This week, despite a snow pile outside my window, is the start of many collegiate baseball seasons nationwide. College baseball teams from New England typically start their Spring baseball schedules in warmer, less snowy climates in states like North Carolina and Florida. Recently, I saw a post from Northeastern University Huskies Baseball team about the start of their 2022 season. The Huskies have a Rhode Island connection on their pitching staff – Cumberland’s Owen Zadrozny. I messaged Owen this week to learn more about his baseball journey, what kind of pitcher he is, and where fans could follow him this Spring at Northeastern. Here is more from our email conversation.
Owen, good morning. Thanks again for agreeing to do this and continued success not only this Spring with Northeastern but as you continue your academic and athletic journey. Tell me a little bit about your Rhode Island baseball roots – Little League? AAU? What was that experience like?
- My roots in Rhode Island Baseball began where most do, for me it was in the Cumberland Little League. From a competitive aspect, it all began for me playing for Cumberland Nationals All stars with some of my closest friends to date. I then moved on to HS baseball at La Salle Academy, while playing travel baseball for teams such as Merc Elite, Upper Deck Showcase, and the New England Scorpions.
If you would like to, name some of your baseball and life mentors who helped you along the way.
- Some of my biggest mentors throughout my baseball career would be Jason Oldham, owner of GLG Athletic Performance in Lincoln RI, as well as Coach Mann of the New England Scorpions, and my La Salle Academy HS coach, Coach (Tom) Pacia.
Did you have a favorite ballpark to play in Rhode Island? Or on one of your travel team tournaments?
- My favorite ballpark that I had the opportunity to play at would have to be McCoy Stadium. Playing the state finals (RIIL State Baseball) there was an awesome memory for me.
How did you settle on being a pitcher?
- I settled on being a pitcher due to the competitive nature of the position. Knowing it is you against the hitter and nothing else matters except for who is more prepared is awesome to me and a situation I love to be in.
Was that your position throughout youth baseball or something you worked towards later on?
- My position in youth baseball besides pitching was always first base or third, playing the corners was a short lived dream but loved every second of it. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of hitting and would rather happily never pick up a bat again.
Brag about yourself: What’s your arsenal? Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, split? – what do you throw game in and game out?
- My arsenal as a pitcher would be a heavy fastball, a Vulkan Changeup as well as a slider that I am trying to gain feel for as a swing and miss pitch. I rely heavily on my fastball and try to play my breakers off of that pitch on a similar plane.
Best game you ever pitched or played at any level – what was the score, who did you face, what were your stats, what was the feeling like?
- My best game I would say where I felt most comfortable on the mound would have had to have been a one hitter appearance at McCarthy stadium in a relief outing in the semi finals of my sophomore year at La Salle Academy. With family from my team in the stands and some of my best friends behind me, it was an amazing experience.
What drives your game on the mound? Is it mental toughness? Physical fitness? Competitive spirit?
- My game on the mound would be driven by physicality as well as mental toughness. Believe that my preparation from a physical aspect fuel my belief that I am more prepared and will win the battle against whoever is in front of me.
How has video and analytics and data helped your performance on the mound?
- Video and analytical data was first introduced to me during the beginning of my college career, my pitching coach explained a lot of things to me and broke down my mechanics and that really did help me a lot.
You were a highly recruited baseball player coming out of Rhode Island. What went into the decision to attend Northeastern University and how do you eventually settle on that school?
- Coming into my Sophomore summer of baseball, I held multiple offers from D1 (NCAA Division I) programs but with Northeastern being one of the first schools to begin talking to me I would say that I was leaning towards them heavily. I did research into their educational reputation which was outstanding, and obviously their continued dominance on a national level of college baseball. I am someone who is extremely tied to home so being close to Rhode Island was incredibly important to me as well, so being an hour away is awesome for me.
What are you studying/majoring in?
- I will be studying a combined major of criminology and sociology
Who are some of the coaches at Northeastern?
- The coaching staff consists of Coach (Mike) Glavine as the Head Coach, Coach (Kevin) Cobb as Pitching Coach, Coach (Nick) Puccio as Assistant Coach, and Coach (Chris) Bosco as Assistant Coach.
When does your Northeastern baseball season start up and where?
- Our season starts on February 18th in Charlotte, North Carolina vs LIU.
When is your first home game?
- Our First home game of the season is March 8th against UMass Amherst.
Where can fans follow you and Northeastern Baseball this Spring?
- People will be able to follow Northeastern Baseball on NESN as well through social media (Twitter) @gonubaseball.
Great to meet Owen and learn more about his Rhode Island baseball roots and his journey from Cumberland to La Salle Academy to Northeastern University. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us. Best of luck at Northeastern University academically and with the Huskies Baseball Program.