The ‘boys of summer’ are back! With all the intensity of state scholastic playoffs finally over, players can relax and just play the game they love.
Nate Abbe, pitcher for both Council Rock North and the Newtown American Legion team, relishes both experiences. “For North everyone loved everyone. It was a real team atmosphere. We all picked each other up. We all cheered each other on no matter what. In summer ball its many of the same guys. We had such a long season (at Council Rock) some of us are tired. Summer ball is more of a time to let loose and have fun where North was more serious.”
The main problem for the Newtown legion team, known as the Tropics, was assembling all their talent for any given game. After the long exhausting playoff run many of the team’s senior representatives were away for senior week. The tally took its toll, leaving the Tropics with a 3-9 record.
Nate, a rising senior at Council Rock, summed up the predicament. “We have a really good team with talented players. Right now, many of our players are away at senior week. That is why we only had nine guys. We have a good group of guys. We’re very deep in the infield and the outfield when everyone is there. We have struggled just getting bodies the last couple of games but we can’t wait for playoffs.”
Newtown is faced with the daunting task of playing eight games in the next eight days. The burden should be lessened once players like Cavan Tully, Matt Shenot, and Carson Shane return from their senior weeks.
Regardless of the team’s roster make-up, Nate knows his role. Presently he is one of the Tropics top pitchers who sports a 1.94 ERA. After five mound appearances, he has struck out 19 batters and issued only 11 free passes.
Mastering his craft ranks as Nate’s top priorities in legion ball. “I throw three pitches right now, a fastball, a curveball, and a change-up. I’m trying to master my change-up right now. I have pretty good command of my fastball and curve. I’m working on my change-up over the summer.”
Nate already has a sound attitude about pitching. “I always loved how you can control the pace of the game. All the attention is on you. Basically, you dictate the outcome of your team wining or losing. I survive under pressure. That constant pressure of your making that perfect pitch is very enjoyable for me.”
Nate couples that frame of mind with a sound approach to each game. “I always approach a game by running through it in my head. It helps me to visualize getting people out. On the mound I always remember to take deep breaths and relax myself. The adrenalin flowing also means you’re not thinking about it too much. You need to have a real clear mind. If you start thinking about it you lose track of your pitches and start to become really wild.”
When not actually pitching Nate knows the value of caring for his valuable right arm. “Right now, in legion I usually throw about 100 pitches. I definitely ice after a game, go to a gym, run around and get that lactic acid out. I use to not ice and that was when my arm really hurt.”
With Nate on the hill and a newly revamped team of senior stalwarts, the Newtown Tropics should be primed for a strong legion playoff run. These ‘boys of summer’ know how to relax, hone their skills, and play winning baseball.