Summer On The Diamond

Chris Ellis committed to pitch for Ole Miss in January, his junior season of high school. Since then, he's been all about getting better.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander from Spain Park High School in Hoover, Ala., completed a successful junior campaign and moved right into summer baseball.

As he had done in the past, the son of Rob and Sheryl Ellis pitched this summer for Merucci Elite, one of the best traveling teams in the South.

At Spain Park last spring, Ellis was 7-4 with a 2.59 ERA in 67.2 innings pitched. His team advanced to the second round of the Alabama playoffs.

Ellis has a fast ball he throws in the 89-90 range, a curve ball 75-76, a changeup 78-79, and a slider 80-81.

He says this summer has been beneficial to his pitching in a lot of ways.

"I've gotten better with my control," he said. "I've also gotten more movement on my fastball."

All of which have only made him a better pitcher. He picked up several honors this year. He was named Birmingham Area "Over The Mountain" Player of the Year, which is for the south side of the city and the southern suburbs. He was Birmingham News Hoover-South Pitcher of the Year, Birmingham News First Team All-Metro, Shelby County First Team, Perfect Game USA Underclassman All American, Perfect Game USA National Showcase selection, East Coast Pro Kansas City Royals Scout Team Selection, and Under Armour Team One Top 10 Player Selection

As noted, Ellis has made the showcase rounds this summer, at St. Petersburg for the Perfect Game, and also the East Coast Pro Showcase, with tryouts being held in Jackson at Smith-Wills Stadium.

Future Ole Miss teammate Hawtin Buchanan, also a 2011 pitcher committed to the Rebels, has become friends with Ellis. They've both been to the same showcases and both pitch for Merucci Elite.

Chris Ellis

While the 6-5 Ellis towers over many others on the baseball field, not so when he and the 6-foot-8 Buchanan are out there together.

"He makes me look short," said Ellis, laughing.

There is one more showcase Ellis still awaits word on. He tried out at Emory University in Atlanta for the Team One Showcase, which will be held in Chicago at Wrigley Field in August. Ellis anxiously waits to hear on that one.

"That would be great," he said if selected. "I would love to go to Chicago and play at Wrigley. I'm hopeful I'll hear good news soon."

There are some aspects of his pitching he wants to improve.

"I want to get better at every one of my pitches," he said. "Mainly I want to focus on a better changeup and increasing my velocity."

As for his commitment to Ole Miss – he plans to sign in November – all things are a go.

"Nothing's changed at all," he said of his January verbal to the Rebels. "I'm still 100 percent committed."

"There's no way to describe my excitement," Ellis said when he committed back in January. "To play for Ole Miss will fulfill the goal I've always had, and that's to play baseball there."


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