Ogdensburg Free Academy junior Seth Pinkerton injured his back the day before he was to pitch in his first baseball game of the season.
Pinkerton was playing in a pick-up basketball game with friends on April 23 when he fell on the court, injuring his back.
I was a little concerned when I had the fall, Pinkerton said. My immediate thought was that I had a baseball game tomorrow and Im supposed to start. I iced it the entire night. My dad (and head coach Tom) bought a foam roller, and I rolled around on that for a little bit.
Despite the injury, Pinkerton went on the next day and struck out 17 Canton Golden Bears in a 5-0 OFA victory.
In between innings I was on the foam roller loosening (the back) up, Pinkerton said. I was just making sure my pitches were in the right spots. Since I couldnt throw my hardest I had to slow down my pitching motion, which helped my curve ball.
That outing was just the start of what has been an excellent season for Pinkerton.
Pinkerton is 2-0 with a 0.95 earned-run average and opponents were hitting only .087 against him heading into Wednesdays game against Malone.
He has given up six hits in 22 innings and has struck out 40. Hes also contributing offensively with a .375 average.
What makes Seth successful is his ball moves a lot, Tom Pinkerton said. Every pitch that he throws, he has a three-quarter delivery, so everything seems to run a little differently. Hes learning to maintain the correct release point.
Tom Pinkerton said that Seth has been clocked at 86 miles-per-hour on his fastball and that he throws a 79 miles per hour curve ball.
The Pinkerton name is a big one in OFA baseball. Seths grandfather, Jim, was a longtime Blue Devils baseball coach who died of cancer before Seth was born. A bust of him is on a rock that OFA players pass by before they take the field.
Tom wore No. 5 as a player. His brother, Eric, wore No. 6 and Marc No. 7, so Seth took the next number in line.
Carrying on the tradition of baseball in the family is important to us, Seth Pinkerton said. Im wearing No. 8 because my uncle, Marc, was No. 7. My dad, wears No. 24, which was my grandpa Jims number. My grandmother travels all around the north country watching our games.
From what Ive been told (Jim) was a very good coach, Seth Pinkerton added. He knew how to win games and bring teams that were underdogs and get them to victory and the state final four.
Tom took over as coach last season and in his first year he also led the Blue Devils to a state Class B final four.
The father coaching a son is not always easy for either individual, but it helps that Tom has been in both positions, having played for his father.
Its hard, Tom Pinkerton said. Its hard to separate yourself as a father from a coach. Coaches are better when they are not overly emotionally involved in the game. Good coaches tend to separate themselves emotionally a little bit. But when your son is out there playing it makes it harder to not be emotionally involved in whats going on.
I can feel all the pain that my father must have went through every time I questioned something he did, Tom Pinkerton added. The only coach I ever questioned was my father. When I was playing for my dad, I would talk to the assistant coaches more.
Said Seth, Its tough, but having him as a coach we get to talk a little bit and see what we like. He knows exactly what Im going through, having my grandfather as his coach. He tells me hes been through it before.
Seth Pinkerton has not reached his senior year of high school, but he has already been fortunate enough to play in a final four in two different sports, having reached the state Class B semifinals in basketball this season.
Its actually pretty cool, Seth said. (Baseball) was nerve-wracking for us, we didnt know what it was like.
(In basketball) we knew what it was like and how the nerves were and what to expect, Seth added. Its a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing.