Former Evart pitcher eyes success on varsity level

Justin O'Dell has high hopes for next season at Cornerstpne

Former standout pither Justin O'Dell gets ready to work out recently at the Evart ball field.

Former standout pither Justin O'Dell gets ready to work out recently at the Evart ball field.

File photo

EVART -- Justin O’Dell can’t wait for his third season of baseball at Cornerstone University.

He graduated in 2020 from Evart and got a redshirt year because of COVID disrupting things.

O’Dell was in his second season for 2022 on the junior varsity level, Evart coach Josh Johnson said.

“I built off of year one and threw very well,” O’Dell said. “I’m really looking forward to year three. It’s been a good offseason so far.”

O’Dell is strictly a pitcher at Cornerstone.

“I pitched a good amount of innings year one,” O’Dell said. “But I pitched more year two. I was used as both a starter and reliever. I’ve been proud I’ve been able to dial in my changeup more.”

This summer Odell is working out and coming to the Evart ball diamond every day.

“I will be going to a camp in Tennessee this summer,” he said. “It’s the Core Velocity Bell camp.  I’m focusing on making my lower half more efficient and getting more efficient and getting more from my body.”

The key in the transition from high school to college “is not trying so hard,” O’Dell said. “I know in high school I tried throwing the crap out of the ball and that would be hard on my arm. Now you have to stay relaxed when you pitch.”

Evart coach Josh Johnson said O’Dell was “still working at it” to make the varsity level.

Cornerstone was third in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and made the playoffs.

“Next year’s team is looking pretty good,” O’Dell said. “We lost a few key hitters but we’re looking to bring it up with the pitcher. I’m hoping to be a full-time starter or a reliable reliever out of the bullpen.”

College baseball was tough with the cold spring although O’Dell said he didn’t really mind.

“I love the cold,” O’Dell said.