Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring one thing is for sure. Colin Warner will be playing baseball.
“I could always play baseball,” Warner said.
Warner went to the Pyle Center in Roxana as a youngster to watch the kids play baseball and wanted to do the same thing. He played Little League ball through middle school.
He had tried his hand in other sports, such as football and basketball, but he always returned to baseball. And while most are gearing up for football and other sports that dominate the fall schedule, Warner is getting ready for Fall Ball.
To prepare, Warner plays summer baseball in the American Legion League. As a pitcher this year he is 3-4, but the team — American Legion Post 28 — is second in the league standings.
Included in his record this year is a complete-game shutout. He has a 4.49 ERA. He is first on the team in innings pitched with 39 and second on the team with 29 strikeouts. Warner also maintains a .362 batting average on the season.
“I try to work on speed during the summer,” Warner said.
He does this because of the less competitive nature of Legion ball. While they are still competing to win the state Legion title, it is less pressure than in high school baseball.
Although Warner acknowledged it is a less competitive league, he is still playing with some of the best high school players in the area. The team has six players who were on the Governor’s Cup team.
Last year in Legion ball, Warner tossed a no-hitter in one game he pitched.
“I’ve had no problems with Colin,” American Legion Coach Mearl Layton said. “He always gives 100 percent.”
And to prepare for Legion baseball, Warner plays baseball for Indian River High School, where he will be a senior in September. Last season at Indian River, Warner was 5-2, while the team went 15-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Newark. Warner was named second team all-state and first team all-conference.
In all, Warner could see about 70 games of action in a year — 20 in high school, 35 in Legion baseball and about 15 in Fall Ball.
Officially, the only time that Warner isn’t driven by coaching and the prospect of playing is November and December, after Fall Ball is over and before they start getting the pitchers ready for the upcoming high school season.
Warner has whet his appetite for learning to become a better pitcher by attending various camps. He has gone to Old Dominion University for a camp and most recently he attended a camp at the University of Delaware.
But he didn’t start out his baseball career as a pitcher. During Little League he never pitched, but he started developing a good arm in football at quarterback — and that’s when he started being looked at as a pitcher in baseball.
Warner said that when he was about 12 or 13, he went to a coach, Jamie Evans, in Delmar to help him develop his pitches. Right now, Warner throws a curveball, change-up and fastball.
“The curveball used to hurt my hand because my fingers weren’t big enough,” Warner said. “I used to grip it like a knuckle curve.”
That very same pitch is the one that he says is probably the hardest for batters to hit because it starts up high and then drops down. He has also gained more speed on his pitches as he has gotten older.
“The velocity on his fastball jumped tremendously from last year,” Layton said. “It could jump another 3 or 4 mph this year.”
All the camps, fall leagues and high school games have prepared Warner to move on to the next level: college baseball. He said that representatives of Delaware State and East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania have already seen him play and are interested in him playing for their schools. Warner doesn’t know where he’ll end up, though.
“I definitely want to play college [baseball],” he said.