Henry Knight, Switch Pitcher

Henry Knight pitching for Franklin High School
varsity team as a freshman in 2012
(Photo: Jerry Johnson)

Henry Knight

Nickname: "H"

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Franklin High School
(Class of 2015)

Summer Teams:
- inaugural season (21-20)
- 3rd in state, Mickey Mantle

Switch pitched 11 innings in a hot summer game, averaging 
11 pitches/inning

Primary Positions: 
LHP/RHP, SS/2B

Secondary Positions: 
C, 1B/3B, OF (played all 9 positions in high school)

Bats: Both (switch hitter)
Throws: Both (ambidextrous)

Pitches: fastball (4-seam & 2-seam), changeup, curveball, cutter, splitter
   [Throws 6 pitches for strikes with both arms]

Favorite pitches: 2-seamer, circle change, and cutter

Arm angles: 3/4 (both) and sidearm (right)

Gloves: Akadema ambidextrous six-finger glove for switch pitching.
   Right- and Left-handed fielding gloves.
   Right-handed catchers mitt.

Other Sports: Basketball, Golf, Tennis

For fun: Snowboarding, Wiffle Ball and throwing a football with either arm


Henry Knight shows his 2-seam fastball grips


How Henry Knight got started throwing with both arms:

Knight pitching lefty in HS
A natural righty, Henry Knight started throwing left-handed, by choice, when he turned 9-years-old. He asked for a left-handed baseball glove for his birthday and that's when it all started.

Knight played sandlot baseball after school every day – rotating positions and switch hitting. So, he thought that he might also have the ability to throw with both arms.

He said that pitching left-handed could give him an advantage over the good hitters – just like Jamie Moyer,  a left-handed pitcher for the Mariners. He was inspired by Moyer's ability to throw strikes and make the best batters look silly trying to hit his Bugs Bunny changeup.

The key to pitching left-handed was learning to throw the ball low in the strike zone, while changing speeds and location.


Pitching in Games

Six-finger ambidextrous glove
Before playing baseball in high school, Knight used two separate gloves for pitching left- and right-handed. In the first inning of a game he would use his left hand to pitch, then the following inning he would switch to throw right-handed. 

It's easier for a young pitcher to stay in a rhythm and throw strikes using one arm in an inning.

When he was older, he would switch throwing arms depending on the batter. Being his own reliever is a great way to get out of a jam and build confidence. Plus, switch pitching is a lot of fun.



2015 Season

This was Knight's senior season for the Franklin Quakers and his 4th year on varsity. Over his career he played all 9 positions for the team. In the off-season he did weight lifting and under/overload training, in addition to long toss, to keep both arms in shape for pitching. 

In the summer, he developed a feel for pitching and learned about effective velocity from coach Ken Knutson (former ASU pitching coach). Knight also worked on switch hitting with the BBB Kings 18U team.

The 2015 season was challenging since the team only had a dozen players, including several without experience. Henry encouraged former Little League players to join in order to field a team. Unfortunately, the starting catcher quit the team before the first game, so Henry spent a lot of time behind the plate. 

Positions played: Ambidextrous Pitcher, Catcher, First Base, Second Base

Now, Henry Knight is doing bullpen sessions to stay sharp for the summer season. He's  trying a different arm angle to optimize velocity, movement and command. He works on pickoff throws at the end of each session. He throws out the stretch to prepare for a role as a relief pitcher or closer.

Summer Baseball Highlights

Game 1: Fielded lots of ground balls at third base, then took the mound in the last inning with the bases loaded and closed out at game for the BBB Kings.

Game 2: Started on the mound right-handed throwing sidearm, like Pat Venditte, for the first time in a game. Threw 65 pitches over six inning with two hits and no earned runs. Induced lots of ground outs and weak pop ups - throwing the two-seamer and changeup. Recorded a quick a 3-pitch inning.

Game 3: Threw six innings sidearm, using only 60 pitches (80% strikes). Used effective velocity to keep batters off-balance and induced weak contact for easy outs. Struck out 3, issued no walks, and gave up one earned run. Won 8-2

Game 4: Relief pitcher in the 5th inning with the game tied 3-3. Threw four scoreless innings, using only 42 pitches (79% strikes). Batting left-handed, Knight drove in the go-ahead run with a line drive to center field. Won 9-3

Game 5: Leadoff hitter with two runs scored, with an RBI on a line drive to center field. Started the game at second base, then pitched sidearm in the 7th inning to close out the game. Late in the game, the Kings put up 4 runs on a monster grand slam by 'Big Boy' over the left field fence. Henry shut down the hard-hitting River Bandits with a 12-pitch  inning to pick up the save. Won 6-3

Game 6: Closer for the BBB Kings in the Inner-City Classic Tournament in Seattle. 100% first pitch strikes, one strikeout, one hit, and no runs scored. Mikio Habu picked up the win with 6 scoreless inning, while Henry Knight finished the shutout. Won 3-0

Game 7: Starter in a hot tournament game. Threw sidearm four innings in 95 degree heat using 46 pitches with 72% strikes. No walks, 3 hits, and no earned runs. Finished up with a 4-pitch inning, then moved to play 3rd base.

Game 8: Relief pitcher in a league game. Threw 3 innings, with no walks or earned runs. The umpire was calling a very tight strike zone, so Henry put the ball in play and relied on his teammates to make the plays.

Tournament Games: Pitched in 4 tournament games – going 1-1 with 2 saves. 
No earned runs in 10 IP, while throwing 73% strikes with no walks. Two of the games were played in 90+ degree heat. The final game reached 100 degrees in Lewiston, Idaho. Henry Knight averaged 12 pitches per inning in tournament play.

 
2014 Season

Franklin HS wins first game of season
Knight had fun going 3-for-3 
The Quakers had solid pitching in the first game of 2014 - blanking the Renton HS team. Henry Knight closed out the game pitching left-handed – using only 10 pitches to get two groundouts, plus one strikeout. 

Game 2: Pitched right-handed in relief – retired three batters in 10 pitches.

Game 3: Closer right-handed for two innings picking up the save for Franklin.

Game 4: Closer left- and right-handed  struck out 4 in 2 IP.

Game 5: Relief right-handed - one K in 1 IP, no earned runs.

Game 6: Two 5-pitch innings - one lefty and one righty 

Game 7: Complete 7-inning game as LHP/RHP, with 85 pitches


Pitching Stats (as a closer)

0.00 ERA in 18 IP, 12 K, 1 BB 

12:1 Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio


Batting Stats
.526 BA; .640 OBP 
with a 10-game hitting streak at mid-season – batting lefty using a wood bat


Off-season baseball training

Henry Knight began working out routinely under the guidance of Kyle Boddy at Driveline Baseball - along side future college players. His goal is to build strength, enhance speed and increase velocity. 


During the off-season, Knight trained with pitching coaches Ken Knutson (ASU), Steve Bennett (Gonzaga), Scott Watson (WBI), Elliott Cribby (Seattle U) and Jason Kelly (Washington). The goal was to improve his throwing motion to increase velocity and command.  Plus, he learned 
arm care, dynamic warmup, and pitching drills used in college.

 
In the fall, Knight trained with pitching coach Ron Queen at the K Center in Seattle. The aim was to refine his pitching technique (based on video analysis) and to locate his breaking balls for strikes.


Knight works on hitting with a wood bat to prepare for the high school season.


2013 Season
Knight bunting for a base hit. 

College coaches taught Knight to bunt with 
a level bat. Now the ball stays fair 90% of the time -- 
putting pressure on the defense to make the play.  

(Photo: Linda Knight)

In the off-season, Henry Knight worked with college coaches on switch hitting, pitching and fielding at the Washington Baseball School and the K Center in Seattle.

Double Duty - Pitcher and Catcher

As a sophomore, Knight plays shortstop, catcher and pitcher for the Franklin Quakers in Seattle. As a switch hitter, he bats second in the order – with the ability to lay down a bunt right- or left-handed.

In 2013, Henry Knight's on base percentage was .525 while hitting second in the order for the varsity team. 

High School Season Stats
16 RBIs, 14 Runs, 19 hits in 19 games. Led the team with 6 sacrifice bunts.

Summer Ball
In the summer, Henry Knight played shortstop and pitched for the Columbia City Reds team in the Puget Sound Baseball League. He also served as a catcher. 

As a starter for the Reds, he tallied a .647 BA and .750 OBP over the first ten games. 

Serving as a closer, Knight recorded a 0.93 ERA and 17K/1BB ratio in 22.2 IP.

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Game Highlight

Knight threw 94 strikes over 11 innings as a switch pitcher

and recorded nine scoreless innings on the mound

Henry Knight switch pitched for 11 innings, in a tied game, throwing 87% first pitch strikes. He put the ball in play, relying on the fielders to make 9 ground ball and 20 fly balls outs. As a switch pitcher he averaged 11 pitches per inning and only walked one batter while throwing 94 strikes

In the 12th inning he moved to play shortstop with the game tied 4-4. 


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2012 Season

Franklin HS Quakers

Seattle's Franklin High School has a rich baseball history, including Hall of Fame third baseman Ron Santo and major league pitcher and manager Fred Hutchinson. The Rainier Valley was home to the Seattle Rainiers, a pro team that played in Sick's Stadium. Babe Ruth once hit three home runs in a game played near Franklin High.

2012 Franklin High School Baseball Team, Seattle.
Head Coach Tim Moody, right; Coach Rob Joyce, left  (Photo: Jerry Johnson)

As a 14-year-old, Henry Knight made the varsity team at Franklin High School - landing a starting role at second base. He also served as a relief pitcher and closer for the Quakers.

He still works diligently on switch hitting, even though he usually bats left-handed in games. The switch hitting practice pays off in games. One week, he went 4 for 5 batting right-handed vs. left-handed pitchers. He loves facing lefties, but there are only a few left-handers in the league.
Knight pitching right-handed as
a freshman on varsity

As a freshman on varsity, Henry Knight's on base percentage was  .519 with a .429 BA in the first ten games.


Switch Pitching in Games
Tim Moody, the head coach, called on "H" to do some relief pitching, right- or left-handed, depending on the situation. If he is playing infield, and the pitcher is struggling with his control, then Henry takes the mound right-handed. If he starts a new inning and has time to warm-up, then he throws left-handed.

The key to his pitching success is to throw a first-pitch strike - which Henry does 70% of the time. On the mound, he works on changing speed and location to keep hitters off balance. In a game against Roosevelt High, Henry threw 11 strikes on the first pitch, facing 13 batters (85% strikes) and put the ball in play.


Columbia City Reds 14U (22-9)
Henry Knight's summer team, the Columbia City Reds, competed in the Koufax State Tournament in July 2012, then advanced to play in the Regional Tournament. Knight was the starting shortstop and closer for the Reds, coached by Julian Almaraz. He works weekly with coach Ron Queen on developing his ambidextrous pitching and hitting.

Knight also trained with fielding, pitching and hitting coaches at the University of Washington.

As a switch hitter, Knight's on base percentage was .622 in the regular season, and over .700 in tournament games.

The Reds swept the Dow Memorial Day Tournament, in Redmond (home of Microsoft), where Henry Knight pitched five innings to close out the championship game - winning 3-2 in ten innings. He averaged nine pitches per inning – by pitching to contact and trusting the defense to make the routine plays.


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Similar ambidextrous players:

Pullin is a fast player, with serious tools, who was drafted by the Phillies out of Centralia High School in Washington. He plays 2nd base in the minor leagues.



"The Ninja" led the NCAA Division 1 in sacrifice bunts with 28. 
After graduating Werman played in the minor leagues for the Seattle Mariners.

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"Double DutyRadcliffe was a star Negro League pitcher and catcher.
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Photos courtesy of Jerry Johnson, Linda Knight, & Tim Knight
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