June 24, 2013
Boston College sophomore John Nicklas is playing for the Sag Harbor Whalers in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. The right-handed pitcher worked mostly out of the bullpen for the Eagles and has tallied 23 strikes outs in his team leading 26.1 innings pitched this summer.
On Saturday, Nicklas picked up his first win for Sag Harbor defeating the Riverhead Tomcats 11-5. In his fourth start of the summer, Nicklas went seven innings, striking out five and walking only two to help his team that is just a game and a half out of first place.
First off, what has your experience been like playing in the Hamptons so far this summer?
The Hamptons League has been awesome so far. The competition is really good and it has been fun to meet new teammates from around the country and hearing about their seasons. I'm playing for the Sag Harbor Whalers, and I really lucked out because Sag Harbor is beautiful, and being surrounded by beaches, yachts and ridiculous cars is a cool scene. My coaches Brendan Monaghan and Josh Epstein are great guys who know the game and have been really helpful in developing me into a starting pitcher thus far. I have no complaints and I love playing for the Whalers.
You are currently leading the team in strikeouts, appearances and innings pitched. What do you contribute to your early success?
I honestly didn't know I was leading the team in any categories, but I'm excited to learn that. My success thus far has come from getting ahead of batters and pounding the strikezone. Coach Epstein, the Whalers' pitching coach, preaches many of the same notions Coach Friedholm preaches about: pitching to contact and getting groundball outs. My goal every game I start isn't to strike out every batter, but to be effective, get first pitch strikes and limit the number of walks, so I can go deep into games.
How have you been spending your free time?
I spend a lot of my free time working in construction where my co-workers and I are demoing a home and gutting the interior so it can be remodeled. I also spend time at the gym and at the beach. Other than that, my time is spent at the field or at different restaurants and cafes in the Sag Harbor village.
Have you seen any famous celebrities yet?
No, not yet. But Nick Colucci and I worked at Meryl Streep's house, cleaning out her garage and power washing her pool patio. It was a cool experience even though we worked like dogs.
What is it like playing with teammate Nick Colucci and new teammates from around the country?
Playing with Nick this summer has been a lot of fun. Our teammates make fun of us because we are always together, car-pooling and getting food. But it's been really helpful because I can help him out by watching his stance and swing when he's up to bat and he helps me when I'm pitching telling me if my mechanics get sloppy or if I should mix pitches up to some batters.
I really lucked out as far my other teammates go. My team is full of cool guys who enjoy winning and competing each day. You hear a lot of the time that some summer ball teams just relax and don't care about the wins and losses but this team is full of guys who compete until the last pitch, which is a testament shows in some of our come-from-behind wins in late innings of games. It's just a great group of guys.
Outside of baseball, what was one of your favorite moments at BC during your freshman year?
Freshman year was full of great memories and moments, but I'd have to say some of the best moments were the days spent in Mac [McElroy Commons] after a long practice. The freshman baseball guys would grab a few tables, get an absurd amount of food, and just sit and talk for sometimes hours without moving. These were the moments we got to really know one another and form good friendships as teammates and friends.
Q&A by senior John Hennessy