MORRISTOWN Between his junior and senior seasons Morristowns Geoff Baldwin did a lot of work to improve his baseball skills.
He opted out of playing American Legion baseball locally and played in Canada for the Montreal Titans, a travel team that played a 40-game schedule against a mix of American Legion teams and U.S. collegiate teams.
Baldwin also studied the game any way he could, watching as much on television as possible, as well as reading about pitching and hitting and studying instructional videos.
The work paid off as Baldwin had a memorable senior season for Morristown, leading the Green Rockets to their first divisional title since 1994, taking the Northern Athletic Conference West Division with a perfect 12-0 record.
Baldwin went 8-1 for Morristown with a 1.33 earned-run average and struck out 81 in 42 innings. He was equally impressive at the plate, hitting .700 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs along with 15 stolen bases. Baldwin, who had 28 hits in 40 at-bats, had a .797 on-base percentage. He is the Times All-North MVP among NAC schools.
Hes a great kid and a great leader, Morristown coach Mike Roberts said. Hes a great help with the other kids in practice. Hes always there and hes on time. Hes got a great personality and hes got a great work ethic.
Morristowns season ended in disappointment, falling 5-2 to Parishville-Hopkinton in the Section 10 Class D semifinals, the only loss of the season for the Green Rockets.
I think the team was great, Baldwin said. We were able to put a banner up in our gym for the first time since 1994, the year I was born. I think it was great we all pulled together and put a banner up there. I would have loved to keep going in the states. Its unfortunate we had a bad game against Parishville. Baseball is a funny game.
Baldwin had a decent junior season for Morristown and helped his team to an 11-2 record. But, by the start of this season, Roberts could see he had a completely different player to work with.
I really tried to improve my pitching mechanics, focus on them, make sure I got it all set, Baldwin said. I worked on my hitting and fielding as well. All around, I worked hard. My summer coach in Montreal (Ian Jordan) helped me a lot. I read a lot of articles on pitching mechanics, watched videos. I watch a lot of baseball. Whenever there is a Yankee game on TV we are watching it.
Said Roberts, He developed his curve ball and breaking ball a lot better too. That added to batters being off-balance more. Everything was better. His mechanics were more tuned this year. He has a knowledge of the game. Hes an extremely bright kid.
Baldwin is a member of the National Honor Society and wants to be an engineer, which made Clarkson University in nearby Potsdam a logical choice for the next stop in his career.
Im really excited about having the opportunity to contribute to the baseball program at Clarkson, Baldwin said. They talked to me about pitching. (Coach Jim Kane) mentioned that he wanted to use me in the field, too. It was really the (educational) program that brought me there for engineering. That was the deciding factor.
Its a large step from the West Division of the NAC to playing NCAA Division III baseball. But Baldwin is certain his experience last summer in Montreal will make it smoother.
Thats given me a taste of the next level, Baldwin said. They do go and compete with a lot of college teams and they do win. It was nice to see what the next level will be like.