Mieras calls the shots for Wildcats
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Cole Rohrbough, Dan Grubbs, Justin Garcia and Stephen Sauer have all justifiably received a great deal of credit for their performances at the JUCO College World Series so far.
But another unsung hero who deserves just as much credit for the success of the Western Nevada Community College baseball team’s pitching staff is catcher Taylor Mieras. He’s caught every inning – and called every pitch – in the World Series so far. JUCO catchers who call their own pitches is rare.
But with Mieras calling the pitches, WNCC was 2-0 in the World Series going into Tuesday night’s game against San Jacinto College of Texas. The Wildcats opened with a 2-0 win over Delgado Community College of New Orleans as Rohrbogh, Grubbs and Sauer combined on the shutout.
Then Garcia and Grubbs combined to shut down the nation’s No. 1 team, New Mexico, in an 8-4 win. New Mexico was coming off a 14-12 win over Young Harris of Georgia in which it banged out 19 hits.
But over the past two years, WNCC fans have gotten used to outstanding pitching and Mieras has been a major reason why as he and the pitching staff have worked together for the past two seasons.
“I just have faith in them that they know what I’m doing is the right thing,” said Mieras about the pitching staff. “I just let them pitch; I put my glove in a spot and they hit it.”
“I take pride in it,” said Mieras about calling the pitches. “I know if the pitchers aren’t confident with something they can shake (me off) and do what they want.”
Before every pitch is thrown, Mieras will signal to the pitcher what kind of pitch he wants to be thrown. While there are various choices, it mainly comes down to if Mieras wants a fastball or a breaking pitch to be thrown. And just as important as what pitch is thrown is its location.
Mieras follows the WNCC philosophy of keeping it simple. The goal is just to throw low strikes and not walk any hitters. So far, WNCC’s pitching staff has walked five batters through 18 innings. Anything less than three per nine innings is considered excellent, but actually the number of walks for the Wildcats is a little higher than what they normally have.
“(We) just challenge a lot of hitters,” Mieras said. “We have a gameplan going in.” But the gameplan is constantly adjusted, as there’s a pitching chart in which Mieras and his pitcher follows.
“Every inning we go in and look at the chart,” Mieras said.
Evaluating the pitchers so far, Mieras said, “It’s been awesome. Cole came out and threw an unbelievable game. He was throwing all his pitches for strikes.”
About Grubbs, Mieras said, “He shuts the door,” referring to how Grubbs finishes games. “Justin did a great job mixing up pitches, keeping them off balance.”
The number of times a pitcher shakes off Mieras and wants to throw a different pitch during the course of a game can normally be counted on one hand. Garcia shook off Mieras twice.
“They have a lot of faith in me, which is nice,” Mieras said. “I don’t even look at how many times,” Mieras also said about when a pitcher shakes him off. “We’re just trying to get guys out. They’re the ones throwing the ball.”
And any disagreements are worked out quickly. “We all get along great,” Mieras said. “We talk with each other about it and fix (the problem).”
• Contact Charles Whisnand at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1214.
Jersey Number: 28
High School: Spring Creek and Pendleton (Bradenton, Fla.)
Weight: 208 pounds