Morimando's adjustments have helped his consistency
The double from Myrtle Beach first baseman Joe Maloney wasn’t the first hit from the Pelicans and it was far from the last. But in the top of the fourth inning on June 8 at Five County Stadium, Shawn Morimando watched Trever Adams pass home and his 23 2/3-inning scoreless streak come to an end.
The left-hander from Virginia Beach, Va., has a 2.73 ERA in his first season with the Mudcats and was named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week back on June 3. He has four wins in 13 starts, and has allowed just 53 hits in 69.1 innings.
The left-handed Morimando has worked on mechanical adjustments to his delivery in the past few weeks that helped him rack up scoreless innings from May 24 to June 8 and more consistency.
“Mechanical work has been allowing me to use multiple pitches and making all my pitches more effective,” Morimando said. “Just those little tweaks we did with that and my delivery and the stretch – it’s just more fluid.”
Maintaining his scoreless streak wasn’t his main focus and he didn’t expect to leave the mound each evening without a run.
“I [wasn't] trying to think about it, I’m just trying to compete in every inning and every hitter and attack the zone and try to get outs,” Morimando said. “My sights aren’t set on not allowing runs or anything like that. It’s baseball, you know, you’re going to allow runs. As long as I can pitch and give the team a chance to win, that’s what’s most important to me.”
Morimando tries to stay relaxed at all times before and during the games so as not to get his heart rate going. One pitch at a time is how he approaches his starts, and the mentality has been working for him.
He goes over the opposing lineups before each start to prepare himself for the other team’s offense and to develop a game plan for pitching. The size of the Carolina League means he faces hitters multiple times and can keep an eye on who’s hot, who’s a runner and who’s going to lay down a bunt.
“I’m aware of everything and the catcher is aware of everything,” he said. “We’re all on the same page because you never want to go into the game not knowing about the other hitters and you want to have a pretty good game plan of what you want to do.”
The 20-year-old was selected by the Indians in the 19th round of the 2011 draft out of Oceans Lake High School. He spent 2012 in Lake County and ended the season with a 3.59 ERA and a 7-6 record.
The Mudcats have kept runners off bases with the help of Morimando’s skill and composure, but the team has struggled approaching the All-Star Break.
“I know team-wise we’re going to start turning things around,” he said. “We’re going through a little rough patch right now, but we’ve got an awesome group of guys and the coaching staff is awesome so we’re going to turn it around, it’s just a matter of time. We’re always working hard, all of us. We’re all on the same page and all have the same mindsets to work as hard as we can.”
There was little hesitation in Morimando’s decision to join the Indians organization straight out of high school. His move to Zebulon brings him three hours from home, and his family comes out to watch every time he starts at Five County.
“It’s been my dream to play professional baseball since I was a little kid and my family was supportive no matter what decision I made,” he said. "In my heart, I knew I just wanted to play everyday.”