Arkansas has had great success with pitchers from Bryant and this week Dave Van Horn picked up a pledge from another one. Bryant right-handed pitcher Will McEntire, 6-4, 230, is a senior who will follow Blaine Knight and Evan Lee as recent Hornets pitching for the Razorbacks.
On Sunday, McEntire talked about what it means to get a chance to play for Arkansas.
“It means a lot,” McEntire said. “I’ve grown up watching the Razorbacks play. I have gone to their games and just grew up as a fan. So it’s an amazing experience to just go through the process and I’ll finally have a chance to play for them next year.”
Arkansas finished the national runner-up this past season losing to Oregon State. McEntire was obviously impressed with the product he saw on the field.
“They had an amazing season,” McEntire said. “Me and my dad (Madison) were up there for all three games.”
Knight finished with a record of 14-0 and 2.80 ERA this season. It’s worth noting that his starts were opposite some of the best pitchers in college baseball since he was the Friday starter for Arkansas. How well do you know Knight?
“No I don’t know Blaine that well, but I’m really close with his brother Braden,” McEntire said.
How impressed were you with the season Knight had?
“He’s a dude,” McEntire said. “He goes out there and gives you his best every game. You see how the season turned out. He’s probably the best pitcher in Arkansas history.”
McEntire was 4-4 with an ERA of 1.60 for Bryant as a junior. He had 64 strikeouts and walked 21 in 48 innings. What do you consider your strengths as a pitcher?
“I feel I have good command of my pitches,” McEntire said. “I can locate my spots pretty well. I think I have a pretty good breaking ball.”
Is there an area or two you feel you need to work on the most and improve?
“Mine is definitely velo and emotion,” McEntire said. “Sometimes when things don’t go my way I show a little bit of frustration.”
McEntire’s fast ball averages 84-87. The highest it has been clocked is 88 miles per hour. What can you do to get it into the 90s?
“This year I worked out twice a day,” McEntire said. “And I’m a weighted ball program.”
In American Legion pitching for the Bryant Black Sox, McEntire was 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA. He had 68 strikeouts and 22 walks in 61 2/3 innings.
“I kinda got off to a slow start in Legion,” McEntire said. “I didn’t start out that well. It picked up really fast and I started getting my deal back. I threw so many innings in high school I think I was just tired and sluggish. Toward the end of the season it started picking back up. Me and my guys made a run to the regional finals where we lost 1-0 in the championship game.”
At Arkansas, McEntire will play for Dave Van Horn and pitching coach Wes Johnson. What do you think of Van Horn and his staff?
“He has probably the best coaching staff in the country,” McEntire said. “Dave Van Horn is probably the best coach in the country in my opinion. Coach Johnson is probably the best pitching coach in the country. He’s a guy that players constantly go up there and with his program they add 4-5 miles per hour.”