WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year old Chris Ho pitched a shut out game against Scotch Plains in the “Last Dance” baseball tournament last Wednesday, throwing for six innings with 11 strikeouts. The pitcher also scored 3 RBIs, including the winning RBI in the first inning.
Ho is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.
The rising senior has been pitching on the varsity team for three years as the first freshman to make the varsity team in a decade. After joining, the Blue Devils won back-to-back sectional titles after not winning a title for five years, Ho noted.
“It was nice to go into a winning environment,” said the pitcher. “All the seniors of the class of 2018 really brought me in and showed me what Westfield baseball was all about.”
Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach Brian Sloan said that Ho has a multitude of talents on the field.
“Chris is able to pitch, play centerfield and bat in the middle of our order,” said Sloan. “He can use his overpowering fastball, he can make a great catch in the field, and he can drive in runs for our team.”
Although the players missed out on much of what would have been the baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho said that while in quarantine he and his teammates remained “hopeful” and “felt like there was going to be some way, somehow, to get a few more games in.”
“All of us felt that it was necessary to keep on training and keep on practicing just in case we got another shot,” said Ho.
Ho’s practice regime during the state lockdown involved frequent weight lifting, running and throwing to keep his skills sharp. His preparation came to use when his club team — the US Elite National Team — and the Blue Devils began playing again in June.
Ho said that his passion for baseball developed from participation in T-ball more than 10 years ago.
“I was always the kid that was watching TV and playing video games. I didn’t really want to go out and play sports,” Ho said. “But then my friends that I had made in preschool started playing and my parents pushed me into it. I started to grow a love for the game.”
Ho has continued to be close with his teammates despite the pandemic by practicing pitches with teammates and communicating with the rest of the Blue Devils through a group chat.
“Chris has earned his teammates’ respect, and he is always trying to help them play at their best level,” said Sloan.
As a recent commit to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Ho plans to continue playing baseball through high school and college.
Shreya Jyotishi is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.