November 28 - Madison senior left-hander Matt Howat committed earlier today to pitch at the College of William & Mary, Warhawks coach Mark ‘Pudge’ Gjormand confirmed tonight.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound southpaw chose the Tribe over several other suitors. He was the Pitcher of the Year in the Concorde District and a first-team Region 6D selection last spring after going 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA. Over the past two seasons, Howat is 11-3 with a 1.19 ERA and has totaled 112 strikeouts to 20 walks in 94.2 innings.
“The chance to play at a college that not only has great academics but a great baseball program is something that makes me eager to grind and be the best player I can be this spring and at the next level,” he wrote via text tonight.
Howat, who pitches in the offseason with the Marucci Stars travel program, becomes the latest in a long line of Warhawks hurlers to move on to the collegiate level. Since 2013, Madison has produced six Division I pitchers, with Howat joining Jake Nielsen (Brigham Young), Matt Favero (Brigham Young), Brian Eckert (Radford), Andy McGuire (Texas) and Dan Powers (William & Mary). McGuire was drafted in the 28th round by the Toronto Blue Jays this past June.
Gjormand says his latest ace, however, might compare most-favorably to another lefty, Jason Farley, who was the Washington Post’s All-Met Player of the Year in 2007 and later pitched at the Virginia Military Institute.
“Farley is a great comparison,” said Gjormand, who is in his 24th year as the coach at the Vienna school. “That’s who Matt probably most reminds me of. You’ve got to really work to get to Matt, and Jason was the same way.
“We feel like Matt’s going to be on the bump in a lot of big situations. Ultimately, with us, it’s can you take us into June? And we hope that Matt’s one of those kind of guys.”
The Warhawks went 15-7 overall and won the Concorde in their first season in the league in 2018, and will turn to the likes of Howat and senior outfielder Ethan Lipp after graduating Nielsen, second-team all-state third baseman Nate Leas and first-team all-state shortstop Kyle Novak, who was the NOVA Nine Player of the Year. Howat will be joined by two additional senior lefties who will pitch at the Division III level in Josh Gjormand (Lynchburg) and Zack Perkins (Washington & Lee).
Howat, who has had his fastball reach 85 MPH, has built a reputation as a pitcher with the ability to locate multiple pitches consistently for strikes. He had standout outings over the summer at the Perfect Game WWBA 17U National Championship in Georgia and again this fall at the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Florida, shining on both occasions in front of several college coaches.
“The biggest thing about Matt, he carries himself somewhat laid back until it’s time to compete,” Gjormand said. “But when it’s game time, he’s just got that mound presence. You can’t break him, can’t tell if he’s up five or down five, and that’s something you can’t teach.
“He’s very mature in how he handles himself.”
William & Mary went 15-39 overall and 3-21 in the Colonial Athletic Association this past spring under coach Brian Murphy, who is in his sixth year. The Tribe won the CAA and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016.
Photo of Matt Howat by Albert Jacquez