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BERLIN -- Hiland honored one of the greatest baseball players ever to don a Hawks jersey prior to its regular season finale against Jackson Monday at Lehman Field.
Eric Mullet's No. 6 will be retired after this season. Mullet was the ace of last year's staff, finishing his career with a state record 117-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, a win in the state semifinal and the save in the state championship game.
"Eric has done something special for our program, so we want to honor him in a deserving way," said Hiland coach Tom Gibson, before his team defeated Jackson 2-1. "I want to thank the Jackson team and fans for coming down here to play so we could hold this ceremony.
"Eric was a pitcher for us. Don't let his size fool you," Gibson added. "He could really throw the ball pretty good. He was the undisputed leader for our team that won the championship in D-III last year."
During his three years on varsity, Mullet threw 125 innings. His junior year he threw 61 2/3 innings. He was 20-0, with 169 strikeouts and 22 base on balls. He hit two batters his sophomore season, and none the last two years.
His ERA his sophomore year was 1.33. His ERA his junior and senior years was 0.00, for a combined 0.22 ERA. That is third-best in the state of Ohio, behind a 0.11 and a 0.20.
"There are many players tied with a 0.00 ERA in the state, however, he has the most innings (in one season) of 61 2/3, so in my book, he holds the record," Gibson said. "He holds the state record for most consecutive innings without giving up an earned run. The old record was 74 innings. Eric's three-year record ended up at 117 2/3 innings. That state record was just approved by OHSAA. We're really proud of Eric, and it's one of the reasons we wanted to have him here."
Mullet was a fastball, change-up and curveball pitcher. He was around 85-86 mph with his fastball, and also threw his curve and change-up for strikes.
"He did an awesome job of putting down other hitters," Gibson said.
He won numerous awards last year, including Daily Record Player of the Year and D-III Player of the Year for the state.
"Anybody that knows Eric, knows he's twice as good a kid off the field," Gibson added. "He's a real good kid, a great student. He had a 5-2 record as a freshman at Malone, doing there what he did here, and we expect big things in the future."
Gibson finished his remarks by addressing his former star pitcher.
"To commemorate your achievements, we want to retire your jersey, and we want to give you this ball, the last pitch you threw against Waynedale in the state championship to end the game," the coach said.
Mullet humbly thanked everyone for coming.
"I'd especially like to thank my parents," Mullet said. "I'd also like to thank my teammates and coaches, and the community for their support. There's no way I would've achieved any of my goals without you guys, especially my teammates and coaches. All of them pushed me to do better.
"All of the accomplishments our team made, I never saw any of this coming," Mullet added. "It is so awesome."
Mullet says the key to his game was working ahead of the hitters.
"I was never intimidating to batters," he said. "I kind of snuck up on people because of my size. They didn't expect me to throw as hard as I did. My goal is always to go out there and put my team n the best situation to win games."
He knows the record was officially set last year against Garaway at home last year, but admits he never really thought about it.
"I didn't have to worry about it, because I knew how good our defense was and they would always make the play behind me," he said. "There were many situations where I would've given up a run except for my defense."
His consecutive scoreless innings streak ended in his second start at college.
"My first appearance I faced two batters without giving up a run. Then I went seven innings in my first start without giving up a run," he said. "My next start, against St. Cloud, they hit me big. That's where it ended. That was definitely a humbling experience."