AUBURN | In his Auburn Doubledays debut, Travis Ott was all business.
The youngest member of the Auburn pitching staff threw five shutout innings against the Batavia Muckdogs Saturday. The 6-4 left-hander struck out six and allowed one hit and one walk.
Despite an outstanding start, chances are Ott registered more strikeouts than smiles on the mound. The 18 year-old, in his second professional season, is zeroed in on honing his craft.
"Every once in a while I joke around with people," Ott said. "But I try to stay in the zone and focused."
For Doubledays pitching coach Tim Redding, Ott’s New York-Penn League debut was impressive. Ott established his fastball early and challenged batters with inside pitches.
"He came out and set the tone early with his fastball and pounded the zone down," Redding said. "He was not afraid to pitch inside, which is what we preach."
Ott was just doing what he has always done.
"I was just going out there trying to throw strikes, not really focused on much," Ott said. "I was hitting the zone, throwing strikes, making sure they were going to put the ball in play and not past the defenders."
Ott has enjoyed success at every level he has played in his young career.
Ott, who threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in high school, set a Shippensburg, Pennsylvania varsity record with 112 strikeouts as a senior. He selected by the Washington Nationals in the 25th round in 2013, and quickly signed a deal to begin his pro career.
"I was hoping (to be drafted)," Ott said. "I had a lot of scouts that were interested."
Ott pitched all of last season in the Gulf Coast League. In 10 games, he was 3-0 with a 4.03 ERA, and recorded 32 strikeouts and 12 walks in 29 innings.
The GCL Nationals went 49-9 in 2013 -- one of the best winning percentages in professional baseball history -- and swept their way to the GCL championship.
"It's a very memorable season," Ott said. "I'll never forget that season. It's really good winning season, and I picked up my first professional win down there."
Ott’s repertoire remains the same since high school. Aside from mixing in a circle changeup and a curve, Ott relies heavily on his fastball, which used to sit in the high 80s and top out around 93 mph, but now is consistently in the low 90s.
His demeanor is also unchanged.
"It's just something I've always done,” Ott said. “I’ve always stayed serious.”