By John Niswander
Elm Staff Writer
Billy Griffin is a name that many involved with Washington College’s baseball program will not soon forget. The left-handed pitcher is playing his final month of collegiate baseball in his senior season.
Griffin, a quiet, more introverted kid from Middletown, Maryland grew as a person both on and off the baseball field during his years at WC.
“It is tough to put in words what Billy has done for our team,” said junior catcher Wes Robertson who has played catcher behind the plate while Griffin has pitched the last three years. “He is definitely a lead-by-example type of guy. His work ethic, attitude, and, of course, his abilities, are all things the rest of us try to emulate. He has definitely helped me grow as a player and a person, more so than he will ever know.”
Griffin attended showcases throughout his high school years, hoping to attract the interest of college coaches. Only one showed consistent interest in him.
“I heard about WC the summer coming into senior year of high school, when the previous coach here, Travis Turgeon, contacted me about playing baseball for his team,” Griffin said. “WC was actually the only school that showed any real interest in me despite my attendance at these many showcases. At the time, WC’s program was graduating a lot of the starting rotation. Turgeon was persistent in contacting me every week that summer. I saw the interest he showed in me and the potential to start as a freshman, and I ran with it.”
During his freshman year, Griffin appeared in eight games, starting in six of them, and compiled a record of 2-2 on the mound. He pitched 33.1 innings, registering a total of 22 strikeouts, 12 walks, and an earned run average of 5.67.
“On the field freshman year, I did not really understand how high the level of play could be at the Division III level. I had a rocky couple of first outings,” Griffin said. “I did not have great command, my fastball was not particularly fast, and I did not have a strong grasp on the thinking side of the game,” he said.
Griffin, the introverted kid from high school, knew he would need to challenge himself by stepping outside of his comfort zone in order to get better during his collegiate career.
“Over my four years, my favorite change in myself is my ability to push myself past what I thought I was capable of doing in so many aspects of life. My teammates, coaches, and professors have played a huge part in that development,” he said.
One of Griffin’s teammates in particular who helped him improve during his collegiate career is fellow senior pitcher Logan Dubbe.
“Dubbe is one of my best friends and had a strong wealth of knowledge on pitching and was pretty dominant on the field last year. I picked his brain all the time and tried to replicate a lot of the things he was doing on the mound. I owe a large part of my success this past year to him,” Griffin said.
Head Coach Matt Reynolds, who has coached Griffin since his sophomore year, is pleased how far Griffin has come in the three years he has had the privilege to be his coach.
“Billy is as impactful of a player that we have both on and off the field. The best thing that I can say about him, is that he has taken this opportunity at WC and made the most of it. He has steadily improved himself throughout his career from a strength and conditioning standpoint, as a pitcher, and as a student,” Coach Reynolds said.
As Griffin enters the final month of his collegiate baseball career, he reflected on what he will miss most from his years playing for WC.
“Easily my teammates. College athletics is like nothing I have ever experienced in my entire life. We spend hours together every day at lifts, meetings, practices, bus rides, and games. After all of this time together we go to our dorms or houses where we live with each other. Working together towards a common goal with these guys has been more than I could have ever asked for. The bond I share with this team is why I have endured the grind of college baseball. I would not trade this experience with them for anything,” he said.