearances on the season, Collins managed to finish second on the Hart team with six wins and only two losses on the year for a .750 win percentage.
“My goal was just to get out on the field as quick as possible. I wanted to throw and help in any way that I could,” Collins said.
The University of Arizona commit pitched three complete games, all of which were shutouts, and one no-hitter during his senior season. Collins upped his win total in the three years he played at the varsity level.
“I would say either winning league or throwing the no-hitter,” Collins said of the best part of the season. “Winning league was everything we wanted and worked for. The no-hitter was something that I wanted my whole life and sharing that with my teammates will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
Getting drafted in the 39th round of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins, Collins took some time to think about the move and opted to head off to Arizona to continue his education and improve his draft stock.
“I’m definitely trying to improve,” Collins said. “Getting sick in the beginning of the year, I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be, plus there is no better place to be than here in Arizona. I want to mature, grow, win and hopefully, be back in three years.”
With room to improve, Collins is confident that the time spent at Hart has molded him into a player that will play up to the moment and show his peers just how tough winning a Foothill League title really is.
“Hart baseball has definitely prepared me to play against an elite level of competition,” Collins said. “To come in and face these guys who are first-rounders, that is unmatchable.
“There’s no place like Hart.”
Inside the Ballot Box
||Canyon cross country/track & field
||Hart boys basketball
||Valencia track & field
Key: First place: 5 points, Second place: 3 points, Third place 1 point
Past Male Athletes of the Year
2016-17 — Tanner Olson (Saugus)
2015-16 — Ryan Tate (Saugus)
2014-15 — Kyle Ensing (Valencia)
2013-14 — Davis Koppenhaver (Hart)
2012-13 — Drew Wolitarsky (Canyon)
2011-12 — Tim White (Hart)
2010-11 — Steven Manfro (Valencia)
2009-10 — Alex Bishop (Valencia)
2008-09 — Desi Rodriguez (Saugus)
2007-08 — Johnny MacArthur (Hart)
2006-07 — J.J. DiLuigi (Canyon)
2005-06 — Teddy Goetz (Valencia)
2004-05 — Ryan Wolfe (Hart)
2003-04 — Orlando Peña (SCCS)