By: Trent A. Brinkley January 25, 2015. Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports). Edition #1
Dirt on the Diamond: Colonial Forge HS Junior, Starting Pitcher Matt Nickles
I recently caught up with Colonial Forge HS Junior, Matthew Nickles, who is a Starting Pitcher on the school’s baseball team. Matt Nickles is the first edition of a story series I will be doing called “Dirt on the Diamond,”, which showcases baseball and softball players in High School, College, or Professional, as well as HS, College, and Professional baseball softball teams. In an exclusive interview with Matt Nickles, I discussed his Senior World Series opportunity with him, and as well as 13 question interview. Below is the transcript of Matt Nickles’s exclusive first person take on his Senior World Series Opportunity, told in the first person, written by Matt Nickles. Following that, is the 13 Question interview with Matt. I hope you enjoy the first edition of “Dirt on the Diamond,” feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think of the story, and tweet me (@TrentA_Brinkley) what you think as well, would love to hear from you! Please enjoy!
Matt Nickles’s take on Senior World Series Opportunity: I was on the DTQLL (VA) Senior Team won “Districts”. From “Districts” we moved on to “States” and were crowed Virginia Senior State Champions in a hard battle. This was a huge feat considering there are over 220 leagues in the state of Virginia! We moved on to the “Southeast Regionals” playing the state winners from Florida, Georgia, NC, WVA, SC and Tenn. We won the “Southesat Regionals” which propelled us to the Senior League World Series in Bangor, Maine! 10 Teams internationally played in this week-long tournament. When we were in Maine, we won three games (Hawaii, Canada, and Saipan) and lost two (Maine and Curacao). We made it to the semi-final game but, came up short losing 3-2 to Curacao, from the Latin American region. I made friends with players internationally. I have played with several of my team-mates since we were in kindergarten. Our ultimate goal was to play in the world series and we did it! This was the first time in DTQLL 53 year history for one of their teams to win “Southeast Regionals” and go to the Senior World Series. It is one of the highlights of my baseball career and if I could, I would go back in time and do it all over!
Analyzed Sports: You pitch for Head Coach Shawn Szakelyhidi, and your Pitching Coach is Randy Bove, what is it like to play for those coaches?
Matthew Nickles: Coach Szak is a first-rate coach. He runs a great baseball program that is admired across the state. He teaches his players we are student/athletes…..and emphasizes students first. He has very high standards and sets a good example for all. Coach Bove relates well to the players, always positive and energetic Playing for both coaches has been very rewarding and I look forward to my next 2 years playing for both at CFHS
Analyzed Sports: You are coming off a stellar Sophomore season pitching wise, (6-0 1.49 ERA, 46Ks 42 1/3 IP), what were some of the keys to your success?
Matthew Nickles: At the beginning of my Varsity sophomore season, I worked very hard and pitched well out of the bullpen. I feel confident on the mound. I know my pitches. This helped propel me into being a starter and doing well in that aspect of the game. Another key to my success this past season was knowing I had a great defense behind me. My teammates are experienced and make good plays when the ball was put in play.
Analyzed Sports: How did you get interested in playing baseball?
Matthew Nickles: My dad introduced me to the game of baseball as a young boy and I have loved it ever since. I have an identical twin brother, Mike and another brother Shawn who is 16 months older than me. The 3 of us all play on the CFHS Varisty team together. My dad use to bring us to the park as toddlers to play baseball. I could swing a mean bat by the time I was 2!
Analyzed Sports: You play along side Logan Barker, who I will be doing a story on as well, what is it like to play baseball with Logan?
Matthew Nickles: 4. Playing with Logan is an great experience. We have been training together during the off season and have become really good friends.
Analyzed Sports: Sports Journalists say that Baseball is America’s Past-Time, when you leave Colonial Forge HS, what do you want to be remembered for on the diamond?
Matthew Nickles: When I leave CFHS, I want to be remembered as a great player, who gave his all and was a good teammate. I want people to know that I always competed and did my best while on the field.
Analyzed Sports: What type of pitches do you have in your pitching arsenal?
Matthew Nickles: I throw a fastball, curve ball, and change-up.
Analyzed Sports: What does baseball mean to you?
Matthew Nickles: I love the game of baseball. It has kept me focused in school and life since I was a young boy. I have played on many teams from high school, little league, rec, travel, legion and showcase. I have grown up playing baseball, traveled from Florida to Maine playing in games and I have made the best of friends through the game. I even umpire baseball in the off-season!
Analyzed Sports: What colleges are looking to recruit you for next year?
Matthew Nickles: I am being recruited by all three levels of collegiate baseball. Many schools have contacted me from Virginia and the surrounding states. I am keeping my eyes open to all colleges, researching their academics, learning about their baseball program. I will see where I am in the recruiting process at the end of my junior season.
Analyzed Sports: Who is a pitcher that you style your pitching after?
Matthew Nickles: I don’t style my pitching after anyone in particular. I do my own thing. I take all suggestions from coaches and try new things and do what works with me. I have studied and watched uncountable pitching videos for pointers.
Analyzed Sports: You are in Game 7 of the World Series, Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, your team is up 4-2, bases are loaded, and the count is 2-2 on the batter, what pitch do you throw to win the World Series?
Matthew Nickles: I would throw a curve ball starting in the middle breaking to the outside and low corner.
Analyzed Sports: Who is your favorite baseball player of all-time?, would you ask them any questions?
Matthew Nickles: My favorite player of all time is Derek Jeter. I would ask him questions about his great career, how to be a great teammate and leader like he was. I would also ask Jeter now that he is retired what his plans are and how he plans on keeping baseball in his life.
Analyzed Sports: If you could play catch with one current player in the MLB ,and one former MLB player, who would you pick and why?
Matthew Nickles: I would like to throw with Yadier Molina because, I feel he is the best catcher in the MLB. Sandy Koufax, is the former player I would like to play catch with because, he was one of the best pitchers ever. I would ask him for his advice on my pitching
Analyzed Sports: Do you have a motivational quote that you look up to?
Matthew Nickles: “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club wont be worth a dime” – Babe Ruth
On-the-Diamond Achievements for Colonial Forge HS Baseball:
– 1st Team All Conference – 1st Team All-Area by The Free Lance Star
Off-the-Diamond Achievements at Colonial Forge HS
– 4.1 GPA, Ranked 40th out of 500 in his Graduating Class
Follow me on Twitter: @TrentA_Brinkley Follow me on Instagram: @Trent_Brinkley17
Follow Matt on Twitter: @Matthew_Nickles Follow the Photographer: @JenMuhlenbruck