SINTON, Texas — The UIL 4A defending state champion Sinton Pirates are the fourth best team in the country according to MaxPreps. The Pirates also have one of the top 20 major league baseball draft prospects. Blake Mitchell is on the watch list.
"I feel like my best ability is my arm, just getting the ball down there quickly," Mitchell said. "You know, just being smart behind the plate. Learning what to throw on certain counts. What's working for that pitcher that day."
The nation's top-ranked high school catcher is looking to lead Sinton back to state to defend their UIL 4A championship.
"The lefty swing, the plus arm and just the I guess the game instincts. You know the thing that I really enjoy about Blake is he is a humble young man," Adrian Alaniz, Sinton baseball head coach, said. "He's never a kid that feels like he's too good to pick up baseball's or you know get the extra work."
In 31 games played so far this season, Mitchell has 33 hits at 67 at-bats, 41 runs scored and 5 home runs. His love for the game started a long time ago.
"I say forever," Mitchell said. "Once I started I just knew I had something special."
"There was not really a time he did not have a baseball in his hand or a bat or a glove," Jennifer Mitchell, Blake's mother, said. "He was always hitting off a tee in the backyard. It was just something that he naturally gravitated to."
Mitchell is athletic at shortstop and has the ability to throw a 90-plus mile per hour fastball, but his greatest impact is at the catcher position.
"Having him behind the plate so many years now it's just a walk in the park, you know," Jaquae Steward, Sinton senior infielder and pitcher, said. "If I don't have my stuff right there. He's going to help me. He's going to talk to me."
"We grew up little bitty playing together, so it's great to have him here on the team," Mitchell said. "You know, we're doing great things."
Last year, Mitchell won a state championship, Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and a gold medal with USA's 18 and under team.
"Right now the main focus is to just win a state championship, so once that's over I'll put a little more thought to what the future holds," Mitchell said.
That future for the LSU signee could change July 9, 2023 in the MLB draft. He's projected to be selected in the top 20 of the first round.
"That was my goal when I played, and then to see that as a father," Kevin Mitchell, Blake's father, said. "To see his son succeed more than what he did. To see him get drafted, what a blessing."
"Any kids dream," Jennifer Mitchell said. "I think if it were to happen it's the culmination of all the hard work and everything that he's put in over the years and that we've put in as a family."
Sinton baseball has a few weeks to go before having a chance to defend their UIL 4A state baseball championship.
This week in the second round of playoffs, the Pirates battle the Calallen Wildcats in a best 2 out of 3 series. Game one is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. in Sinton.