Testimonial Tuesday: Tyler Herkey

Testimonial Tuesday: Tyler Herkey

Pitchers work to have control of their pitches. Such ability gives them a chance to not only get outs, but to be in control of the game. Tyler Herkey, an uncommitted 2022 LHP out of Southlake Christian Academy in Huntersville, NC, seems to be on his way to taking this idea of control beyond the context of a pitcher versus a batter. 

One move Herkey made showing his intent to access more control on his future was joining the Dirtbags as a 13u player and becoming a member of an elite fraternity of players who play the game a certain way. Since then, Tyler says he has come to understand the standards of the organization and how it reaches well beyond the field. 

Being a Dirtbag has allowed Tyler to learn more about the organization and even become aware of previous WWBA championships won by the Bags. He admits this knowledge serves as a motivator for his own trips to Lake Point, which have been highlight moments in his baseball journey. 

Even still, the experience of being a part of the whole process seems to be the ultimate reward  for the sixteen year old, who said of his being a Dirtbag, “I love it. Great organization all around. Great people. Great coaches. All really there to help you out.”

The idea of being in control also is how Tyler sees being a Dirtbag, saying, “It means staying on top of everything. Non-stop effort to get better and never quitting.”

On the mound, Herkey’s use of both 4-seam and 2-seam fastballs in the upper 70’s with pin-point accuracy allows him to go right at hitters and establish who’s in control of the at-bat.  His coach in the summer of 2019, Ben Cassillo, recognized these skills and how the lefty is able to use them to establish a command presence. 

“While Tyler still has plenty of room to grow and add velocity, there is no denying his command and overall understanding of how to pitch. He understands how to move the ball in and out, up and down, ando do that while mixing speeds,” said Cassillo. 

Herkey also spins a solid 11:5 curveball to go along with his change, which are huge swing-miss offerings in his arsenal. And it’s not uncommon for him to even use his secondary stuff in different ways versus batters to create a multitude of attack options. 

Cassillo continued, “He’ll pitch batters backwards, trusting his breaking ball when behind in the count and keep hitters on their toes. Every AB for opposing hitters is different when they face Tyler. You can’t sit on one pattern, because he treats every AB in every situation differently. You don’t see that in a lot of kids his age.”

Loving the thrill of the strikeout, Herkey describes himself as a fierce competitor. The mentality in conjunction with the control allows the 5’10” and 150 pounder to compete way bigger than the roster lists him. 

According to Cassillo, this element of Herkey’s skill set may be his biggest, seen in him saying, “Plain and simple, Tyler Herkey is a competitor. Nobody believes in his stuff  and his ability to consistently get outs more than Tyler.”

Without hesitation, Tyler recognizes being a Dirtbag has helped him. The opportunity to measure himself up to the established reputation of those Dirtbags who have gone before him has been a tool he has used to leverage performances.  

While it may unnerve some, Herkey seems undaunted saying his goals are clear. “Try to be the next great Dirtbag. I want to be the best on the field.”

And that’s no matter the role. The southpaw can perform at a high level in a number of scenarios. It’s again the mental approach which appears to give access to such versatility.

As Cassillo puts it, “He has the perfect mentality for a pitcher. It’s that mentality that made Tyler successful in any role, whether it was starting games, coming into a bases loaded jam, or getting the final three outs of a tight ballgame.” 

The evidence supports it too. Prior to the halt of the 2020 high school season, Herkey had made three starts as a varsity hurler for his Eagles and came away with two wins. The experience served as a proving ground the sophomore is prepared to rise to the next challenge. 

His motivations from being a Dirtbag, along with the addition of a personal pitching coach to help fine tune the mechanics and elevate those mound skills even greater.  Additionally, Tyler has traded in the stereotypical teenage video game habits for weight lifting sessions with a  trainer. All factors are providing the push to make those next steps he wants to make, and give him even more control over what takes place on the field and the opportunities available due to his successes. 

As he looks at the chance to play baseball beyond high school, the sophomore is looking to be in control. He is clear in wanting to focus on finding a smaller school with a strong baseball program. He cited his current structure in a private school where he is thriving as an incentive.

The right match must also have a high academic standard since grades are a high priority. A coaching staff who can continue to pour into his development and also make a personal connection will be essential. 

For now, Tyler Herkey is just looking to, well, control what he can control. And that probably means the strike zone next time he gets on the mound.