Former Skipjack was 2-2 in 14 games with Aberdeen before call-up
Nik Nowottnick pitched at Perdue Stadium as a Colonel Richardson High senior representing the North Bayside All-Stars and said the experience was "awesome."
Nowottnick says it’s just as awesome now pitching at Perdue as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds.
"It’s pretty cool. It’s like pitching at home again," said Nowottnick, who played at Chesapeake College and Towson University before signing with the Baltimore Orioles organization last year. "To come back and pitch on the Eastern Shore is awesome."
Nowottnick was promoted earlier this month from the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League to Salisbury-based Delmarva, which is a member of the full-season Class A South Atlantic League. Both Delmarva and Aberdeen are Baltimore Orioles affiliates.
"I was definitely excited to move closer to home, but at the same time I was anxious," acknowledged Nowottnick. "I knew I would be facing a little higher competition level. The hitters are a little more consistent."
The 22-year-old right-hander was 2-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 14 appearances with the Ironbirds. Nowottnick is currently 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in four innings over four appearances with Delmarva, but hasn’t allowed a run in his last two appearances.
"He has tremendous movement on his fastball," said Shorebirds pitching coach Alan Mills. "It moves like a whiffle ball. That’s something you can’t teach."
Mills said he’s looking to help Nowottnick make relatively minor adjustments.
"He’s got good stuff. I’m trying to get him to increase his tempo between pitches and just challenge hitters a little bit more," said Mills. "He’s a great kid and very easy to coach."
Frank Szymanski, Chesapeake’s athletic director and baseball coach, is excited for his former player.
"I’m really proud," said Szymanski. "I’m happy for Nik and his family. I’ve been following his progress and I wish him all the best.
"He’s always been very talented," added Szymanski. "Now that he’s gotten his feet wet in professional baseball, I think it’s just a matter of time until he reaches his full potential."
Nowottnick posted a combined 9-6 record at Chesapeake during the 2011 and 2012 seasons before compiling a 4-4 record at Towson University in 2013, helping the Tigers win the Colonial Athletic Association championship as well as an NCAA tournament berth. The Orioles signed him last year and sent him to their Gulf Coast League squad in Sarasota, Florida, where he went 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five games.
Nowottnick is a reliever in the pros, but he said his Towson experience prepared him for that role.
"I haven’t started since I signed with the Orioles," said Nowottnick. "It wasn’t that big of a transition for me. I was always a starter for Chesapeake, but when I transferred to Towson I started to come out of the bullpen more. Once I got here, I already knew what I had to do."
Nowottnick has a 2-3 record with a 3.48 ERA and one save in 23 games during his minor-league career. He has totaled 28 strikeouts and 21 walks as a minor leaguer.
Nowottnick is the fifth former Skipjack during Szymanski’s tenure to play professional baseball.
Cory Willey, a member of the Chesapeake College Athletic Hall of Fame who played on Szymanski’s first two teams in 2000 and 2001, played in both the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies organizations and reached Double A. Michael Turner was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2010 and played parts of two seasons with the organization.
Justin Armiger and Bryan Brainer – who are also both in the Chesapeake College Athletic Hall of Fame – each played professional baseball with teams in independent leagues.
The Shorebirds started a three-game series at Greensboro Tuesday night and have a four-game, season-ending home series against Hickory that starts Friday and concludes with a 2:05 p.m. contest on Labor Day. After that, Nowottnick plans to finish up his final semester at Towson this fall and begin working out at Camden Yards in January.