Tyler Pittman’s senior year at Blue Springs South was the coming out party for one of the best hitters in the state in 2016.
He earned second-team all-state honors when he posted a .358 batting average with eight doubles, two triples, four home runs, 23 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. Since then, the now college junior hasn’t slowed down at the next level and will be playing at Pittsburg State because of it.
The hot-hitting Pittman will transfer from Kansas City Kansas Community College to play for the Gorillas next season, joining former South teammates Tyler Clark and Tyson Cushman.
He changed his commitment from Emporia State because head coach Bob Fornelli is moving from Emporia State to Pitt State.
He had offers from some other Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association schools and a few Division I mid-major programs, but ultimately he decided Pittsburg State was the best fit.
“I wanted to go somewhere that I could win right away,” Pittman said.
Fornelli will be getting a quality bat and speed on the basepaths in Pittman, who was one of the premier players for KCK. He had a .332 batting average with an .898 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage), four home runs, 23 RBIs and 16 stolen bases during his sophomore campaign.
“I thought my career there went really well,” Pittman said of KCK. “We played in a competitive conference. I loved my time there and loved my coaches.
“I think I got stronger and more confident at the plate (there). I am putting together better at-bats.”
It wasn’t easy though as Pittman had to get used to opposing teams having scouting reports on him. It was something that he wasn’t used to in high school.
“The pitchers have better breaking balls and they have a scouting report on you,” Pittman said. “They started to throw me more off-speed stuff, which I wasn’t used to. I eventually learned to hit those pitches.”
He’s doing just as well in his second year with the BJ Raiders in the Ban Johnson League this summer.
During the week of June 4, Pittman was named the Ban Johnson Player of the Week. He went 8-for-17 with eight runs, nine RBIs, two doubles, a triple, a home run and two stolen bases as his team went 6-1 in that span.
He currently leads the league with 22 RBIs and is tied for the lead in triples with three.
“He is aggressive at the plate and hits the ball hard every time he’s up,” Raiders manager Jake Bradshaw said. “He’s got good speed and is a good base stealer. He also doesn’t let many balls drop in center field. His swing is smooth and straight to the ball.”
After his season with the BJ Raiders is over, Pittman will be eager to join his former South teammates at Pittsburg State.
“I am super excited. It will be good to link back with those guys and play with them for two more years.” Pittman said. “I think coach Fornelli is going to get the right guys in there. It’s going to be a good conference to compete. I definitely want to earn a starting spot.”
Bradshaw has no doubt that Pittman will do just that.
“He’ll be the starting center fielder for them for sure, if not their leadoff hitter or 2-hole,” Bradshaw said. “He’ll be ready to go when he gets there.”