Patrick Morrissey had a transformative offseason.
After a solid junior season on the mound for Morton, Morrissey altered his body and his hitting mechanics to become a multi-dimensional threat for the Mustangs.
By his accounts, Morrissey was known mainly for his pitching exploits — until last summer.
“Last year, I didn’t hit that well and was a way better pitcher,” he said. “I felt my hitting mechanics were off. I kept hitting ground balls and wasn’t getting enough elevation.”
Everything changed when Morrissey decided to shed some weight, get stronger and change his approach at the plate. His future changed, too.
During the offseason, Morrissey switched travel teams and started noticing improvement in his swing last summer that has continued into this season. He’s batting .430 with eight RBIs and 12 runs scored in the first 12 games. Morrissey, a first baseman and outfielder, also has seven extra-base hits, and is still a mainstay in the rotation.
Meanwhile, senior Jaime Sandoval has seven hits and driven in four runs and junior Osvaldo Peiando has nine hits and scored seven runs for the Mustangs.
Morrissey said he lost 17 pounds to put his current frame at 5-foot-11 and 218 pounds. But he credits his new-and-improved swing as the biggest reason for his early-season success.
“I starting hitting better in summer ball and feeling better at the plate,” he said. “I put a lot of time into my body and batting every day. I was long tossing, hitting in the cage and working with my travel team.
“But I feel I’m barreling the ball better. Before I wasn’t getting enough whip in my bat.
When I’m in the box, I’m now able to calm myself down and it’s more slow motion. I see the ball a lot better.”
Led by Morrissey, the Mustangs (4-8) have been more competitive than in past years. The Mustangs haven’t won more than eight games in a season since finishing 12-23 in 2015.
“Patrick’s pretty much been our leader in terms of performance,” Morton coach Mike Casey said. “He plays great in the outfield, fills in at first base when needed and a lefty starter for us.
“This year his hitting is so much better. Before he was known as a pitcher, but he really bought in during the offseason. He’s having a really good senior season.”
Morrissey (2-0) said he’s added velocity to his fastball which enhanced his off-speed pitches. His strong hitting has attracted the attention of college scouts.
“Before I didn’t have offers, but now that I’m hitting better, colleges are talking to me,” he said. “I’m going to play in college, just a matter of where. Coach Casey had a huge impact on my swing. He’s also given me a lot of advice on hitting in the offseason. His advice about being aggressive early has helped me a ton this season.”