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FARMINGTON – Chase Silseth admitted his mechanics initially were a bit wild to start 2018. But once the Piedra Vista pitcher steadied his delivery, he was able to throw harder attacking the strike zone.

That served him well near the end.

He shut down tougher opposing lineups in Cleveland, Volcano Vista and Sandia, just to name a few, during the final month of the year, which led to him winning the 2018 New Mexico Gatorade player of the year award today.

"I feel honored," Silseth said.

Silseth said by not rushing pitches early in the count, he was able to throw loosely and with better control.

"I was able to get my first-strike percentage up, my (overall) strike percentage up," Silseth said. "Any time you have a good game and you're just throwing strikes, it's going to make your confidence go up each game."

Silseth went 7-3 with a 1.25 earned run average in 2018 for the 6A state runner-up Panthers, including five complete-game victories. He won his final five starts, four of which were complete-game wins.

Opposing batters hit just .148 against Silseth in 2018.

Silseth also put up solid numbers on offense, hitting .328 in 64 at-bats with nine RBIs and two stolen bases.

Silseth has a couple key tune-ups before departing for NCAA Division I University of Tennessee.

He was selected to the North squad in the 5A/6A All-Star series, which takes place June 8 and 9 in Las Cruces.

He will then rejoin the Midland Redskins' pitching staff in late June, hoping to repeat as a Connie Mack World Series champion in front of the home crowd.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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