ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Schalmont High School baseball team is two wins away from winning its second state championship in three years.
For the seven seniors on the Schalmont baseball team, Friday was their final practice on their home field. Heading into Saturday’s semifinals, one of the seniors will get the ball and will have more pressure than the rest.
“Yeah, I’m throwing,” Chris Hamilton said. “I gotta pitch tomorrow. Of course I’m throwing.”
Hamilton wasn’t always a starting pitcher, but that changed after the Sabres lost to Albany Academy early in the year.
“He came up to me after that first game and said, ‘You know, I need the ball next time,’” head coach Chris Teta said. “I said, “What do you mean?’ He goes, ‘I’m pitching against Academy next time.’ I said, ‘You want to start?’ He goes, ‘I’m pitching against Academy.’ I’m like, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Thus began Hamilton’s career as a starting pitcher even though he’ll tell you it’s not his biggest strength.
“I think hitting,” he said. “I’m going to college to be a hitter and outfielder.”
But his team needed him on the mound, and so that’s where he went. And during his last start, he threw 138 pitches.
As a former relief pitcher, he had never pitched 138 pitches before. But that was more than a week ago, and Hamilton said his arm is ready to go.
“I was rested for five years waiting for this point,” he said. “So I came to coach and told him I was ready to pitch and my arm feels good.”
That’s good news for the Sabres who get an extra boost of confidence with Hamilton on the mound.
“Chris goes out there like he’s gonna strike everybody out, and that’s what you want to see in your pitcher,” Jake Defayette said. “A pitcher with a huge amount of confidence, and it’s great to see him when he pitches.”
Hamilton will lead the Sabres onto the field against Fredonia in the semifinals on Saturday. If they win, the championship game would be immediately after at 4 p.m.