College baseball: Dixon impressive in return to mound
It's the same message every ballplayer gets from coach David Nelson know your job and get it done.
Anthony Dixon received that message loud and clear Sunday when Salt Lake Community College downed Okanagan College 12-1. Dixon pitched a masterful four innings, striking out five and earning the win in his first start of the year.
"Warming up in the bullpen, I was really feeling it," Dixon said. "I was hitting my spots, throwing strikes. I know I have it when my pitching feels consistent."
Fresh off of red-shirting last season, Dixon is ready to make his mark at SLCC. The three-pitch freshman works a slider, changeup and fastball with dizzyingly success and regularly hits 89 to 91 mph on the speed gun. Sitting out last year has helped him mature as a thrower, and he knows throwing against his teammates has improved his game.
"We have some of the best hitters in the league," Dixon said. "Working my mechanics against my guys has given me a real advantage now that I am not red-shirting."
Nelson noted that Dixon has been showing a lot of improvement. His ability to "get after it" in the strike zone has impressed Nelson, and he thinks Dixon's arm has a lot of potential.
"He doesn't throw anything straight," Nelson said. "Everything moves and sinks, making him really hard to hit. I think he has the pitches to get any hitter out."
Assistant coach Derek Waddoups noticed the change in the right-hander. Impressed with Dixon's ability to remain cool on the mound, he has watched a young player develop into a threat on the mound for the Bruins. He demonstrated that against Okanagan by throwing 43 strikes and only 10 balls.
"He knows how to pound the zone," Waddoups said. "He is real loose and has a lot of athleticism."
Dixon aspires to take his talent to the next level, but in the meantime, he is happy to gain more experience on the mound, work out harder in the gym and master his mechanics.
"I'm lucky to play for SLCC," he said. "I have a catcher [Nathan Fishel] that I trust and like working with. It's a great opportunity to learn and grow, and I am hoping to make the most of it."
SLCC returns to Las Vegas this weekend to face Southern Nevada. Dixon will be working out of the bullpen but will be ready if he gets the call. He knows his job and how to get it done.