KANSAS CITY — Fresh grass. Flawless surface. Perfect mound. Playing in his second Ban Johnson All-Star Game, Ethan Griswold already experienced the luxuries of playing inside Kauffman Stadium.
“To think of the guys that pitch (on the mound) now, it’s a cool feeling,” he said prior to the annual contest Monday evening, Aug. 5.
Headed into the game, Griswold, a Liberty High School graduate, was looking to produce a better outing than his all-star performance a couple summers ago.
“I didn’t do very well,” he recalled. “I think my nerves got a hold of me a little bit, and I gave up quite a few hits.”
When Griswold, who is entering his senior year at Northwest Missouri State, entered Monday’s game in the third inning for the B all-stars, he made sure to redeem himself. Griswold struck out two batters in a hitless frame.
“It was great,” he said after the game, which ended with the J all-stars claiming a 5-1 win. “I was kind of surprised how calm I was. Everything was working today and I was able to throw strikes and do what I want. Having the confidence and staying relaxed is a huge part. I think that’s what got me a couple years ago.”
It was a satisfying performance for Griswold’s final Ban Johnson game of his career. He spent three seasons in the collegiate summer league for the BJ Raiders. This summer, he posted a 2-1 record and a 3.46 ERA with 33 strikeouts across 26 innings pitched.
Griswold said his focus was to command his pitches.
“Being able to keep the same mechanics has been a big deal for me,” he said.
This time Griswold was able to do that inside the confines of the Kansas City Royals’ home.
“It’s an awesome stadium,” Griswold said. “Before, it was more of the awe factor, now I can appreciate it more.”