At the age of 5, just starting off tee-ball, Michael Byerline picked up a bat and ball and fell in love with America’s favorite pastime. Since then, his love for the sport of baseball has only continued to grow.
Throughout the years, Byerline’s love for the sport has never died, and he has his mom and her continuous motivation to thank. The words “How much do you want it?” is a constant drive that pushed him to make it this far in his baseball career.
Byerline came to Sonoma State University as a freshman, only pitching six innings that entire season. His current junior year has proven Byerline an essential member to the Sonoma State Baseball pitching staff. As a right-handed pitcher, Sonoma State’s No. 33 has already made an outstanding appearance in this 2018 season by getting the final out and finishing off Holy Names, 7-6. Being able to start, relieve and close, Michael has high hopes for a successful season with the Seawolves.
Throughout the years, Byerline has discovered a few of his favorite and least favorite pitches.
“My favorite pitch would have to be the splitter that I throw. Not very many people know how to throw it and this pitch seems to work out really well for me,” he said.
However, Byerline’s change-up is a different story. “The most challenging pitch for me to throw is a change-up,” he said, “which is really weird because almost every pitcher at the collegiate level knows how to throw one, but I have never been able to for some reason.”
Byerline’s catcher, Patrick Tolbert, agrees.
“Byerline’s best pitch has to be his splitter. During a mound visit I just tell him to find the zone with the fastball first. He’s knows what to do and how to get it done,” Tolbert said.
Stepping aside from the different styles of pitching Byerline is capable of, he’s not the biggest fan of pick-offs but understands that they are all a part of the game.
“I am not a fan of pick-offs because it is just another thing that I have to worry about when I am pitching,” he said.
At just the age of 20, Sonoma State’s right handed pitcher Byerline is already a draft prospect from some top MLB American League teams.
Byerline has a consistency speed of hitting in the high eighties (87-88 miles per hour) and every once in a while the low nineties.
He’s well aware of just how much hard work goes into achieving successful outcomes on and off the field.
Michael’s teammates could not agree more with his hard work ethic and delivery on the mound.
“He impacts the team by leading by example and letting his actions speak louder than his words,” Tolbert said.
Senior outfielder No. 19 Jake Sahagian remembers Byerline as a freshman.
“My first overall impression of Byerline was how he is a hard-working guy. He wants to succeed every time he steps out onto the mound,” he said. “As an outfielder I have complete confidence in all my teammates, including Byerline, to play hard. I know he is going to give it his all every time he gets out there. And if our coach has the confidence to throw him up on the mound then it is my job as a position player behind Byerline to trust that he will get the job done to the best of his ability.”
Byerline and the Seawolves will play Chico State this weekend, starting Friday at 2 p.m. through to Sunday.