BRISTOL - The goal for Bristol Blues starting pitcher Jared Kollar this summer isnât to strike out every batter he faces, something he was known for doing at the high school level and tried to do at the beginning of his college career.
âMy goal this summer is mostly working on my changeup and improving my command,â Kollar said. âIâve thrown my curve and slider for a couple years now and now Iâm trying to get that fourth pitch.â
Kollar had a dominant high school career at Greater Latrobe Senior High School, which ended with him allowing three hits and striking out six to lead his team to a 7-0 win for the schoolâs first ever PIAA Class 5A state championship.
âWinning the state championship was fantastic as a senior, because youâre going out on a high note,â Kollar said. âI donât know how much it got me ready for college, but itâs definitely something that everybody should try to do. Itâs hard to say that, but itâs a great experience.â
For the former high school standout, his second start in college was a wake-up call.
Coming off a strong debut for Seton Hill University in which he earned the win with five innings of one-run ball, Kollar got hit around against Rockhurst University, lasting just two innings and giving up 12 runs, nine earned.
âIn college, I kind of got hit with the [idea] âIt doesnât matter how hard you throw, you just got to hit your spots,ââ Kollar said. âMy second start I gave up a lot of runs and thatâs when it really sunk in that youâve got to hit your spots. From then on I think Iâve done a lot better pitching at this level.â
After that start, Kollar was solid for the Griffins the rest of the season. He gave up 14 earned runs in 40 2/3 innings pitched and the most hits he gave up over the remaining nine games were eight against Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He matched the three walks twice, against Clarion University and Mercyhurst University.
He finished his freshman year with a 5-4 record and a 4.53 ERA in 47 2/3 innings pitched, with 60 strikeouts, as Seton Hill reached its third NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship game.
Blues manager Ronnie Palmer has the native of Greensburg, Pa. - where Seton Hill University is located - on a specific game plan all summer, in keeping with his college teamâs wishes.
âWe want him to stay right around 75 pitches,â Palmer said. âOne thing that weâve done last year and this year is try and communicate with all the college coaches and see what they want their guys to do. Thatâs why Jaredâs only throwing five innings. Regardless of where heâs at, his coach only wants him to throw five innings each start. Weâre going to stick with that plan. Because what we want is when coaches send us guys, particularly pitchers, you want the coaches to trust that youâre following their plan for their guys and weâre going to stick to that.â
Kollar has shown those five innings can be worth the price of admission.
Kollar has made three starts for Bristol this season and the Blues have won two of the three. He has a 3.21 ERA through 14 innings pitched and has struck out 14 batters.