Fords baseball has jumped out to a strong 12-3 start, and their lofty expectations from the start of the season remain intact. One major hurdle that the team has had to overcome is the turnaround on the pitching mound, including having to find a new pitching coach. They recently filled the vacancy by hiring Coach Anthony Cimabue, who had been at Wilmington University for over a decade.
One leader of the pitching lineup has been Fifth Former Fred Jordan, who feels that the players responded well to the circumstances over the past several months.
“[Coach Cimabue] came a little late into the season, so we didn’t really have any offseason time with him, and all the pitchers were on their own, more or less,” Jordan said. “You can go to personal guys, YouTube, [or] go to Coach Rosko and do weightlifting.”
The team has adapted to the developing coaching situation, but there has also been a significant change in the roster itself. Three of the six Sixth Formers from last season were pitchers, and the departure of last year’s leader Colby McNeely has been especially impactful.
“They know how I did last season, and they’re saying, ‘What can he do this season?’”Fred jordan ’24
“We did lose a key role in Colby; he ate up around thirty-five innings last season, so this season’s just about finding new guys to step in and take up those thirty-five innings,” Jordan said. “[Sixth Former] Jac Campbell’s gotten some more innings, [Sixth Former] Ryan Davey’s getting some more innings, [Fifth Former] Noah Trexler’s gotten some innings. It’s just about finding those guys and finding a solid rotation both in-league and out-of-league that can lead to success.”
The pitching has been a strength so far—Jordan and Campbell combined for a no-hitter against Ridley High School on March 24—but the season has not come without its challenges.
“We’re not getting hit around so much; it’s really the walks that are killing the vibe and the momentum,” Jordan said. “One inning we might go one, two, three, and then the next inning we walk the first guy, and that just shuts everything down. You really have to hone in and keep motivating yourself to throw the first pitch for a strike, so you can work ahead.”
Walks are one of the problems Jordan and the rest of the team will look to address as the pressure and intensity begin to increase.
“It’s still just about working on getting into the swing of things against live hitting,” Jordan said. “You prep all you can in the preseason, but nothing compares to going out on the mound with seven other guys behind you, and trying not to disappoint them, not to mention the rest of the team.”
Jordan hopes to set an example for the younger players as his leadership role rises by always keeping his composure.
“[My leadership role] definitely has changed, but I’ve never really been one to be the speaking-type,” Jordan said. “Obviously we have guys in the huddle who talk all the time, and those are usually seniors and the other more talkative guys, but I’ve never really been like that. I’ll talk to guys on the side, but so far, leadership-wise, I’ve just been trying to motivate guys by setting examples. I’m not trying to lead by screaming at people; I’m trying to lead by going out there and pitching, working hard during practice, making plays, running and working out, and all those things.”
As the team aims for a strong second half of the season, Jordan wants to let his play do the talking as he proves himself every day.
“Last season, I was following examples of guys and trying my best when I got out there to prove to them that I was good enough,” Jordan said. “But now, for the younger guys that are looking up to me, they know me. They know how I did last season, and they’re saying, ‘What can he do this season?’”