Featured: Brandon Chase | firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been quite a summer for Nick Dombkowski.
Thirteen days after leading the West Springfield baseball team to a state Division I title to cap off his junior season, the left-handed pitcher announced Friday his commitment to play Division I baseball at the University of Hartford.
Dombkowski finished his the season with an with an 11-3 record and a Division I-leading 109 strikeouts in 79 2/3 inning. He averaged 9.6 Ks per seven innings, pitched three shutouts and had a 0.87 WHIP. Dombkowski pitched in all five of the Terriers' playoff games this season and won four of them. His postseason highlights include a two-hit shutout of Northampton in the Western Massachusetts quarterfinals, a 10-strikeout performance in the Western Mass. title game against Westfield, and a one-run, four-hit, eight-strikeout complete game in the state final against Lincoln-Sudbury.
The University at Albany, UMass, Bryant University, Quinnipaic University, UConn, the University of Rhode Island and Division II St. Anselm College also expressed interest in Dombkowski. Hartford went 37-18 in 2016 with a 14-9 mark in the America East Conference. Dombkowski chose Hartford because of how the program develops pitchers.
"A lot of people call it The Pitcher's University because of how they develop guys," Dombkowski said. "They take a lot of guys who get overlooked. You don't have to be throwing 95 straight out of high school to be successful there."
Dombkowski features five pitches — a four-seam fastball which tops out at 88 mph, a two-seam fastball a curve, slider and changeup.
West Side's ace was also named MassLive's Division I Tournament MVP and to MassLive's starting nine.
Dombkowski will join three local products on the Hartford roster in the spring of 2018. Last season's MassLive Western Mass. Baseball Player of the Year, former Westfield star Chris Sullivan, hit .317/.415/.423 in his freshman campaign for the Hawks. Sophomore catcher Erik Ostberg, a Northampton native and 2014 Williston grad, hit .340 with 47 RBIs and was named First Team All-New England. Minnechaug right-handed pitcher Nate Florence committed to Hartford in August 2015 and he will begin his freshman season next spring.
Dombkowski liked Hartford because he saw the immediate impacts that Sullivan, Ostberg and other underclassmen made to the team.
"Seeing freshmen play, that played into (the decision) because I could help the team right away," he said.
Four Hawks have been drafted since 2014, including lefty and Brockton native Sean Newcomb as the 15th overall pick in 2014 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Newcomb has since been traded to the Atlanta Braves organization. Hartford's most recent draft pick was third baseman Trey Stover, selected by the Kansas City Royals in 2015.