TUTTLE — As Connor Litterell walked off the mound with Tuttle clinging to a one-run lead late in the Class 4A championship, he had a strong message for Tigers coach Travis Owen.
“Coach, we got it,” Litterell told Owen.
It was a bold statement against Dewey with Oklahoma State signee Carson LaRue on the mound, but it was a glimpse of the confidence Litterell possessed this season as a catcher turned pitcher.
The Tigers won the game, 4-3, for their first title since 2009, and Litterell was the key on the mound then and all season, earning The Oklahoman Little All-City Player of the Year honors.
“He’s just that confident of a kid,” Owen said. “He threw harder on Saturday than he has the rest of the year.
“On the mound, he’s a different kid. He has a different mode.”
Litterell almost ended up anywhere but the mound, and if he had things might have turned out differently for both him and his teammates.
Growing up a catcher, Litterell struggled when put on the mound. His mechanics were off, resulting in too many pitches out of the strike zone along with arm fatigue and soreness.
“When I was younger, I would just try to get up there and throw it as hard as I could,” Litterell said.
But suddenly as an eighth grader he started to find success.
He still had arm soreness from sometimes playing both catcher and pitcher in games — until he found a permanent home away from the mound at shortstop his sophomore year.