On the Mound with Jonathan Lewis: Riding the emotional roller coaster

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Here I am ready to throw my first pitch of the regional against the nation’s seventh-ranked team the East Carolina Pirates in front of 4,000 fans who are screaming at me and my teammates. People were bashing Stony Brook even since we got down there.

It’s like being a Mets fan sitting in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. The atmosphere was amazing and the fans were into every pitch.

I was pitching well and had entered the eighth inning having only allowed two earned runs. We eventually lost but I left the game allowing only five hits to a team which averages over twelve.

I got a standing ovation from this hostile crowd, which appreciated my efforts against their hometown team. It was one of the highlights of my career.

It made the fact that I lost my game much more bearable. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had gained their respect. I did all I could do help the team, but it just wasn’t enough.

In the televised post game press conference, the ECU coach had some great things to say about me, which was very satisfying. I also noticed that about eight scouts had their guns up every pitch I threw.

Then the following day we dropped game two to Tennessee, 1-0. Kevin Fitzgerald pitched an amazing game against a great team... we just couldn’t score a run. In the stands the next day we had people coming up to us telling us that it was one of the best performance against ECU all year. This made us proud to know that even though we didn’t win we had left a message that we are a good team.

June 7th and 8th were two of the longest days and also two of my most disappointing . They were the days of the 2004 major league baseball draft.

Its hard to see kids you pitched against and beat get drafted while you don’t. The only thing is that they were seniors, and I think that “senior signs” (seniors who are out of eligibility and have no real options) are a very attractive option to major league clubs.

I was anxious and hopeful that one of the clubs who had tracked me this year and/or seen me at ECU would have taken a shot. It was a very tough thing to sit there and watch 50 rounds of draft picks go by and not be one of the players called, even though many people and scouts told me that “if its not this year, it will definitely be next year” and “you have pro stuff”

Blah, Blah, blah.

So on Friday morning, I packed the car again. Unfortunately its not off to a minor league team, but back to the Cape Cod League. I shouldn’t even say unfortunately, because I will once again be surrounded by the best college baseball players in the country, competing for a spot in the early rounds of next years’ draft.

My friend Zack Jackson was drafted in the supplemental first round, and seven of my other Cape teammates were all drafted high too.

I am going to a new team this summer, the Bourne Braves, and hope to land a role in the starting rotation. The confidence I have gained from these last seven weeks has me going up there with even more to prove. I have pitched 100 innings so far, but my determination to be the best I can be will overcome and tiredness I might encounter.

I want to thank all of the TimesLedger readers for their continued support, and Dylan Butler for allowing me to voice my thoughts to people who find both my misery and successes interesting.

I also want to send my appreciation to my family, girlfriend, friends, Seawolves supporters, Team NY Cardinals and anyone who has given me the support and encouragement to make it this far.

Don’t count me out, I still have a couple surprises in store for those guys who don’t know about the little known guy from the little known school. Enjoy your summer.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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