Athlete of the Week: Zionsville Community High School pitcher’s spinning breaking balls, competitiveness lead to success

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Zionsville Community High School senior right-hander Drew Dickson’s fastball has been clocked at 91 mph.

However, speed is not the Northwestern University-bound pitcher’s biggest strength.

“My biggest strength on the mound is probably a coin flip between the ability to spin breaking balls and my competitiveness,” Dickson said. “I was recruited heavily because of my ability to spin two distinct breaking pitches, a curveball and a slider, and command them very well. One thing that stands out is that the spin rate (revolutions per minute) is very high, around 3,000, which makes them break tighter and closer to the plate. My competitiveness is arguably more important, though. When the game gets bigger and pressure rises, so does my ability.

“I have had a lot of success in big situations and leaving runners on in tight games. The mental toughness I have is what allows me to compete at a high level.”

The 6-foot-3 Dickson said he has made the most improvement this season in learning pitch sequencing and execution.

Dickson said it helps that the Eagles have an experienced and intellectual pitching coach in Drew Storen, who pitched eight Major League Baseball seasons after a standout career at Brownsburg High School and Stanford University.

“(Storen) has helped me tremendously in the mental game of pitching, learning what to throw when, and where to throw it as well,” Dickson said. “I have also made some big strides in leadership. Last year, we had two vocal leaders and they both graduated, so it was my turn to step up and assume that role, and the coaching staff has let me know how impactful my leadership has been, and that is the improvement I am most proud of this season.

As of May 10, Dickson had a 2-1 record with a 1.30 earned run average and 46 strikeouts in 31 innings. He was 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA in 2021.

“He has a bulldog mentality on the mound,” Eagles coach Jered Moore said. “He’s probably one of the smartest baseball players I’ve ever coached.”

Dickson said he tried to hit last season but didn’t have much success.

“We had a pretty talented lineup last season, and I didn’t make the most of the few opportunities I got,” he said. “I am not hitting next year at Northwestern, so I felt it was more important to devote my time to pitching this year, so I didn’t work on hitting really at all until the midway point in our season. As a team, we were really struggling to score runs, so I had a talk with Coach Moore about swinging it again just so I could do anything I could to help the team.

“Thankfully, it has helped quite a bit and I have gotten off to a pretty fast start.”

As of May 10, Dickson was hitting .417.

Dickson, who played three seasons for the Indiana Bulls travel team, plans to major in economics and minor in software engineering.

Favorite athletes: Max Scherzer, Manny Machado

Favorite movie: “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Favorite musical artist: Drake


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