The high school baseball season is a short one. Players don't want to miss a single pitch.
All-Transcript MVP Andrew Leitch is no different.
"It's about the love of the game," Leitch said. "I don't want to miss any time."
He watched from the dug out for only three innings this season. Whether it was hitting his spots from the mound, making plays at third base, or picking his pitch from the cleanup spot, Leitch was a force in the Mounties' lineup. The junior right-hander accumulated an 8-1 record on the mound with an earned run average of 1.46 in 54 innings this season. He was just as good as a lefty in the batter's box. Greylock's No. 4 hitter batted .354 and led his team with 26 runs batted in.
"He really had a great year," Greylock coach Steve Messina said. "He's a really tough kid. He's tough mentally. He's tough physically. Nothing can rattle the kid, and that's important in high school baseball."
No matter where he was on the field, the junior thrived when the opposition was turning up the pressure.
"You get in a lot of emotional and tough situations, and you need somebody
It's something the previous two seasons of varsity baseball taught him.
"It's just having the mentality and staying calm," Leitch said. "I didn't try to go in thinking this was my one big shot. It's just staying calm, and knowing there is always going to be a next time. And I knew the team was behind me. Even if you don't get it, someone is going to pick you up."
Leitch's ability to handle pressure, no matter where he was on the field, was a major reason the Mounties advanced to the Western Massachasuttes Division II semi-final game this season.
"The other kids feed off of that energy," Messina said. "They know when he's pitching, they're going to get a good solid performance from him. They know when runners got on base, he was going to bear down and make good plays. They're able to give a little bit extra knowing the pitching is out there giving everything he has and isn't going to fold under the pressure."
On the mound, he credits his defense with much of his success. He only struck out 35 batters this season, meaning he relied on his defense to assist him with the other 127 outs he recorded.
"I just trusted my defense behind me," he said. "Definitely the key to my success. I didn't have that many strikeouts and sometimes I'll make a mistake and have a really nice ball hit off of me. But I still have the defense to make a nice catch or a nice play.
"They always dig me out of holes, they were huge."
When Leitch was on the mound, the Mounties featured Andrew's brother, Eric, at third base, Billy Pulasky at second and Sean Houston in center field. All three were named to the All-Transcript team. He was also throwing pitches to All-Transcript catcher Nick DiSanti.
"I just had to throw strikes and hit spots," Leitch said. "They kind of did the rest."
When he wasn't on the mound, he played third base and Eric moved to shortstop. Eddie Dufur filled the gap at short when Andrew was toeing the rubber.
Even when he was on the mound, Leitch batted out of the fourth slot for the Mounties this season. It's a spot he was familiar with after spending his sophomore year there.
"I did take some experience from last season. I was in the cleanup spot all year and I was used to having teammates on base," Leitch said. "With less than two outs, my focus was to get the ball to the outfield and find a gap, to score some guys.
"A lot of times I didn't need to focus on getting an extra-base hit with guys on. Sean Houston and my brother, Eric, would always be there. I just needed to move them. Even the bottom of our order was on base. Everyone stepped up in key places this season."
The Mounties relied on great production from hitters one through nine this season.