LIVINGSTON, NJ - Coming off a strong 2014 Varsity baseball season, Newark Academy’s starting pitcher Mike Gibbons has made the Essex County roster for the fifth annual Essex vs. Union Underclassmen All-Star Baseball Game, scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at Snyder Park in Berkeley Heights.
This year, Gibbons started nine games, going 7-2 as Newark Academy went 17-10 before losing to Hudson Catholic in the state quarterfinal.
A junior, Gibbons put some impressive numbers on the mound. Over 52 innings pitched, he compiled a 1.92 ERA, while striking out 59 opposing hitters.
What makes Gibbons’ success even more surprising, he only began his baseball career just six years ago. As a child, Gibbons said he was a star hockey and baseball player but that after a while, both sports became hard to juggle, so he chose to stick with baseball.
At first, Gibbons played third base and pitched on occasion. However, once people started to notice the great pitching arm he brought to the mound, he became a full-time starting pitcher for Newark Academy.
Gibbons said he works hard at his craft. He trains all year round with his Newark Academy team and with his club team in the fall and summer. He also trains with his pitching and batting coaches during the winter.
But hard work cannot be accomplished without a driving force. Gibbons credits his parents for his success.
“My parents were the ones who inspired me,” he said. “They were the ones who introduced me to the sport, drove me to games, and were there whenever I needed them.”
Gibbons is passionate about baseball and said nothing is more satisfying to him than winning the game. Even with his ability to stay calm in tight situations, he said he gets a bit nervous when pitching to a slugger.
This summer Gibbons will be playing for a recruiting team, trying to catch the eye of a college scout.
Other Livingston High school varsity players joining Gibbons on the roster for the June 17 game include: pitcher Tyler Zuppa, catcher Mark Silvestri, and outfield Omari Beaubien.