Being overlooked fueled Leatherman to strikeout record

Posted at 8:32 PM, May 19, 2019

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich -- Pat Leatherman had a really good baseball career at Jenison High School but only had two colleges offer him an opportunity, Indiana State and Central Michigan.

"Guys (Michigan State) we just beat this week, I was told I wasn't in their top amount of pitchers when I was being recruited" Leatherman said.  "That was my fuel going into college."

Leatherman enrolled at CMU as a walk-on in 2014, but will leave as the program's all-time strikeout leader.  On May 4th, he notched career strikeout number 289, breaking the previous record of Josh Collmenter who went on to have success in the MLB.

"It's nuts that it's been five years" Leatherman said.  "Even looking at that number of strikeouts it just doesn't seem real but at the same time i'm thinking about how many strikeouts and games went into that."

"This isn't a program where you just shatter records every day" first-year head coach Jordan Bischel said. "We've been around a long time and have won a lot of ballgames here, anytime you set a significant record like that it says something."

While some will say they don't look at numbers, Leatherman admits that he knew this record was coming.

"As much as people say I don't think about the record, you know it's there and I had guys around me telling me the number" Leatherman added.   "So every time I came in they'd say 'oh you're one more closer."

Eventually, he and some teammates began calculating how many more strikeouts Leatherman would need.

"When i did the math I figured I'd have a start a week" Leaterman said.  "It kind of averaged out to four or five strikeouts a game and I knew I was due for a couple nine or tens in there."

With the MLB Draft approaching, Leatherman will likely hear his name called but isn't even thinking about his future in baseball.

"I try not to think about it" Leatherman added.  "A couple of years ago I got caught up in that a little bit, some people can handle thinking about what's next but for me I'm happiest just thinking about the next game."

From an unwanted walk-on to the program's strikeout leader, Leatherman has had quite the journey from Jenison to Mount Pleasant and continues to lead the way for the nationally-ranked Chippewas.

"It's nice to go out this way" Leatherman continued.  "To have this record behind me and see how far we can take this team I mean we're really talented."

Central Michigan finished up the regular season winning 15 consecutive games.  The Chippewas (43-12) won the regular season MAC title and will be the number one seed in the conference tournament in Avon, Ohio Wednesday through Sunday.