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The Master's College's Charlie Gillies: The realization

Senior is capitalizing on the potential he’s always had at TMC

Posted: March 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master’s College senior Charlie Gillies has always had potential, and now the former West Ranch and College of the Canyons pitcher is putting it together on the mound. He’s 5-1 with a 0.96 ERA so far.

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For years, coaches would talk about potential and upside when they spoke of Charlie Gillies.

Yes, there were flashes of brilliance when he pitched.

There were times when he seemed unstoppable.

Now in his senior year at The Master’s College, all that potential has turned into results in a big way.

The former West Ranch High and College of the Canyons pitcher has finally found his groove in his second year at TMC. Through his first six starts this season, Gillies is 5-1 with a 0.96 ERA and he’s second in the country with 52 strikeouts.

He’s had no problem going deep into games either, averaging 7.78 innings per outing with two complete games already logged on the season.

Gillies is quickly emerging as the top arm on a talented pitching staff that has helped the Mustangs come out of the gate strong with a 17-5 record.

“It’s a big blessing,” Gillies says. “I don’t know, I just feel like I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I think it’s finally showing after all this time.”

This past offseason wasn’t markedly different than any other for the right-hander. He hit the weight room and did usual conditioning workouts to build endurance.

TMC pitching coach Reid Price helped him work on a new grip on his fastball, which changed it from a more traditional four-seamed pitch to a sinker.

But more than any mechanical or physical change, the most important breakthrough was psychological.

“We’ve taken baby steps and started from the ground up,” says TMC head coach Monte Brooks, “and what he has done is he’s really applied to it. He’s really stuck to it.”

Gillies knew all along he could be the dominant type of pitcher that he often showed signs of being throughout his career.

He patiently rode the ups and downs of each season — two with West Ranch’s varsity team, two at College of the Canyons and one at TMC.

It’s not as if he struggled along the way, either.

As a junior at West Ranch, he split time between outfield and pitching, occasionally coming in as a relief pitcher.

The following season, Gillies secured a regular starting job, going 4-4 with a 2.36 ERA and earning All-Foothill League second-team honors.

It was a similar story at COC, where he saw limited time as a freshman and then made strides as a sophomore, finishing 3-3 in eight starts.

Finally, his journey landed him at TMC, where he put together a solid junior year by going 7-5 with a 5.05 ERA in 13 starts and striking out a team-high 83 batters.

But Gillies expected more of himself.

“I want to maximize my talent, I guess you could say,” Gillies says. “I just feel like I’ve had the talent to be the guy, but I’ve kind of shot myself in the foot in the mental game.”

Two things he’s always been able to do is strike batters out and eat up a lot of innings.

Translating that into consistent, effective pitching was the next step.

And this past summer, that’s exactly what Gillies did.

“There were signs of dominance, but he lacked a little bit of consistency,” Brooks says. “And then this summer, he went to work and ever since then he’s been locked.”

It all began to come together while Gillies was pitching in the Alaska Baseball League, a prestigious college summer league.

All the advice he’d been given by coaches over the years reminding him to stay in the moment and take it pitch by pitch was paying off.

“I just started to have fun, I guess,” Gillies says. “I went up there, I was playing a lot better competition than I had before so I said, ‘You know what? I might as well show them my best stuff because they’re going to come at me with their best stuff.’”

During the summer league, a transformation took place.

Suddenly, Gillies quit letting outside forces distract him during the course of a game.

If there were runners on base or if a teammate committed an error, it didn’t matter. Gillies blocked it out and stayed relaxed, yet focused.

The results shined through immediately.

“Pitching has just been incredible, and he has just been sensational,” Brooks says. “We’re so encouraged at how he’s just set the tone for our staff.”

It’s been an up-and-down journey for Gillies to this point.

If the pace continues this season, he’s in position to finish his last year of college eligibility at his peak.

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