’s first high school game set the stage for his entire baseball career at .
Huettner had spent the majority of his time playing short stop and pitcher, but he leaped at the opportunity to start in left field as a freshman. It was the first time he’d played varsity baseball and in the outfield.
Nonetheless, during that freshman year he played a solid game both defensively and offensively, getting a couple of hits and batting in a couple of runs.
“I’d get thrown into situations I’d never been in before and have to fit myself in,” Huettner said. “I was proud of the way I responded.”
He proceeded to spend his ninth-grade season – and every season since – playing every position that became available, just to earn playing time. The roster lists his positions as P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF.
“He’s just athletic,” Windward Coach said. “He’s coachable. The world can come crashing down around him, and he won’t be fazed. I can yell at him, and he’ll just say ‘OK’ and go about his business.”
Huettner was the only non-senior starter on the Wildcats' 2009 Southern Section semifinal team that boasted seven talented 12th-graders, including Huettner's older brother James. In those days, he took a backseat to the eaders around him, but he silently took notes, identifying skills he could use when his time came.
“Everyone on that team had been playing together for a while and they were very close,” Huettner said. “There would always be someone there to pick you up if you made a mistake. I wanted to carry that on with this team. As one of the leaders, I want to be there to pick the team up or make a clutch hit because that’s what they would’ve done.”
As this year’s squad relies on a core group of sophomores, Huettner has had plenty of time to put his leadership into practice. And now, according to Powell, everyone wants to be like him.
“In the last three years, he’s been the quiet guy in the corner,” Powell said. “This year, he really came into his own and became a leader. Every one of the kids would tell you it’s Mike Huettner’s team.”
At last Friday's game during the Wildcats' 15-9 victory over Flintridge Prep, Huettner went four-for-five batting in the lead-off spot, with a double, four runs scored and one RBI. He also pitched the first three innings.
Sophomore , also a shortstop, has been playing baseball with Huettner since he was a child, and said he admires Huettner’s talent and leadership ability.
“He’s quiet, but he leads by example,” Savitsky said. “He’s always hustling. He’s always the first one on the field and one of the last to leave. He’ll do anything the coach asks him to do.”
If Windward (12-10 overall, 6-0 in league) is going to reach its goal of winning the outright title it will require beating Brentwood on Tuesday and Thursday. Windward and Brentwood are both undefeated in league play heading into their home-and-home series.
“If you ask any of my coaches who they want to handle a pressure situation, I’d be surprised if any of them didn’t say Michael Huettner,” Powell said. “I know I’m better and the program is better for having him involved.”
Huettner and five other seniors – , , , and – will be honored at Tuesday’s Senior Day game at .
Powell is already emotional thinking about saying his goodbyes. Since Huettner has no plans to pursue college baseball, he will be bidding farewell to the sport he has loved and shared with both his brother and his father since T-ball.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet, but it will definitely be sad,” Huettner said. “But we still have games to play. As seniors we decided anything less than the third round of the playoffs would be disappointing. That’s definitely our goal.”