By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Peyton Singer has left more than his share of batters completely perplexed this season.
That lonely place for a hitter when they strike out and their walk back to the dugout includes a blank stare down at the ground and their head shaking back and forth.
Without an overpowering fastball, Singer has dominated the opposition with movement, command and deception.
The Kent Roosevelt High School senior right-hander has trusted his approach and maintained his confidence in himself and his teammates to produce one of the single-best pitching seasons in school history.
“I think, this year, Peyton made a decision on what he was going to achieve, and he became a model to those around him,” longtime Kent Roosevelt baseball head coach Mike Haney said. “I don’t believe he set out to break the wins record, but he wanted the baseball.”
Once the baseball was in Singer’s hands, it was a magical day for the Rough Riders.
Singer sparkled his way to an eight-win season, including a 6-0 record in Suburban League American Conference play.
The eight wins ties the mark that was previously set by DJ Hickle, who is currently an assistant basketball coach at Roosevelt, during the 2009 season.
“It is some kind of special,” Haney said of his senior’s consistent performances.
To get there, Singer’s work began long before the season did.
After helping lead the Roosevelt boys golf tea to a championship in the fall, Singer became the top attendee for the baseball program’s off-season weight-lifting program between November and March.
Before that even, as an underclassmen, Singer worked diligently alongside Roosevelt pitching coach Jesse Michel on his technique.
Detailed work that allowed Singer to pitch instead of simply throw.
“They worked hard to get him to stay out through release, keeping him in straight lines,” Haney said. “J-Mike also works with Peyton to stay on top of his pitches, so he doesn’t drop his elbow which forces him to push the baseball.”
As Haney stated, it is fair to say that Michel’s approach and Singer’s coachability can be considered a success at this point.
On the mound, Singer’s gameplan has always been to throw strikes, which fits perfectly into Haney and the team’s pitching philosophy.
“Our pitching goals are to first throw strikes, secondly to throw quality strikes and finally to command the zone,” Haney said.
Check, check and check for Singer.
The right-hander uses five pitches to do it.
He has a two-seam fastball with arm-side run, a four-seam fastball, a slider, an overhand curveball and a changeup that drops in the zone.
Singer is confident in all of the pitches, more importantly, in himself.
“He believes in himself and sticks to his plan on how he will attack hitters,” Haney said. “He uses all five pitches, but has a great feel and understanding of what will more effective after he leaves the bullpen. Most days he is right. He is very confident in who he is and wha he is capable of.
“When hitters see that he doesn’t overpower you with fastball, they lose respect for him,” Haney said. “Most of those guys leave wondering why they were hitless after facing Peyton.”
Singer has averaged six innings for all of his starts this year, with his work in the weight room and general arm care allowing him to stretch to longer starts and also to bounce back quicker after starts to throw with confidence and conviction.”