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East Lyme's Levesque pitching in for the Schooners

Groton — Trystan Levesque takes everything in stride.

He doesn't get rattled by a bad outing on the mound.

When his University of Rhode Island baseball career got off to a rocky start this past season, Levesque shook it off and gradually found his groove, becoming a valuable part of the pitching staff in Kingston.

"I've always been told to be humble by every single coach," Levesque said. "Even through high school, I never really showed much emotion. I wasn't a big yeller or anything."

Levesque, an East Lyme High School graduate, stayed focused on improving his craft and it paid off. He was third on the URI staff in appearances with 18, posting a 5-2 record with a 4.37 earned run average. He walked just 10 and struck 41 in 45.1 innings.

"I loved it," Levesque said of his first collegiate season. "It was a blast."

The 5-foot-10, 190 pound lefthander is taking that same level-headed approach this summer playing for the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

Levesque is fitting in just fine with his new teammates. He's made a good impression on manager Phil Orbe, who saw Levesque pitch in high school,

"He's a very good-natured young man," Orbe said on Thursday. "He wants the ball. He wants to work and wants to learn. He's our type of guy."

As he did at Rhode Island, Levesque is serving as a starter and reliever for the Schooners.

That's fine with him.

"Going into college, I was never a reliever," Levesque said. "I was always a starter and used to that, so it was definitely a change. My warm-up routine had to be different. ... I always had to be ready at all times.

"I love baseball, so as long as I got in, I was always happy."

Entering Thursday's game against Martha's Vineyard at Fitch High School, Levesque made three appearances, including one start. In six innings, he's allowed five hits, five runs while walking five and striking out 11. The Schooners lost, 7-4, with Chris Brito (Rutgers) and Joseph Carpenter (Delaware) each chipping in a home run.

"Trystan is a very valuable guy," Orbe said. "When we signed him in the fall, it was actually before he went to URI. So he was a little bit of a mystery guy. But I've always liked watching him throw.

"His ability to control the zone with his off-speed stuff has always been very impressive. Rhode Island really likes him. ... He got a ton of innings for them. We can use him anyway we really want this summer. But we're just trying to be careful with him."

Levesque is effective against both right handed and left handed batters. His changeup is one of his best pitches. He also throws a four-seam fastball, curveball and slider.

When batters look for his changeup, Levesque catches them off-guard with a fastball. He's second on the team in strikeouts.

"His changeup plays very well," Orbe said. "And his ability to spot the ball plays very well. Some would actually say he's better against righties than lefties, to be honest. He just needs to learn now to pitch a little bit.

"He's throwing a little bit now more so than actually pitching, which is executing combinations. Like if he's going to throw back-to-back changeups, it can't be the same changeup. If he's going to throw in the zone with a strike, he really has to work on going up and down as opposed to side to side on the plate."

Levesque is eager to learn this summer. He found out at Rhode Island that hitters at this level knock around his mistakes.

He talks about pitching with his Mystic teammates, including Yale's Rohan Handa, a major league prospect.

"I know this summer I'm facing a lot of talented guys," Levesque said. "The NECBL is not an easy conference. I'm trying to get experience. I'm always constantly talking to Rohan to see what he does pitching-wise that I can implement because he's a lefty and so am I."

He's also excited about working with pitching coach Dennis Long.

"He's the only pitching coach that I had growing up, so I've known him for a very long time," Levesque said. "He's definitely helped me get to where I am today."

Orbe is hoping that this is just the first summer that Levesque plays for the Schooners.

"He's somebody who is very valuable to us," Orbe said. "Hopefully in the future, we can get him back. He's somebody who could have multiple years with us. We'll see."

g.keefe@theday.com

 

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