‘Carving up’ opposing hitters

Chris Biderman, Chris Biderman, and Chris Biderman

When he’s not riding waves or carving up mountainsides, Vaqueros’ pitcher Bryce Uhrig is winning awards for his excellence on the baseball diamond.

The Santa Barbara High School alumnus and board sport enthusiast was recently named the Western State Conference pitcher of the year, for the second year in a row, after compiling a 6-0 record and having a miniscule 1.92 ERA in league play.

He was also a driving force in leading the team to a playoff birth for the second straight season. It seemed to be dyer straights for a team that was struggling at the plate and in the field, but managed to pull itself together to win seven of its last eight games to squeak into third place in the conference and into the Southern California playoffs.

“It was good to make it, but I wish we could have played better,” the lanky, 6-foot-5-inch, right-hander said about losing in the first game of the playoffs, 3-0 to Palomar.

Head coach Teddy Warrecker has had high praises of Uhrig ever since he dawned the red and black stirrups calling him “the best pitcher I’ve ever coached.” Warrecker also credits Uhrig’s success to his focus and demeanor on the mound.

In an April 12 start against Moorpark College, Uhrig uncharacteristically struggled with his control and gave up six early runs, and later cited the poor start to his pre-game nutrition. Warrecker had called it the worst start of Uhrig’s career.

“Normally I eat pasta the night before the game, but that night I ate Mexican food,” he said afterwards. “I attribute the success to the pasta.”

Playing at home has its perks as well.

Uhrig mentioned that he enjoys playing in his hometown of Santa Barbara because friends and family can watch him take the hill at Pershing Park.

“It’s nice being able to have the people you know come to the games,” he said.

Playing in Warrecker’s program helped Uhrig create a better work ethic and routine between starts, something that can be a little hard to come by in high school. He also said he didn’t learn how to throw a changeup until he got to City College.

A little help from a former big leaguer doesn’t hurt either. Warrecker was a former pitcher in the Cleveland Indians organization, so when he had something to say, Uhrig listened.

“I learned a lot more about the small things,” he said. “Working hard pays off.”

Uhrig’s baseball future isn’t set in stone, but he plans on attending Cal State Fullerton where he hopes to walk on to the team. The Titan’s program is known for being a national powerhouse and home to numerous Big West championship banners. They won the College World Series in 2004.