Junior College baseball is many things. Some call it 'unrestricted', with fewer practice and game limits this description may be true. Others see it as a second chance- an opportunity to bounce back after transferring from a D1 program. Local product Channing Young has a different adjective: "Perfect".
Young, a right-handed pitcher from nearby Palm Harbor High School split his time between football and baseball in his high school years yet always felt the diamond had more to offer than the gridiron. This sentiment was confirmed for Young when during the summer of his senior year Head Coach Ryan Beckman offered him a scholarship. After transitioning from behind the plate to the mound in his senior year, Young came into Beckman's program hopeful to contribute right away.
One significant hurdle faced Young from being able to contribute right away for the Titans " I personally thought I had to lose a lot of weight. Plain and simple. Then I had to focus on replacing that lost weight with muscle and in the right areas" says Young. He considers the on-sight weight room and workout culture within the program with helping him achieve these ends. The improved range of motion and aerobic capabilities allowed Young to shake off the relief work role in the fall to potentially a starter in the spring.
Pitching Coach Sean O' Connor reflects on Young's progression and ability in his first year at the collegiate level " It became pretty obvious as winter turned to spring that he was going to start for us. He totally transformed physically, and he became more of a bulldog on the mound". Young revealed that bulldog mentality best when in the first inning of a conference series rubber match, he was forced to overcome some serious obstacles. Head Coach Ryan Beckman says it best "He had none of his pitches that night. I think he ended up giving up 4 runs in the first and we were looking around for the next step". Young – who reports this to be his highlight of his freshman year at SPC- went back out and pitched 6 consecutive scoreless innings while helping the Titans secure a much-needed win. When asked about the in-game turn around, Pitching Coach Sean O'Connor voiced his near disbelief "What he did was impossible. To go from having none of your pitches working to having all three, during a game, while you are behind… I don't think I had ever seen that before".
Young carried the rest of the pitching staff well before the COVID-19 shutdown, leading all Titan pitchers in wins and strikeouts in addition to surrendering only 11 walks in 36 innings of work. This success left Young with a sense of potential, that baseball could have a future for him "I want to take baseball as far as possible and win a national championship. I would like to turn that dream into a reality". Apart from lofty ambitions, Young recognizes that the main lesson from his freshman year at SPC was that regardless of who you are its almost certain you can give more to your goal, and that "all events whether good, bad or indifferent are apart of who you want to be".
Pinellas product Channing Young may be spending his first two years close to home , but to his coaches, teammates , and family he is right where he needs to be.