Calmly and quietly, West Forsyth pitcher Derrick Pickvet had a senior season he’ll never forget. Unfortunately, he’ll also never forget the heartbreak from May 1.
West’s banner season, which included a 15-3 region mark, ended in 8-3 and 6-2 losses to Etowah in the first round of the state playoffs. The Wolverines not only had home field advantage, but Pickvet, the starter for Game 1, took the first loss hard. He gave up a two-run home run early and the team never recovered.
“We thought we were going to take them in two games,” Pickvet said. “I gave up that home run, the game slipped away and then the second game we lost pretty bad. It was sad, knowing that was the last time I ever played in this jersey, with those coaches and those teammates. It was emotional, and I’d do anything to go out and have another season.”
It would be hard to have another season like he did. Pickvet finished 2015 with a 1.52 ERA, a 5-1 record, 46 strikeouts and didn’t give up a home run until the one bomb Etowah sent out of his home ball park when it mattered most. His 50 2/3 innings was by far the most commanded on the mound by a West starter all season.
Now, Pickvet is prepared to transition his game to the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, where he will work on implementing his talent into the Nighthawks rotation. UNG went 38-17 and 22-8 in the Peach Belt Conference (NCAA Division II) this past season.
Pickvet doesn’t articulate individual goals, however. He’ll instead remain laser-focused on the same task that was at hand at West — winning a championship.
“I’m really glad I get to continue playing,” Pickvet said. “The goal going into the next level is just to help that team out. North has a really good program, and I’m hoping we can win a national championship. That’s definitely my goal.”
Question: What does winning the Forsyth County News Pitcher of the Year man to you?
Pickvet: “I was region pitcher of the year too, but it’s a big deal.”
Question: Don’t those mean a lot considering the competition you’ve faced?
Pickvet: “Oh yeah, it’s crazy. Everybody in this county, with all of the people going to big schools, draft picks, Chalmers, Seth Beer, a few from our team at West, it’s crazy to think that all of this talent exists in this county and the surrounding counties.”
Question: How did you get into baseball?
Pickvet: “I actually grew up in Michigan, and my Dad ran a tee ball league. He managed the fields and everything. Baseball wasn’t nearly as big up there as it was down here, but I liked it and stuck with it.”
Question: What was your senior season like?
Pickvet: “Seeing my teammates on senior night, with 13 seniors, and for so many of them that was their last time to ever play in a uniform. For me, it was a great ride, but a humbling experience. I’m glad I’ll have the chance to continue to play.”