When he stands on top of the pitcher’s mound, Wadsworth senior Nick Lallathin is just more than seven feet tall, but it’d be understandable if most of the hitters he faced thought he was 10 feet tall.
That’s the type of presence and control the talented southpaw brings to the game, which is why he is the Gazette MVP for baseball.
“We constantly (said) that if (Lallathin) was on the mound and we lost the game, then it was shame on us and it was our fault,” catcher Matt Moore said. “We knew every time he went out there he was going to give us the best chance to win, and that’s really what he did.”
Standing 6-foot-3 and left-handed, Lallathin always has been a pitcher and loves every minute.
“I feel like pitching is what controls the game,” he said. “I can take it at my pace, and that’s the pace of the game it’s going to be when we’re out in the field. It really depends on how I’m throwing strikes and I’m entrusting my team behind me.”
A senior leader in the weight room, on the field and in the dugout, Lallathin only allowed more than one earned run in a game once this season, when he surrendered two in a start against Field in a no decision.
The Suburban League National Conference Pitcher of the Year also was a threat at the plate, where he was one of two Wadsworth players with at least 20 hits, recorded the highest batting average of any player with at least 50 at-bats (.354), scored 20 runs and drove in 17.
“As a coach, it’s your dream, because we knew every time we threw him out there we had a very good opportunity to win a game,” Wadsworth coach Greg Pickard said. “We knew exactly what we were getting and I never had to worry if he was going to have it that day, which you do with high school kids most of the time.”
Lallathin nearly chased down history, as he went into a Barberton Division I District semifinal with the school record for ERA in a season within reach. Lallathin came up just one earned run shy of current Wadsworth pitching coach Bill Gearhart’s 0.65 in 1983, finishing at 0.70.
“Coach Gearhart worked with me all offseason and he really taught me how to throw all three of my pitches (fastball, changeup and curveball) for strikes,” Lallathin said. “Towards the end of the year, I saw (the record) in the newspaper and I was pretty excited.
I tried to get it, but what Coach has is going to be hard to beat.”
The future Walsh University pitcher gave up just 40 hits over 60 innings for a .191 opponent batting average. He had 20 walks while striking out 60.
And if batters thought getting on base against Lallathin was hard, staying on was nearly impossible. Through dedication and hard work, he developed a devastating pickoff move that caught 14 runners this season and 25 over the last two years.
“My dad (David) really focused on pickoff moves when I was getting older,” Lallathin said. “He taught me to really stretch the rules on what I’m allowed to do when I’m doing a pickoff move, and we really got the focus on making my move really good.”
- Brunswick stretches past Wadsworth into district finals
- 'Lally' time as lefty leads Wadsworth to win over Highland
- Second straight SL National loss puts Wadsworth in a bind
- Twinsburg hands Wadsworth first loss of the season
- Slow start fails to faze Wadsworth in win over Barberton
- Budzinski leads Highland over Wadsworth
- Hudson beats Wadsworth, keeping Grizzlies from clinching conference crown