Wiggins set for summer
Dalton Wiggins sure hopes his new gig lasts all summer long.
The recent Parkersburg South graduate, who earned second team Class AAA all-state honors in 2017, just completed his freshman season as a pitcher for Marietta College and head coach Brian Brewer.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound righty was set to head to the Valley League in Virginia, but instead made his way to Wisconsin to play for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League.
“My (assistant) coach Chad Langley coached up here with the Mallards two years ago,” noted Wiggins, who went 2-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 53 innings for the Pioneers.
Langley was originally contacted to find out if the ‘Etta Express had an infielder they could send up. Although that answer was no, Langley told them MC had a pitcher they might be interested in.
“They called me and offered me a temporary 10-day contract,” said Wiggins, who noted he’d like to stay around for the 72-game regular season and hopefully the postseason as well if the Mallards can qualify.
“It’s a great opportunity being up here. I’m up here now and as long as I keep doing well they will keep me around. I’m pretty much here until they tell me I’m not.”
Wiggins, who has hurled 13 innings thus far without allowing an earned run, made his first start at home inside the 7,500-seat Warner Park. He worked five innings and suffered the loss to the Wisconsin Rapids.
However, on Tuesday night at Kalamazoo he twirled eight frames of two-hit ball to earn the mound triumph.
“All of these guys are great. They are super friendly,” Wiggins said. “Everybody is here to play baseball and improve and hopefully get drafted. That was the big thing with me coming up here, I want to get better.”
Something also new to Wiggins was how rabid of a fanbase the Northwoods League actually has.
“We average around 6,000 people,” he said. “The environment there is insane. It’s so much fun. I feel like the most I’ve ever pitched in front of are a couple hundred people, let alone a couple thousand. It’s a ton of fun up here.”
This is the 25th year for the Northwoods League and a plethora of past and present MLB talent has played their. One of my favorite all-time Baltimore Orioles — Jay Gibbons — competed in the league as did the likes of Cy Young winners Chris Sale and Max Scherzer.
Although Wiggins, at least to this point in his career, wouldn’t be considered a power pitcher, there’s more than one way to get batters out aside from the whiff.
Along with his fastball, he also throws a two-seam and four-seam changeup. Wiggins said with the current opportunity he has at hand he’d like to continue working on his slider.
“Two, three games in (at Marietta) I realized I needed something else to be able to show them,” he said. “I’m trying to work on bumping up my velocity a little bit and be more consistent with my location.”
Contact Jay Bennett at email@example.com