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Westfield native has potential to blow the 'sox' off competition

Date: 6/30/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- Westfield native Nick Noblit, a right-handed pitcher for the Holyoke Blue Sox, is every coaches', owners' and mothers' dream. He's a clean-shaven, soft-spoken, impeccably fit athlete with a ferocious dedication to the game.

Standing unassumingly at six feet, two inches tall, Noblit wears a blemish-free Blue Sox uniform with the symmetrical precision of a military man. He keeps the brim of his cap just low enough to fit his matching sunglasses underneath and speaks to the media in a soft-spoken manner, fidgeting, visibly uncomfortable with the spotlight.

Holyoke Blue Sox owners Barry Wadsworth and Karen Wadsworth Rella, along with Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Chad Levesque said they'd be hard-pressed to find a bad word to say about Noblit.

"Nick is one of those kids you just love," Wadsworth said, adding that he's part of a select few from the Pioneer Valley to ever wear the Blue Sox uniform. "He's very hands-on and always the first one in [line to participate in the team's] community service [activities]."

Levesque, who coached Noblit at American International College (AIC) before he transferred to Franklin Pierce University last year, said Noblit has worked diligently to improve every aspect of his game.

He added that Noblit has maintained "steady mechanics" and become a "much stronger" pitcher, achieving a maturity level not often reached by young third-year collegiate baseball players.

Noblit, however, will be the first to admit his flaws.

"I haven't hit my full stride [yet in Holyoke]," he said, adding that this is his first time playing in live games since his sophomore year at AIC. All collegiate transfers must red-shirt (sit out) for one year in order to regain eligibility to play.

Noblit received his first start with the Blue Sox on June 10 against the Keene Swamp Bats but was pulled within three innings after giving up three runs and walking four batters.

"I've got my confidence back [since my first start and realize] it's my job to get outs not just blow every pitch by [batters]," Noblit said. "But it's the little things that get inside my head ... [I've] flaws in my mental game. I've worked a lot on that."

He explained that he's extremely superstitious, noting that "little things" such as the inside out or right side up position of his Livestrong wristband can cloud his mind.

Noblit said he believes his work with the Blue Sox this summer and at Franklin Pierce next season will help him finally overcome his handicaps.

He added that he continues to wear his Livestrong band to "give me inspiration and remind me that each day is a new day [to develop and achieve] my dream goal to play pro."

The Blue Sox will host the North Adams SteepleCats on July 3 at 6:30 p.m. at MacKenzie Staduim, 500 Beech St., Holyoke; and then take on Team U.S.A. at home on July 6 at 6:30 p.m.