NEWARK, Del. - To say that Devon Pearson is locked in would be an understatement.
Pearson, the former Indian Valley High School pitcher, is putting together a senior season for the record books at the University of Delaware.
Going into the week of April 16, Pearson had a 4-0 record with five saves. The Reedsville native, a lefty, has appeared in 16 games. He has pitched 35.2 innings and has given up seven runs, three earned. In those innings, Pearson has given up 13 walks and struck out 27.
Submitted photo by MARK CAMPBELL/UD ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT
Indian Valley graduate Devon Pearson pitches for the Delaware Blue Hens in a game against Fairfield University.?Pearson is 4-0 with five saves this year.
Pearson not only leads the Delaware staff in ERA with 0.76, but he was ranked in the top five in the country in NCAA Division I through April 14.
For most of his Delaware career he has been a reliever, but in high school and throughout most of his youth baseball career in Mifflin County, he was a starter.
The difference between his first three years and his senior season, Pearson noted, is that he is no longer battling injuries.
"The coaching staff saw that I was mentally ready for more intense action," Pearson said, "When I was battling injuries, I didn't have the stamina to go long distances, so they looked at me in short situations."
As a youth, Pearson had a great three year run in Babe Ruth as he was on a state championship team and a state runner-up. As a 15-year-old at Reedsville, Pearson won the league's batting title and was also was the league's MVP.
Pearson played one year for the Mifflin County American Legion team and was a four-year starter for the Warriors' junior varsity and varsity teams.
When asked what he thought was the difference between high school and college, Pearson said it was the time involved in the game.
"You can't take any days off when playing college baseball," Pearson said, "You have to think about baseball all the time. I watch more major league baseball now then I ever did when I was younger. I try to pick up tips and guess what pitch they will throw next. I'm having fun here, but it's more like a job than it was in high school."
What has made this spring so successful for Pearson?
"Being able to know what pitches to throw in certain situations has been the difference this year," Pearson noted, " In high school, I was just a thrower. I can now throw all my pitches for a strike at any given point in the count. I'm not afraid to throw an off-speed pitch at any point in the count including 0-2."
Coming into his senior year, Pearson had a 6-5 lifetime record in 44 games. He had started only four of those contests and had three saves, all in his sophomore year. He had pitched in 114.3 innings and walked 62 and struck out 92. His ERA was 4.57.
"It's great to have a one-two punch coming out of the bullpen," said Jim Sherman, the Delaware manager. "Stephen Richter is my right-hander, while Devon is the left-hander. Devon has been on top of his game and he has one of the lowest ERA's in the country."
"Obviously this (year) has been my biggest thrill so far here at Delaware," Pearson smiled, "Getting the team out of jams when coming into situations with the bases loaded or having two men on and getting the outs."
As for the team, Pearson said his biggest thrill came in the 2011 opener game against Arizona State when the Blue Hens upset the Sun Devils, who were ranked ninth in the nation at the time. Pearson did not play in that game, but he did pitch in that series, giving up just one run in four innings of work.
Pearson is just one of two players on the current Delaware roster to win three letters in his three years of eligibility.
Delaware is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.