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Oklahoma State Baseball

Cowboy Baseball Will Pack Hewitt's Grit for Tucson Regional

June 2, 2021
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STILLWATER – He’s a long way from home and has been that way for a long time. Max Hewitt grew up in Midhurst, Ontario, Canada, an area known more for producing top hockey talent than baseball players. There is baseball there and it is good. Hewitt played travel ball and his team had an agreement with Connors State Junior College, so when it was time Hewitt came to Oklahoma. He did well and that caught the eye of Josh Holliday and the Cowboys. Connors State, the Cowboys have sent more than a few players to Stillwater.

You know how they say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, Hewitt didn’t need one according to teammate, fellow senior, and right fielder Cade Cabbiness.

“The first time he got here and I played catch with him, I was telling him the other day, actually, the first time I played catch with him I thought, ‘this guy’s got a hose,’” Cowboys right field Cade Cabbiness said. “All these years, Max has grown tremendously. Nobody works harder than that kid does. I got the awesome opportunity to live with him last summer. He stayed at my house when we played in Tulsa (for the college Drillers team). He’s a great ballplayer and there is no one more locked in than that guy. I’m glad he’s on my team.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic where the college baseball season had been cancelled a third of the way through and the minor league season too. The Tulsa Drillers and the Texas League adjusted to a makeshift college league. Think Cape Cod comes to the Southwest. Tom Holliday coached the Drillers team and former OSU and Major League All-Star catcher Mickey Tettleton was an assistant.

Hewitt had helped out a pitcher one day and caught his bullpen. The coaches saw him in the catcher’s gear and got an idea. They needed another option behind the plate and Hewitt became that option. He’s more than that now.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
No batting gloves for Max Hewitt.

The fact he doesn’t wear batting gloves when he hits has kind of furthered that “tough guy” reputation that is always good for a catcher to maintain.

“He’s a grinder, an old-school guy,” Cabbiness said. “The whole time he has never worn batting gloves. I tried it one time and I could barely hold onto the bat to save my life. He’s a great player, tough kid, and like I said, I’m glad he’s on our team.”

Hewitt told the media earlier this week when we were on a Zoom conference talking about this coming weekend’s NCAA Regional in Tucson, Ariz., that there really isn’t a rhyme to the reason he doesn’t use batting gloves.

“You know for any number of reasons why, I could have got some batting gloves. I don’t know why,” Hewitt answered about not having batting gloves. “I just like the feel of not having them. It’s just a preference thing. I don’t try to overthink it and there’s not a huge reason why. I like to feel the handle in my hands and feel tension free.”

Truth be told, Hewitt used wood bats in high school in Canada. Now, hitting a ball off the handle on a typical Canadian spring day might change your mind about batting gloves. Hewitt hasn’t changed his mind about preferring wood bats.

“All these metal bats are the same, it’s a tin can on a stick,” Hewitt cracked.

One glove that he does take very serious is the one he wears behind the plate as the Cowboys catcher. In a season where the pitching staff and team as whole has endured so many injuries. During the season the Cowboys have lost Friday night starter Parker Scott, another weekend starter Justin Wrobleski is out and reportedly a candidate for Tommy John surgery. The team’s closer Brett Standlee was out for a couple of weeks. Two combination pitchers and position players in shortstop Hueston Morrill and freshman sensation Nolan McLean are still out.

As others like Mitchell Stone, Noah Sifrit, Trevor Martin, Colton Bowman, and Kale Davis have been called upon they’ve needed confidence in the player catching them.

“I take tremendous pride in making sure they know I am going to receive the ball well, block the ball, and they can throw their best stuff with me and be on the attack,” Hewitt said. “I tell the guys that I’ve got their back through the ups and downs. That is part of my role on this team to have their back every day no matter what. We try to keep it positive and make pitch to pitch adjustments.”

Hewitt has been side by side with Justin Campbell, a young freshman that has grown into an All-Big 12 regular season and All-Big 12 Tournament pitcher.

Oklahoma State Athletics
No surprise, Hewittt loves catching Justin Campbell.

“He’s really funny and he is in the locker beside me and he is really funny,” Hewitt said of the young California native. “When it is time to compete then he flips the switch. I understand the head space that is required for that kind of performance and that is what has set him apart this year. It has been super fun to be a part of and watch.”

Then most recently last week in Oklahoma City at the Big 12 Tournament, two of the injured made a return. Again, Hewitt is there and counted on to assist building back the confidence and the edge needed.

“I think Parker (Scott) and Brett (Standlee) worked really hard to be ready for this past weekend,” Hewitt said. “I think they both came out and executed well and competed. I’m proud of them for working hard and getting back the way they did.

They are all proud that Max Hewitt is willing to grind and work the way he does. Oklahoma State opens up the Tucson Regional at 3 p.m. on Friday against UC-Santa Barbara and they’ll do it with Hewitt back there working hard for the Cowboys pitchers, probably Campbell to start that first game.  

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Cowboy Baseball Will Pack Hewitt's Grit for Tucson Regional

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