IOWA CITY — Calvin Mathews and Josh Martsching have come a long way since their freshman seasons with the University of Iowa baseball team.
Mathews and Martsching, two sophomore Hawkeye pitchers and former Mustang baseball prodigies who led Davis County to its first state championship in 2011, have had to grow as pitchers now that they can't rely solely on sheer physical and athletic superiority when all other wells run dry.
After their senior season with the Mustangs, the two, who went from being a couple of big fish in the small pond of Class 2A baseball to being just being another pair of arms throwing in the vast and talented ocean of college baseball. Martsching discussed the most difficult aspect of making the jump from Class 2A baseball to the Big Ten Conference.
"Probably the focus and concentration going into it because you know you are facing every high school's No. 3 hitter," he said.
Mathews added that in high school he would only face four or five batters from the opposing lineup that would give him a battle, while in college there is no respite between dangerous hitters.
Through his play, Mathews has landed a regular spot on in the Hawkeye rotation. He attributes his success to a brimful of hard work in the offseason. After he finished his therapy program for a loose shoulder injury in offseason, Mathews earnestly devoted himself to putting in the ample hours required to improve his strength and conditioning.
"Me and one of my buddies back home worked hard every day," Mathews said. "I lost 40 pounds."
When his sophomore campaign started, Mathews began to receive his just desserts for the all his hard work.
"The coaches had a lot of confidence in me when I was healthy again," he said. "I just kept going out Friday night and I kept attacking the zone and good things kept happening."