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Pitcher Griffin Bottomley turned in a great season for North Haven Senior American Legion baseball team this year, helping Post 76 notch a second-place finish in the Zone 2 standings. (Photo courtesy of Griffin Bottomley )
Griffin Bottomley helped the Post 76 Seniors continue their recent run of success in 2018 as North Haven claimed victory in eight of the 10 games in which he pitched. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Griffin Bottomley displayed great poise on the mound all summer long for the North Haven Senior American Legion baseball team—and it showed in the results. Griffin threw 35.2 innings for Post 76 during the recent summer season. In the 10 games he pitched, North Haven claimed victory eight times.
“When called upon, I was ready for what was asked of me every time I went out there to pitch,” Griffin says. “High school was definitely a bigger commitment, but I enjoyed Legion more, because of the opportunity and success I had.”
Griffin was a senior on the Indians’ team that advanced to the final of the Class L State Tournament in 2017. While he wanted to see more time on the hill, Griffin had a great time being part of a big postseason run with Head Coach Bob DeMayo’s squad.
“We were really a good team, and we were focused on winning another one for DeMayo and the town of North Haven,” says Griffin, who attends Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. “North Haven has a long history of being a good baseball town, so we were trying to extend that history. We came up short, but I was proud of what we were able to do.”
Griffin wanted the ball as much as possible as a member of North Haven’s Senior Legion squad. Head Coach Tim Binkoski loved the competitive spirit that Griffin showed when his pitcher toed the rubber.
“He had a competitor’s mindset, a bulldog mentality. He always wanted the ball and, when he was done pitching for the night, he would ask when he was scheduled to throw next,” says Binkoski. “He did a great job of getting himself in physical and baseball shape while being at [Marist]. He could’ve easily went to pitch in school, but chose to focus on his academics. It shows the kind of character and competitiveness he has.”
Griffin features four pitches in his repertoire. He throws a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball, along with a curveball and a slider. This summer, Griffin focused on effectively mixing up all of his pitches throughout his appearances.
“The curve came around 8th grade, when we switched to the big field. Then I developed the slider around my sophomore year, and that became a good weapon for me,” Griffin says. “I was able to mature into a better pitcher, where I could locate my pitches more and, especially this year, I was able to utilize all my pitches and spot them to have a full arsenal to use against my opposition.”
Griffin gives a lot of credit to his older brother Austin for helping him learn how to pitch. Griffin would often experiment with different pitches while playing with his brother in the backyard.
“I fiddled around with different grips. With my brother being four years older, he was an influence for me. He’d show me certain grips when I was younger and teach me to throw certain pitches when he learned them,” says Griffin. “I just took it from there. I’d have mechanical changes and try to find the optimal release point. It’s just trial and error.”
Griffin isn’t shy about seeking strikeouts when he’s on the mound. Like most pitchers, Griffin trusts that he has the stuff to get the job done.
“That was my competitive spirit. Going into an at-bat, I wasn’t hoping for a ground ball. I wanted to blow it by him,” Griffin says. “Certain situations, like a man on first with one out, I’m looking for a ground ball to shortstop to turn the double play. But if nobody was on, I’m going for the strikeout. At the same time, you’ll take the flyout to right field.”
Even though Griffin isn’t playing baseball at Marist, he likes pitching so much that he needed to get back on the field this summer. Griffin feels glad that he was able to master his craft and put plenty of zeros on the scoreboard for North Haven.
“I like the fact that you’re in control of the game. I like being able to take the game into my own hands and keep the other team from scoring runs,” says Griffin. “It’s an art. I love the strategy and psychology that goes into it.”
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