On the Mound with Jonathan Lewis: Birthday, baseball and books

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It's been a busy week for Jonathan Lewis. He celebrated his long-awaited 21st birthday, pitched well again and went through the stress of final exams, as he explains in this edition of "On the Mound with Jonathan Lewis."

Finally, 21. I've been waiting 20 birthdays for this day. To add to that, I also won my game for the third consecutive week. But I wasn't really able to enjoy either as much as I would have liked.

Unfortunately, we dropped the other two out of three games to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. They're new to the conference this year and haven't done that well.

However, we found a way to make next weekend's three-game series with Binghamton do-or-die. If we don't take two of three, our season is all but over.

Sunday was senior day at Stony Brook. We had a BBQ for all the players and their families and honored the seniors who will be leaving us in a week or two, or hopefully three.

No one was able to really enjoy this great day with the miserable loss. So after the BBQ some of my teammates and my girlfriend, Jessyca, went out to celebrate my birthday to try and get the weekend off our minds. The relaxing and laughing helped us realize this weekend is gone and all we can do is focus on doing our best next week.

The week was stressful. Finals are not easy and I couldn't even look forward to my birthday or the UMBC series until the week was almost over.

Every night I sat staring at notebooks and computer screens until I passed out. I believe I did well, and I am finishing school the same way I'm finishing my baseball season - strong.

I threw well again Saturday and, for the fourth straight week, I only allowed one run. I didn't walk a batter and have actually started a streak that I'm most pleased with - no walks in the past 24 innings.

I am tied for the team lead in wins, leading in strikeouts, and I have moved into fourth in the conference in strikeouts.

I have also taken my earned run average in the past couple of weeks and gotten it under 3.20. I really must thank Ian Millman, who has been like a mentor in helping me with my pitching when times were rough.

It's Monday now, and I've been studying all afternoon for my last two finals. I am giving up my social time (and at the end of the year in college it's pretty social) to devote myself to my studies. I am very focused on the jobs I have at hand.

I need to dominate my last couple of outings to have any hopes of being picked up in this year's draft. I am hoping that my two bad midseason outings didn't finish me off for the year. I feel I am throwing very well; my velocity is good and my breaking ball is the best it has ever been, yet I hope it's not too little, too late.

The other thing is that it is tough to enjoy my personal success with our team's entire season riding on the next series. We should comfortably be in second or third, and instead it all comes down to this. My confidence is back, and I want the ball with everything on the line this weekend.

I love pressure. I feel that this is my chance to show what I've got in the season's biggest games. I know my teammates and I are going to come out swinging and I just hope Binghamton is ready.

Updated 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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