Times Staff Reporter
The Northview baseball team could receive a boost to an already prolific offense with the possible future addition of a 15-year-old powerhouse.
Nate Newton, who recently completed his eighth-grade year at North Clay Middle School, was an absolute terror to opposing pitchers in the Terre Town Pony League this spring, blasting nine home runs in just 13 games. Though he didn't have official stats, coach Jamie Booth said his top player batted "well over .700."
Newton was such a force, opposing teams had to find creative ways to pitch around him, sometimes implementing techniques that defy general baseball logic.
According to Newton and his father Patrick, Nate came to the plate in the top half of the final inning with the bases loaded in a tie game. Instead of giving the slugging machine an opportunity to blow the game wide open, the opposing team chose to intentionally walk him, thus allowing the go-ahead run to score.
"I really couldn't believe that was happening," Nate said.
Though he said it was slightly frustrating being pitched around, Newton acknowledged it was to be expected when considering the mass production he has seen early in his baseball career.
With the Pony season over, Newton now moves on to the Terre Town All-Star league, which features young talent from all over the area, though the vast majority comes from Terre Haute. Newton said he was unaware of any other Clay County natives taking part in the league. Booth will maintain his duties as Newton's coach.
Patrick Newton says he has been watching his son develop through a rigorous practice routine for several years, but confessed even he was surprised at the strides his son took during spring league play.
"There were times during the season where he would hit a shot that just made my jaw drop," Newton said. "It was very impressive."
There have been a few setbacks along the way for Newton, most notably being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Though he said it has cost his son some practice time, Patrick Newton says his son has done an excellent job of keeping the disease under control and it hasn't hindered his ability to train.
Following All-Star play, Newton's next objective is to prepare to get a shot to contribute right away at Northview. His father said he believes high school will give his son a great chance to see how he can handle himself against an accelerated level of competition.
"(Nate's) shown such great potential," Newton said. "I just want to see him continue to develop at the high school setting and see where it takes him."
Newton says his objective is to continue to work on making fundamental improvements to his game, hoping to tweak his abilities to near perfection.
"Practice makes perfect," Newton, who said he hopes to continue playing baseball at least through college, said. "If I keep practicing and doing what I've been doing, I think I can go pretty far."