St. Aloysius baseball star Pitre signs with Mississippi Gulf Coast

Published 4:34 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

Matthew Pitre is a tall young man at about 6 feet, 3 inches. He’s grown in stature the past couple of years as well, from a young baseball player with potential to a team leader, and now into a college signee.

Pitre, a junior pitcher for St. Aloysius, has signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. He celebrated the achievement with family, teammates and classmates at a ceremony in the school’s library on Monday.

“I’m very pumped,” Pitre said. “Baseball is a part of my life. I’ve done this my whole life and it’s just awesome. There’s no words that can describe it.”

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Pitre is the second Warren County baseball player from the Class of 2023 to sign with Gulf Coast. Warren Central catcher Seth Sterling is also headed there. Not only will the two be part of the same battery next season, they’ll also room together.

“It was kind of funny. He said he was still looking for a roommate and I was like, ‘Well, I’m going down there tomorrow,’” Pitre laughed. “That was really cool. That was pointing me in the right direction.”

Pitre is a three-year starter for St. Al as both a pitcher and infielder. He developed into St. Al’s ace over the past two seasons and signed with Gulf Coast as a pitcher.

Pitre has 128 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings pitched over the past three seasons. His fastball is currently in the mid-80s, but St. Al coach Sid Naron said college coaches have told him Pitre has a lot of upside because of his size.

“There’s a lot of projectability in his frame. They see a guy who can really pack in some more muscle and obviously get his velocity even higher,” Naron said. “Every coach was saying he has a lot higher ceiling than where he’s at now.”

Pitre’s intelligence and leadership skills are also a plus. He’ll attend Gulf Coast on an academic scholarship, not a baseball one — a huge bonus because of college baseball’s limit of 11.7 athletic scholarships per team — and spent the past two seasons growing more comfortable in his role with the Flashes.

When Tristan Wilbanks was injured in 2022, Pitre stepped up as their top pitcher. This season, although the Flashes struggled to a 4-22 record, he kept them in most of the games he pitched.

“He’s done a really good job for us, especially on the mound. He picked up a lot of innings that were needed,” Naron said. “He was thrown in the fire probably earlier than he needed to be as a sophomore and did a really good job, and then this year he was kind of our guy. He was on the back end of some tough losses. As the season went along he got stronger and stronger, and ultimately that’s the reason colleges were starting to notice him.”

Pitre was also being recruited by Mississippi Delta, East Mississippi and Belhaven. He said the deal was clinched for him after taking a visit to Gulf Coast, and for Gulf Coast it was after he struck out 13 batters against Adams County Christian in his final start of the season.

“One of my last games I pitched was one of my best games this year. They saw that and really liked it,” Pitre said. “I really needed to have a good game to keep going, because I wanted to look for a juco. It really helped clinch that spot.”

Pitre is the sixth St. Al player to sign with a college program in the past four years. He said he’ll continue to do his part to make sure he’s not the last.

“It’s great. I can’t wait to get down there and work even harder and go somewhere else. Go to a D-I hopefully,” Pitre said. “And tell them all about my people here in Vicksburg. I want to help out the people in my class and represent St. Al.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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