Mike Odenwaelder Continues Upward Climb with the Titans. Story by John Torsiello.
Goshen native Michael Odenwaelder is back at Fuessenich Park with the 2014 Torrington Titans after a sterling spring at Amherst College. John Torsiello has the story.
Former Wamogo High School three-sport star Mike Odenwaelder comes into his second full season with the Torrington Titans brimming with confidence.
And why not? He had the type of season young baseball players dream about at Amherst College this spring, earning All-New England Small College Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player honors--and honorable mention All-America--as a sophomore outfielder/pitcher.
Get this: The 6-6, 225-pound righty hit a lusty .400 in 39 games with 56 hits, six home runs, seven doubles, two triples, 31 RBI and 36 runs scored. As if his offensive output weren’t enough, he posted a 2-1 record with one save and a 1.74 earned run average in 20.2 innings of work on the mound. He struck out 21 batters and walked just five. The Lord Jeffs were 30-13 this spring and won two games in the NCAA Division III Regionals. His freshman season at Amherst he hit .331 with three homers, eight doubles, five triples, 23 RBI and 35 runs scored.
After getting a cup of coffee with the Titans following a prep year at the Canterbury School in New Milford, where he earned Al-New England honors, he played in 50 games with Torrington last summer, batting .258 with 48 hits, five homers, six doubles, two triples, 31 RBI and 26 runs scored. He is expected to be a big part of the team this year in the outfield and may see some time on the mound as well.
“I was really happy with the way things went this spring,” said Odenwaelder. “I’m really pleased being at Amherst and I’m doing well in the classroom.” He chose the Bay State school after first looking seriously at the UConn Avery Point in Groton.
“I got a call from the coach at Amherst and I couldn’t beat the academics there. I’m in a good place.”
Odenwaelder was one of the greatest all-around athletes the Berkshire League has ever seen while at Wamogo. He earned All-State honors in baseball, basketball, and soccer both his junior and seniors years. Ironically, it was basketball that was his first love.
“I went to Canterbury really to play basketball,” he said as he sat at Fuessenich Park Sunday morning prior to the Titans’ first workout of the 2014 season. “But I lost my coach (Dan Gallon, who died at the age of 35) at Canterbury and that kind of shook me up and got my interest off basketball.”
Well, it’s nice to have options and Odenwaelder, who has four sisters who starred in sports in high school and a younger brother in middle school ready to carry on the family sports tradition, turned to baseball entering college. He hasn’t regretted the decision.
“Baseball was always on the back burner in case basketball didn’t work out, and I played at Canterbury as a shortstop and pitcher. I’ve done well at the sport in college and I hope to play professionally someday.”
The pro scouts are certainly interested in him. He is a strong young man who hits for both power and average and is a solid outfielder. But his pitching has opened some eyes as well.
“I hit 93 miles an hour on the radar gun a few times and I generally throw in the low 90’s. I’ve had interest from the Pirates, Orioles and the Rays. I might work into the pitching staff with the Titans this summer, so we will see where that takes me.”
Odenwaelder, from Goshen, relies on a fastball, a cutter and a slider and is learning to throw a change-up to further broaden his pitching repertoire.
As a hitter, he sees himself as a guy who is counted on to provide pop and drive in runs, something that seems quite natural for such a big man, who says that he struggles to keep his weight on during the summer when the Titans play pretty much every day or night. He’s thrilled to be back with the Titans.
“It’s great to be playing close to home so that my parents (Mick and Kelli), the rest of my family and friends can come and watch me play.”
When he isn’t playing baseball for the Titans this summer he’ll occasionally help out his dad, who is a carpenter, and plans on working at baseball camps with former Torrington manager Gregg Hunt.
He says playing with the Titans has helped his game.
“Playing a little with them after my year at Canterbury gave me confidence that I could hit good pitching and last year gave me a lot more experience playing every day. I took what I learned from the Titans and my freshman year at Amherst and applied it this spring and had great results.”
Titan fans are hoping Odenwaelder continues his upward climb to the top echelon of the sport the next two months summer. It should be fun to watch.