As a sophomore in 2011, Westminster senior pitcher-third baseman Trevor Houck was called up to varsity for the state playoffs.
It turned out to be an extended stay as the Owls won the Class 4A state championship. Houck enjoyed the ride to an undefeated season, mostly watching the games from the bench for Westminster that year.
Now the Owls' staff ace and top player, he would like to lead the team to another state title to close out his high school career. He's doing everything he can for Westminster, which is 6-3 through Tuesday.
On the mound, through Tuesday, he's 4-1 with a 0.98 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. Houck is batting .552 with two home runs, 21 RBIs and three doubles through nine games.
Houck maintains a 4.41 grade point average and has earned all A's in high school. He plans to play baseball at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania and major in engineering.
What's your approach on the mound?
I kind of stick with my fastball more than my offspeed pitches. But once I get ahead of hitters, I may break off a curveball sometimes to make them guess.
Pitching can be a chess match. How do you stay ahead of the batters?
It's kind of a mind game. If they're thinking one thing, you have to make sure to be thinking another thing to get them off guard. You're trying to get the ground ball, a pop out or strikeout — whatever you need to do to get outs.
What's your mindset when you get in a jam on the mound?
When runners get on, you have to stay composed, keep hitting your spots, don't overthrow or try to do too much. And the most important thing is trusting your defense and knowing they'll make the play behind you.
You've added a slider. How is that going?
It's always different. You can throw it in the bullpen with no hitters, and then you get out there, and it can be a little nerve-racking because you don't want to hit anybody.
How are you feeling with your high school career coming to an end?
It's kind of weird to think I'll never play on this field again in a month from now. I just have to make the best of it while I can.
What's your most memorable moment at Westminster?
It would have to be the state championship season in my sophomore year. I didn't participate much, but being there to witness everything was a special time. It was pretty crazy that night. I didn't play much, but it was great to get to celebrate with the guys and everything. The biggest thing was everyone got along so well, and they all picked each other up and didn't make many mistakes.
What approach do you take as a senior in regards to leadership?
I don't talk to the team much as a whole, but I try to give different advice to individuals as much I can. Being a leader, I know the guys look up to me, and I just have to keep on doing what I'm doing and try to guide the team in the right direction.
When was the last time you got a 'B' in the classroom?
Not in high school. From the beginning of high school, I was just determined to put grades first and then sports, so I really focused on getting my grades right before I went out to practice. The key is to stay focused and determined and don't take any shortcuts.