Ireland national team member Patrick Mitchell continues to improve game with Phoenix – News-Herald

Ever since he was little, baseball has been a passion for Andrews Osborne’s Patrick Mitchell. His father Sean played for the first iteration of the Ireland national team in 1996 and later became a part of the coaching staff.

Mitchell remembers traveling around Europe with his family when his father was traveling to games. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and he succeeded early on in his playing days.

“I wanted the same experience that he needed to have to play on the national team,” Mitchell said. “When I was 15, I tried my hand at the national team and got promoted to the reserve team. If someone was hurt, I was called. The next year I made it onto the travel team and last year in Slovakia I was a starting XI there.”

Being part of the Ireland national team at a young age allowed Mitchell to quickly develop his game. Ireland doesn’t have youth leagues like the US. So Mitchell was thrown into the deep end and told to swim without a float.

Mitchell saw the challenge and found early success with his national team and 18-and-under spots. He credits battling more experienced players with developing his game to where it is today.

“At home, we have a unique opportunity to get kids playing,” Mitchell said. “There aren’t many kids between the ages of 12 and 18 who want to play baseball. From the age of 13 you play against adults in the adult leagues. A lot of these kids aren’t that scared of facing people who are better than them, they’re used to competing against people with more experience and giving them something to chase after.”

For his senior year of high school, however, Mitchell decided to bring his talents to Andrews Osborne rather than stay at home. Main responsible for this decision was the general manager of the Ireland under-18 national team and head coach of Phoenix, Jay Murphy.

Murphy took over the job at Andrews Osborne in 2020 and led the Phoenix to an 11-3 record last year. With his past connection to Murphy and his drive to continue taking his game to the next level, Mitchell decided to cross the Atlantic and join his coach at Willoughby.

“Coach Murphy got the head coaching position here a few years ago and that was a big part of my decision to come here,” Mitchell said. “When we were in Slovakia for the European Championships in 2021, he coached the national team from here as he was unable to travel due to COVID. After the tournaments he had a lot of contact with my father about me coming here too and I jumped at the opportunity.”

In his Phoenix campaign this season, Mitchell has three wins with 37 strikeouts and a microscopic 0.70 ERA. From the batter’s box, Mitchell has had six RBI in Andrews Osborne’s five games this season.

One thing Mitchell noticed during his time at Andrews Osborne is that his father helped him develop a high baseball IQ. Thanks to his time playing against more experienced players while developing his own game, he is able to see the game through a different lens than his teammates.

“The mindset he instilled in me was a huge help from the start,” Mitchell said. “A lot of people in the US have a mindset about the game that isn’t always what it should be. I approach the game with a different perspective and IQ for the game than the traditional American model.”

While he drew a lot of attention overseas early in his career, Murphy knew Mitchell would be on par if he came to the States. One of the main areas Murphy highlighted was Mitchell’s speed of play. Despite being raised to do everything instantly, Mitchell still adapts to the pace of the game.

“His skills mixed with his background of being involved in football from a young age allowed him to set himself apart from other kids in Ireland,” said Murphy. “Here he finds out that there are others who are just as good. He needs to find different levels to get through his game and he has done that in some areas but he still needs to make progress in others.”

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