Assumption's Nick Gottilla
Winning edge: Davenport Assumption's Nick Gottilla was part of two state championship teams and another squad which reached the state semifinals. He was involved in more than 100 victories the past three seasons.
In his senior season, Gottilla was co-Mississippi Athletic Conference player of the year, first team all-district and Class 3A first team all-state for a second straight season.
The leadoff hitter finished with a .361 average, 15 extra-base hits (5 homers), 23 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
“We battled through a lot of ups and downs this year,” Gottilla said. “You can’t win every game in baseball. I’m pretty proud of what we did.”
Gottilla said the 3-2 substate final win over sixth-ranked Fairfield was the game he’ll remember most from this summer. He had 15 strikeouts on the mound and managed to slow down a potent Fairfield lineup.
“It was a chippy game,” he said. “We all came together as a group, played really good baseball and got the job done. During the playoffs, you don’t care how you win as long as you win.”
The Knights won the MAC title, their second in three years. Gottilla has left a blueprint for future Assumption baseball players.
“I’ve been pretty blessed to go to the state tournament three years, win the thing twice,” he said. “A lot of kids don’t get to do that. Hopefully, that can motivate players in the future and give them something to work toward.”
Mixed bag: Gottilla had some uncertainty going into his senior season. He underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder (non-pitching arm) during the offseason, an injury sustained during his freshman football season.
The pitcher/outfielder said the injury worsened over time and eventually was a labrum tear.
“I missed the weight room for like five months, so I think that had a little bit of an impact on my velocity this year,” Gottilla said. “Swinging the bat, I was really stiff for the first few months.
“I was a little worried about how things were going to go earlier in the spring. By the end of the spring, it was manageable.”
Despite his pitching numbers, which included a team-high nine wins, an ERA of 1.31 and a MAC-best 95 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings, Gottilla was not thrilled with his season on the mound.
He delivered in the postseason. He struck out 15 in the substate final and followed with four shutout innings of relief against Boone in a state quarterfinal victory.
“I picked it up a little bit in the playoffs, but overall it could have been a better season pitching,” he said.
Remaining a Knight: Gottilla will pack his bags and make the move from the Quad-Cities to Orlando in the next week. He will join the University of Central Florida baseball program.
The Knights are coming off a 36-22 season in the American Athletic Conference. They return just one of the four pitchers on their staff who recorded at least 10 starts last spring.
“It will be an adjustment, but I’m excited for it,” Gottilla said. “It is a chance to play Division I baseball and live in Florida. At the end of the day, it will be good for me to explore a new place and broaden my horizons a bit.
“I still feel I have a lot of room to develop, and those coaches can get me to where I need to be.”
Gottilla said the fall season likely will determine if he’ll concentrate just on pitching or if there could be an opportunity to be a two-way player.
“I’m a pretty versatile guy,” he said. “I can make an impact on the mound, at the plate or in the field. I’ll do whatever they’ll ask me to do. I’m just excited for that opportunity to prove myself.”
— Compiled by Matt Coss