Stop me if you’ve heard this before–a Ward Melville pitcher has announced his verbal commitment to a Div-I school.
Chris Buehler, 2018 LHP, became the latest pitcher from the Patriots to vindicate his potential as a high-ceiling pitcher. He is coming off a very strong 2017 campaign in which he was part of the vaunted rotation of Ben Brown (MLB Draft pick) and Max Nielsen (UCONN). He compiled a record of 5-2 with a 0.66 ERA and 45 Ks over 42 IP during the school season and has continued that strong season into the summer where he has compiled a 2.23 ERA wwwith a 4-1 record over 37.2 IP.
I had the chance to speak to him and here’s what he had to say…
Talk a little about the recruiting process and why you decided to verbally commit to LIU Brooklyn
The recruiting process for me was extremely stressful and very time consuming. I spent a ton of time emailing colleges about when I was going to be pitching. I emailed LIU Brooklyn on my way down to Georgia. Coach Carty came to my game and really liked me and asked me to come on a visit. On the visit I fell in love with the city of Brooklyn and really liked the campus, I also really liked the coaching staff. They than gave me an offer that really satisfied my family and I. They gave me a couple of days and throughout those days I realized that I wanted to become a Blackbird!
Who were some influential people in this process?
Some influential people throughout this process were my coaches Paul Parsolano, Greg Naccari, Lou Petrucci and Tom Downey. Also Ben Brown, my friends, teammates and girlfriend helped a lot along the way with advice as well as guidance. Most importantly my family supported me and helped me throughout this process.
Who are some Major Leaguers you try to emulate?
Coming from Ward Melville, it is pretty obvious who my role models are, I look up to Steven Matz, Anthony Kay and Ben Brown. I also love Clayton Kershaw’s competitiveness.
Being from Ward Melville means you are held to a very high standard of excellence. There’s been a tremendous lineage of great pitchers just in the past decade. Have you interacted with Steven Matz or Anthony Kay? Also, being in the same rotation with Ben Brown and Max Nielsen must’ve been an interesting dynamic. Did you learn a lot from them as well?
Coming from Ward Melville there is definitely a high standard set for pitching. Matz and Kay come down to fall practices and winter workouts and have given me many tips on pitching. They have been great at coming back to help me and my teammates. Pitching with Max and Ben was a lot of fun this year, I learned a lot from them this season, we would talk about our grips at practices, pitch sequences, and mechanics. They were both great to have at practices and we all learned a lot from each other.
What are your goals for 2018 now that the college recruiting process is complete?
My goals for 2018 are to really invest in a good workout plan and try to gain some velocity. I also will be spending some time at prospect sports working on my mechanics and learning more about pitch sequences. My last goal is to help bring back a county championship to Ward Melville!
You guys ran into a really hot West Islip team in the playoffs. What do you feel like the Patriots will need to do to return to the Suffolk county championship as they did in 2015?
I feel like we have have our work cut out for ourselves after losing Ben Brown, Joe Roselli, and Mike Sepe. But on that note we do have a good core group of kids coming back. I feel like as long as we play clean baseball and listen to our great coaching staff we will be fine. I also feel like we have a good enough group of kids to do something special in 2018.