MUSTANG — Chris Gibbons doesn't know exactly how to explain it.
Everything just feels right when he steps on the mound.
The left-handed Mustang senior hasn't allowed a run in his last 32 innings pitched, striking out 59 batters during that time.
The scoreless streak had reached 23 innings last week, and Gibbons added nine more, along with 16 strikeouts, on Monday as the No. 12 Broncos defeated seventh-ranked Sand Springs in 10 innings. The performance earned him The Oklahoman's Baseball Player of the Week honor, but the 32-inning scoreless streak spans four full starts and part of a fifth.
“He's the kind of kid that's just a hard worker, a hard-nosed player who hates to lose,” Mustang coach Scott Selby said. “When he gets on the mound, it just comes down to fight and heart.
“He's locating his fastball, change-up and curveball. I coached in college for 14 years, and it's hard to get a college guy to throw more than one pitch consistently for strikes, and he's throwing three with confidence.”
Gibbons, 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, tops out at about 88 miles per hour, and has good movement on his fastball when it's around 84-85 mph.
“My arm has been feeling really good lately. I'm hitting my spots and letting my defense work behind me,” he said. “Just about every game, I feel like I'm pretty much in the zone. But when one of my pitches isn't working, I just know I've just got to bear down even harder.”
Gibbons has signed with Butler County Community College in Kansas, but NCAA Division I and II programs are starting to come into the mix, especially after his recent success.
Oklahoma State and Southwestern are among those calling to inquire about him. NCAA rules would allow him to sign with a school in addition to Butler County, but Gibbons can relax knowing he already has a program that wants him, regardless of what else happens.
He'll be back on the mound Saturday against fifth-ranked Jenks at Mustang. And though he's riding a wave of success, the skinny left-hander keeps a balanced approach.
Gibbons knows the current success is a result of his offseason work, in part in Mustang's pitching program with assistant coach Kevin Winterrowd, a former head coach at Westmoore.
“It's a relief to know that I put in all the work, and so has my team, busting our butts to get better,” Gibbons said. “It's a blast going out and competing. Baseball is what I love to do, so I enjoy every second I'm out on the field, whatever I'm doing.
“It's my job to pitch and get outs, so that's what I'm trying to do.”