Former Evart pitcher eager to start college career

Justin O'Dell was a key pitcher for Evart's 2019 conference and district championship team. (Herald Review file photo)

Justin O'Dell was a key pitcher for Evart's 2019 conference and district championship team. (Herald Review file photo)

GRAND RAPIDS - Justin O'Dell played a key role on a 2019 Evart baseball squad, which won a conference and district title and went to the regional title game.

A year ago he signed with Cornerstone University to be a pitcher, but COVID canceled Evart's baseball season.

"In the fall, we played some ball (at Cornerstone)," O'Dell said in a recent interview. "We did practices five days a week and worked out as a team in the morning."

Despite COVID, "we got to keep going, which was really cool," O'Dell said.

"We played intrasquad games from September to early November. We had to do some baseball stuff outdoors. We actually lifted outside because of restrictions on weight rooms.

"Sadly, our spring training in Florida got canceled. Practices will be starting up. I'm looking forward to that. We're supposed to play conference games for the season. We play in 11 doubleheaders"

Cornerstone is in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Games were set to start in late March.

O'Dell indicated he and other players might be getting another season of eligibility because of COVID.

O'Dell went to Cornerstone as a pitcher and has been able to work on his craft during practice.

"It's going good," he said. "I feel like I had a strong fall. I got to work against higher competition I didn't get to face in high school. That was nice to learn how to adjust and how to attack hitters.

"I've been working on adding pitches in my arsenal and throwing harder."

O'Dell is a pitcher but indicated he has also been working on his hitting and chasing flyballs.

"So I'm ready," he said.