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Senior Colby McNeely is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

Senior Colby McNeely is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

By Bruce Adams

The senior pitcher/outfielder batted .339 with 20 hits, including four home runs, helping the Fords capture the PAISAA baseball championship. On the mound, he struck out 32 batters in 28 innings pitched with a 1.75 ERA. In the first round of the PAISAA tournament this spring, he pitched a three-hit shutout against Mercersburg. Last year, McNeely received second team All-Main Line baseball honors as a pitcher/infielder. Next spring, he will play baseball for Rider University, where he plans to major in finance.

Q: What has been the most important thing you have learned about hitting this spring?

A: The most important thing I would say is being quick and short to the ball and having loose hands. My struggles come when I am thinking too much during the at bat or when I overswing. I would also like to thank Coach Joe Martin, who has spent countless hours with me before and after practice working on my swing. 

Q: What was particularly working for you in your three-hit shutout against Mercersburg? What do you consider your best pitch?

A: I felt like my fastball was working really well for me, working east to west. My best pitch is probably my slider when it is on. It’s a hard pitch with good movement and tunnels my fastball pretty well. 

Q: As a pitcher, after facing a hitter a couple of times in a game, you probably have a better idea of what to throw him late in a game. Can you give us an example of how this has worked in your favor this season?

A: Just watching certain hitter’s approaches, I can get a good feel of their tendencies. During the game, I also feel like I get better as the game progresses. Our pitching coach, Mike Palumbo, does a great job of scouting opposing teams’ lineups to see where they like to hit the ball, any flaws in their swing, and how aggressive they are in certain counts. I would like to thank him for putting so much time and effort, so that I have a better chance of succeeding. One example of this would be when we were scouting we noticed this kid had a long swing, so we went right at him with inside fastballs and it led to many jam shots and pop ups to the infield. 

Q: You were an infielder as well as a pitcher last spring. What brought you to the outfield this season?

A: My dad was always big on “play every position possible” when I was younger, and although I was mainly an infielder my whole life, I still always knew how to play outfield. This is my first year playing outfield in games, but I wanted to do whatever I could do to help the team win and this is what Coach [Bob] Castell thought was the best decision.

Q: Tell us a little about your start in baseball. Who have been your most influential baseball mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?

A: My dad has been my most influential baseball mentor. He has always been there for me and my brother since tee ball, and has provided us with anything that we possibly needed. He even built a batting cage in our backyard for both of us. I am very lucky to have him still coaching me at The Haverford School.

Q: Who is your favorite baseball player and why?

A: My favorite baseball player would have to be Bryce Harper because not only is he a Phillie, but he also plays the game with so much energy.

Q: What is your favorite ballpark and why? 

A: My favorite ballpark is Citizens Bank Park because there is nothing better than watching the bell swing after a home run. 

Fun facts – Colby McNeely

Favorite book: Great Gatsby.

Favorite TV show: Outer Banks.

Favorite movie: Rocky IV.

Favorite athlete: Michael Jordan.

Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite place to visit: New Port Richey, Fla.

Favorite pre-game meal: Grilled chicken wrap from Wawa.

Person I most admire, and why: “My parents because of all they do for me and all that they sacrifice.”

Family members: parents Tom McNeely and Beth Marra, brother TJ McNeely.