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Ian Millman has been around baseball for a long time. He pitched at Francis Lewis and Queens College and played professionally in the Kansas City Royals organization. He's been a coach with the Team New York Cardinals summer-ball team and now has his own organization, the New York Nine. But when he met Ethan Liederman a few years ago, he knew he was something special.
"It's very rare you have a full-package kid," said Millman, who now coaches Liederman at Francis Lewis HS.
That package Millman is speaking about isn't just full it's bubbling over. Liederman, a Queens Village native, is one of the best pitchers in Queens, one of the best hitters in the borough, one of the speediest baserunners in the city and one of the best defensive outfielders around, too.
College coaches from around the country took notice in the last two years and last week Liederman made his decision. He'll attend the University of Minnesota next year on scholarship, choosing the Golden Gophers over schools like High Point, UNC Charlotte and UNC Greensboro.
It wasn't a difficult decision. Minnesota has won of the best baseball traditions in the Big Ten. Its coach, John Anderson, has been there for 27 years and was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January. Those two things, including the school's emphasis on academics, really stood out to Arthur Liederman, Ethan's father. But Ethan was blown away by the school's facilities.
Minnesota plays its home games in the Metrodome, the home of the Minnesota Twins. The Golden Gophers even have their own locker room in the famous stadium.
When Liederman visited the school this past winter for a baseball camp, he fell in love with the surroundings.
"When I went there, the facilities, the level of baseball they play it was everything I wanted," said Liederman, who played with Mid-Queens Fresh Meadows Little League.
At 6-foot-3 with tremendous foot speed, Liederman projects well at the next level provided he adds muscle to a lanky frame. But his brain might be his best asset. And his worst, Millman says.
"Sometimes Ethan has a tendency to overthink things and make things harder on himself," Millman said.
That cerebral nature could end up helping him down the road, though, the coach said.
"He's got very few limitations," Millman said. "I think he'll be able to dictate where he goes from here."
Liederman will likely be primarily an outfielder when he gets to Minnesota, but he's not "closing the door on pitching, either," he said.
For now, he'll be focusing on the rest of this season. Francis Lewis is 8-2 in Queens East A and in sole possession of second place behind Bayside, the team the Patriots will play Monday and Wednesday. Lewis is coming off its first win against Cardozo since 2001 April 30.
Reach Associate Sports Editor Marc Raimondi by e-mail at email@example.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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