Hangin’ out with … Nick Dombkowski

Hangin’ out with … Nick Dombkowski

How would you describe yourself as a pitcher? Are there any guys in Major League Baseball you try to emulate? "I like to be a competitor on the mound and someone the guys can trust every weekend for my school or summer ball. I kind of pitch like David Price with how he pitches to contact. I’m not very overpowering. I like to hit my spots, go out there and compete, and just focus on that game or that pitch. And I love to win."

You stepped into the rotation right away as a freshman, winning six games and Rookie and Pitcher of the Year honors in the America East Conference. What would you point to as the keys to your success? "I talked to a lot of my friends who play college ball and they mentioned that just being consistent will take you very far. You pitch once a week as a starting pitcher, so I try to keep the same routine or have a set process about how I want to attack that week. It’s always about throwing with a purpose, whether it’s in the bullpen, playing catch or right before the game. You just want to pitch with a purpose and not just go out there to throw."

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West Springfield's Andre Marrero enjoying first-year success in front of hometown crowd with Valley Blue Sox

West Springfield's Andre Marrero enjoying first-year success in front of hometown crowd with Valley Blue Sox

From an early age, Andre Marrero knew he wanted to play baseball.

As he started to play travel ball, though, the then-11-year-old realized something you wouldn't expect for an athlete now playing Division I college ball and leading a top collegiate summer team.

He wasn't the best player on the team ... but he could become one.

"My father and I decided to work every day to become a premier team player," Marrero said.

Over the next two years, Marrero and his father, Joel, continued building his strength and growth as a player. He made his way through travel teams to extra training camps and now, the rising junior is one of the top players for both Quinnipiac University and the Valley Blue Sox.

After joining the Connecticut Bombers travel-baseball team at 13, Marrero met Peter Fatse, the founder of Advanced Performance Academy in Palmer in 2010. Fatse is not only the business' owner but the director of athletic development as well.

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Interview with Hudson Valley Renegades Erik Ostberg (Rays)

Interview with Hudson Valley Renegades Erik Ostberg (Rays)

Erik Ostberg is a product of Division 1 Hartford and was selected by Tampa Bay in the 13thround of the 2017 MLB Draft. Ostberg bats from the left side and throws from the right. He catches and DH’s along with seeing some innings at 1st base. He is currently slashing .304/.363/.413/.776, which is positive improvement from his first year in the minor leagues. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Ostberg about his approach at the plate, things he’s continually working on to improve, his hobbies outside of baseball, and his thoughts on playing multiple sports in school.

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Nick Ahmed Becoming Offensive Force for DBacks

Nick Ahmed Becoming Offensive Force for DBacks

Nick Ahmed walked into Diamondbacks’ clubhouse Saturday less than five minutes before it was closed to the media. That didn’t leave a lot of time to ask Ahmed why, in his fifth major-league season, he’s suddenly become an offensive force. Yes, that's right. The words Nick Ahmed and offensive force in the same sentence.

Consider the numbers. It’s early August and Ahmed already has set career highs for home runs (16), RBIs (57) and doubles (24). While his on-base percentage entering Saturday remained low at .296, his OPS of .747 is 30 points above his previous high, set last season.

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Hartford's Nick Dombkowski Earns Freshman All-America Honors From Baseball America

Hartford's Nick Dombkowski Earns Freshman All-America Honors From Baseball America

The awards keep rolling in for University of Hartford’s freshman ace. Nick Dombkowski, of West Springfield, Mass., was named to the Baseball America Freshman All-America Second Team after one of the best rookie campaigns in program history.

In 90 2/3 innings, Dombkowski posted a 2.88 ERA and struck out 71 batters en route to being named America East Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He went 6-5, and walked just 27 batters. His strong season helped the Hawks win both the regular season conference title and the tournament championship.

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The seven-year quest - and counting - to find Nick Ahmed's swing

The seven-year quest - and counting - to find Nick Ahmed's swing

MILWAUKEE – Pete Fatse paced back and forth across his yard. It was late April of this year, a pleasant day to be outside — temperatures had climbed into the 60s all week in his western Massachusetts town — but he was not out to enjoy the bloom of spring. Instead, he had a phone pressed to his ear, the voice on the other end located 2,500 miles away. His best friend was exhorting him for a favor.

Nick Ahmed and Fatse had known each other since their college days playing for the University of Connecticut. Fatse was two years older, a 2009 draftee of the Brewers in the 24th round. Ahmed followed in the 2011 draft, taken 85th overall by the Braves. Fatse is out of baseball, but he’s still the Diamondbacks shortstop’s closest confidant. That day, he remembered Ahmed repeating the same request over and over.

“Remind me to stay the course.”

Ahmed was hitting .197, and it was only human to want to chuck whatever he was working on at the plate. But it...

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