Monday, June 22, 2015

Next Stop for Nambiar: Yale Baseball

Kumar Nambiar '19, one of the best pitchers in the state, is headed to Yale after a state championship. (LoHud photos)
Kumar Nambiar '19 just finished a dream season. Perhaps it was a dream year, one that included admission to Yale and a championship. He was the premier pitcher, a left-hander ace, on the Mamaroneck High School that won the New York state Class AA baseball championship in mid-June, helping to revive the school's former glory in the region as a baseball powerhouse. In this dream season, he amassed awards (and will likely gather a few more in the weeks to come) and was highly recruited. Throughout the season, his coach used him adroitly, scheduling him in a way to ensure he would pitch in crucial games.

Next stop, Yale.  Nambiar joins the Class of '19 this fall and the Eli squad next spring.  Yale was not a surprise choice for him. He committed a year ago, opting for Yale over Penn. He then set out this spring to prove Yale coaches he could be a formidable hurler in the Ivy League, conjuring memories of Ron Darling '82, when Darling went from being a Yale pitching legend to a starter for the 1980's Mets, the Mets that won the 1986 World Series.

Nambiar is a strong favorite to be named the Journal News' top baseball player in the Westchester-Rockland region.  If he is so named, he would become the second Yale pre-frosh to win the award in three seasons.  Richard Slenker '17 of Fox Lane High School won the award in 2013 and is now a starting infielder for the Bulldogs, batting his way onto the All-Ivy team his first year.

Nambiar's numbers and feats at Mamaroneck are astounding. His 2015 ERA was under 1.00 (0.99). In the run-up to the state championship, he shut out Horseheads, 5-0, in a regional game. He followed that with a 4-2 win over Connetquot in the state semifinals, his final start for Mamaroneck. For the year, he finished 10-0. In two seasons, his ERA computed to 0.78. Breath-taking statistics.

Mamaroneck pummeled team after team in Westchester and then seized games in the regionals, the state semifinals, and the finals.  It finished with a 24-4 record after defeating Saratoga Springs, 4-2, in Binghamton in the championship game. The Tigers won back-to-back state titles in 2008-09.

Nambiar, who won an award as Con Edison's Athlete of the Week in April, likes to attribute his talents to his mother.  He says as a child, his mother built a mound in their backyard and taught him the mechanics of pitching. Since then, not only has he excelled on the mound, but he has studied pitching mechanics (motion, form, force, and energy) in the way that would impress a Yale physics department. His studies in pitching were an independent research project in school.

At the annual Yale admitted-students reception in April, a game against White Plains High School kept him from attending. But his parents, including his mother who was his first pitching instructor, substituted for him.

Nambiar will join a Yale team that struggled for much of the year, although it managed to split four games with Harvard late in the season.  It finished 15-23, but won five of its last seven games. Pound Ridge's Slenker batted 0.290 with 18 RBI's as the team's starting third-baseman.

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