Senior pitcher Embertson steps up for Truckee High
Entering the 2005 season, the Truckee High varsity baseball team was in need of someone to fill the large shoes of ace pitcher J.R. Murphy, who graduated last year.
Kevin Embertson did just that.
“Kevin has been a huge factor in getting us where we are,” Wolverines coach Mike Ellis said, referring to playoffs. “He’s been awesome. We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for him.”
Ellis said Embertson made it to the mound in just a couple of games last year due to a strong pitching staff loaded with seniors. Now Embertson is a senior and he has taken on the role of staff ace.
“[His pitching] has improved like night and day from last year,” said Ellis, who was the Wolverines’ assistant coach for five years before this season. “This is his year and he’s our ace,” Ellis said. “He has really stepped up and got it done.”
Embertson, a 6-foot-4-inch right-hander, said he picked up pitching tidbits from watching Murphy last year.
“[Murphy] really carried himself well on the mound,” Embertson said. “That was a big thing. If someone would get a hit, he’d always keep his composure and just worry about getting the next batter out, because what’s done is done, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
That poker-face pitching philosophy has been put to use by Embertson on the mound this year. The result: a 1.69 earned run average, 53 strikeouts in 45 innings, a 5-2 league record, and first team all-league honors.
“He doesn’t even look like pressure fazes him,” Ellis said of his pitcher. “He doesn’t back down, no matter what the situation is. He doesn’t get nervous or jittery, and that’s what I respect about him. He showed me right off the bat, from the first game he pitched, that he doesn’t get shaken easy.”
But when the opposition gets the better of him, Embertson’s concealed emotions bottle up, and are often released in the dugout between innings.
“Sometimes he blocks so much out, he blocks me out,” Ellis said. “Between the lines he’s fine. He just goes right after guys. But sometimes, because he’s so pissed about something that went wrong, he comes in [to the dugout] too fired up.”
Embertson does listen most of the time, though, and he attributes much of his success this season to Ellis, who is a former college pitcher.
Narrowing down the sports
For Embertson, who also played football and basketball for the Wolverines, baseball is his beloved sport, and pitching in college is a goal that’s been in the back of his mind for a while.
As of now, he has not decided where he will attempt to walk on next year.
“Baseball is definitely the sport I want to pursue after high school,” Embertson said. “I’m pretty much looking to play at a [junior college] anywhere in California to walk on.”
Ellis likes his chances.
“Kevin’s a good athlete,” Ellis said. “He’ll be good in college. He already does what a pitcher should do [in practice] by running on his own. He’s coachable and he really wants it.”