In Their Own Words: A Conversation with Under Armour All-American Riley Pint
The collection of the nation’s top high school baseball athletes will converge on Wrigley Field in Chicago on August 15th for the Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory.
Now in its eighth year, the game is the definitive gathering of baseball’s elite. It is the launching ground for athletes to be noticed, highlighted by a formal workout for Major League Baseball (MLB) scouts and a home run derby, all while under the tutelage of some of the game’s best players and coaches.
Today we highlight one of the players who will participate in the All-America Game, right-handed pitcher, Riley Pint.
The junior from Lenexa, Kansas pitched well for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 2014 as a sophomore, helping to lead his team to the 5A State Championship, going 8-0 with a 2.58 ERA and 59 Ks in just 57 innings. This season, he led the Saints back to the 5A regionals, going 5-2 with a 2.20 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 35 innings and named a Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Kansas in 2014-15.
Pint is also quite charitable with his time, according to USA Today, he has volunteered on behalf of the Kansas City Rescue Mission, aimed to be a peer mentor and helped to establish a non-profit organization with his sister called “Our Birthday Club” where they donate gifts to charity as a substitute for their own birthday gifts.
He has verbally committed to LSU and will join a talented pitching staff in Baton Rouge after his senior season of high school in 2016.
Pint recently shared his insights in a conversation with Baseball Factory as he prepares to showcase his talents in the Windy City.
Baseball Factory: Describe what the thrill is like to be able to play at Wrigley Field on Aug 15 in the All-America Game?
Riley Pint: Unbelievable. Its a great opportunity to face some of the best talent in the nation and play in the atmosphere at Wrigley Field will be something I am really looking forward to.
BF: How excited are you about going to LSU to pitch for the Tigers?
RP: I am really excited. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to go there. It will be a dream to pitch in front of 13,000 people every night. It’s a great opportunity and I’m ready for it.
BF: What’s your friendship like with Alex Lange (LSU’s talented freshman pitcher)?
RP: We text pretty regularly, asking each other how the season is going. When I was in the recruiting process, he texted me to come down and visit and I finally did. He’s such a good guy and a good pitcher and it will be fun to be his teammate.
BF: Who do you model your game after?
RP: Right now, a guy I really look at and study is New York Mets starter, Jacob DeGrom. He has a really good fastball, clean arm action and a good windup.
BF: What’s your favorite pitch to throw and why?
RP: I like throwing my four-seam fastball and trying to blow it by someone.
BF: What did you learn from your experience playing for Mac – N – Seitz? (KC-based travel team)
RP: It was probably the best experience of my life. Playing the last nine years or so, we were always out there to win. I learned so many things from Kevin Seitzer and Mike MacFarland (former Kansas City Royals players) and I have to give credit to that organization for giving us everything we needed with the facilities. They always put us in a great position to win tournaments.
BF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
RP: Go out there and have fun and don’t take anything too seriously. That’s what my parents always tell me.
BF: Major league hitter you would most want to strikeout right now and why?
RP: Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper – he’s one of my favorite players, it would just be crazy to strike him out.
BF: What are your goals once you get to LSU and begin playing for them?
RP: The top goal is to get in the starting rotation once I get there, but, the ultimate goal is when I leave to have a National Championship under my belt.
BF: LSU has had a great lineage of pitchers come through their system recently: Kevin Gausman, Aaron Nola. And now Lange. Do you feel you fit into that conversation as the next big thing?
RP: I hope I can be just as good as all of them. With Nola and Gausman, right when they left college, they went to the majors quick. If I try to model my game after that, they had pretty successful careers at LSU, maybe I can have just as good a career if not better than them.
BF: What is your relationship like with LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn?
RP: We have a really good relationship. Whenever I feel something isn’t going right, I’ll text him and he’ll give me words of encouragement and he’ll calm me down and tell me its just a game. It’s nothing too big to get upset about, he’s always there for me. This summer he’s been a really big help for me.
BF: What advice would you give to young pitchers as they start to learn how to pitch?
RP: I’d say, stick to your fastball and changeup. There’s really no reason to snap off a curveball until high school or later as you continue to develop. I throw a knucklecurve and don’t really mess too much with a curve. Also, play multiple sports if you can to get your mind off of baseball for a little while. Just have fun.