Colin Hawk served as a closer for Roncalli as a junior with some mixed results.
This season, Roncalli High School baseball coach Keith Hatfield needed Hawk to become a top starter, and Hawk has delivered.
The right-hander has a 10-1 record to help lead the Rebels (23-8-1) to the Class 4A state championship game against top-ranked Lake Central (31-1) at 7 p.m. today at Victory Field.
Hawk has a 2.38 ERA with 22 walks and 58 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings. That is in contrast to his 6.34 ERA and 16 walks in 17 innings last season.
Hatfield said Hawk began throwing more during the offseason to reduce the number of walks.
"I feel more comfortable out there," Hawk said. "I've obviously pitched more innings and that has helped out in getting settled on the mound."
Still, Hawk doesn't want to take too much credit.
"My role is I just put the ball over the plate and my defense makes plays behind me," he said.
Hawk has thrown in every state tournament game and earned the victory in four out of the Rebels' five wins.
"He's really been on his game and (is) peaking for us at the right time," Hatfield said. "He has good command on the mound and throws more than one pitch for a strike. Anytime you can do that, generally you're going to have some success."
Hatfield said Hawk's fastball is about 85 to 87 mph.
Hawk, who plays shortstop when he isn't pitching, signed with the University of Cincinnati in November.
He was recruited as a middle infielder but said he would pitch if needed.
He started at second base as a sophomore and moved to shortstop last season.
Hawk, who bats leadoff, is hitting .384 with eight doubles, one homer and 17 RBIs.
"He's a great all-around player, really good speed and good discipline at the plate," Hatfield said.
As a junior, Hawk hit .291 with four home runs after batting .376 with eight homers and 34 RBIs the year before. This season, he is second in average to Joe Ardizzone's .404.
"We have amazing talent on the team," Hawk said. "We started out really strong, going 6-0 and beating some of the best teams in the state. Toward the middle of the season, we had a little slump, but I knew it was time to get out of it."
Hawk said the Rebels got a boost from winning the Marion County tournament May 15.
He likes that the pressure is on Lake Central because of its top ranking. Hatfield said Lake Central had the hardest path to the final.
"They have had to beat a lot of good pitchers and it's going to be a challenging game for us," Hatfield said.
The Indians have two strong pitchers in left-hander Jimmy McNamara (9-1) and right-hander Taylor Lehnert (11-0).
Both have more than 100 strikeouts and will pitch for Central Michigan next season.