A senior endures bittersweet weekend

The Baltimore Sun

Last weekend was bittersweet for South River pitcher Eric Aumann Jr. He improved to 6-0 Friday, but his grandmother, who was 75, passed away.

The senior left-hander, who has an 0.95 ERA, tossed a six-hitter with six strikeouts Friday to beat Broadneck, 5-2. Then, his father, Eric Aumann Sr., told him that his grandmother was dying. Teresa Aumann died Sunday morning, but Aumann expects to pitch today in an Anne Arundel County game.

Aumann has emerged this season as one of the county's top pitchers through hard work over the summer. In his third varsity season, Aumann, 6 feet 2 and 140 pounds, has shown outstanding command of three pitches.

He has a 3.0 grade point average and hopes to pitch in college. Radford University has shown interest.

How tough is it dealing with the loss of your grandmother?

Real tough. I was close to my grandmom, and it's going to be hard. I'm going to write a "G" in my cap.

Why do you think you have improved so much from your junior season?

I had some early success and have gained a lot of confidence each time out. Plus, I had a good summer with the Gambrills 16-and-under team coached by Ed Grap. That's why I'm doing better.

Where are you playing this summer?

I'm going to play for the Gambrills 18-and-under.

What do you throw?

Fastball, curve and knuckleball.

When did you start fooling with the knuckler, and what do you try to do with it?

My dad taught me how to throw it when I was 10, and I really started throwing it a lot when I was 12 and have ever since. I push it and am not trying for speed, but rather movement. I'm not like [Tim] Wakefield [of the Boston Red Sox], and [I just] throw it here and there to keep teams off balance. Usually I freeze batters with it early in the game, but as the game goes on they catch on to it a bit. So I have to be careful when I throw it.

Are you intense on the mound?

I'm pretty intense, but mainly I'm focused on throwing strikes. You've got to throw strikes to win.

Your team is having a turnaround season, going from 9-13 to 11-2. How did that happen?

Coming into this season, we thought we may do well, but not as good as we are doing. We lost a few good seniors, but our seniors have really gained a lot of confidence. Coach [Ken] Dunn has been really good, and he also has gained a lot of confidence in himself and the team. Winning has changed him in a positive way.

When you get into crucial situations, what helps you get it done?

My teammates, who are always pulling for me. We are close, and they remind me to keep my head and composure. Knowing they are there to give support helps a lot.

What are your thoughts on the county league this year?

It's definitely a more balanced league with so many good teams. We've never won a county [baseball] championship at South River, so it would mean a lot to do that this year.

Do you have a favorite player?

Brian Roberts. I like the way he plays and his style. He plays hard like me.

What are your goals?

I want to pitch in college at a four-year university. If I don't get that chance out of high school, I would settle for a JUCO, then go to a four-year school.

With your size, what do you need to do for college?

I need to build muscle to throw faster. I haven't really lifted weights and will need to do that.

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