For pitching ace, game is a passion
After tossing a complete game, five-hit victory for the Lexington Blue Sox on Tuesday against the Intercity League’s defending champions, Matt Karis made it home to Southborough in time to watch the College World Series on TV.
“I was able to see the last six innings. If I’m not playing, then I’m studying the game,” said Karis, a 2011 graduate of Gettysburg College.
Karis has been an elite pitcher in the Greater Boston amateur baseball league ever since making his Blue Sox debut the summer after his sophomore year of college.
Since then he has gone 30-3-1 in regular-season contests, with 209 strikeouts and just 45 walks in 232 innings, and a 1.24 earned run average. He was the league’s Pitcher of the Year in 2009, and shared the honor in 2010 and 2011.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound righty, who took the mound for the first time as a senior at Noble & Greenough School, has also posted an 8-1 record and 1.60 ERA in the postseason for the Blue Sox, winners of five straight Intercity League titles until they were dethroned last summer by the Andre Chiefs.
Each spring, he said, “I can’t wait for the season to start. I play for a great organization close to home and in a league that’s highly competitive.”
The 24-year-old, who features a nasty cutter and slider and was off to a 3-0 start for Lexington, serves as head coach of the American Legion team in Lexington, and an assistant baseball coach at Elms College in Chicopee.
He will also assist Blue Sox manager Rick DeAngelis next month at the team’s baseball camp for players ages 8 to 14, heldat Lexington High.
Karis, who aspires to teach and coach at a private school, is taking a step in that direction this fall when he begins an internship at the Ross School in Easthampton, N.Y.
“It’s not the same level as coaching at Elms, but it’s putting me on the career path I hope to follow,” said Karis.
Working at Elms for head coachNate Bashaw — who recruited him while an assistant at Gettysburg — Karis helped develop a pitching staff that posted a school-record 20 wins this spring en route to the program’s first Eastern College Athletic Association tournament appearance.
“I’m happy for his opportunity, but I’m sure going to miss him,” Bashaw said of Karis’ internship, “because he had a great rapport with our players.”
At Elms, Karis had a simple message for the pitching staff, one that has served him well with the Blue Sox: Attack the strike zone, get ahead of the hitters, and realize six pitches and three groundouts is better than 15 pitches and three strikeouts when you have to reach back for that something extra later in the game.
His father, Jonathan, played high school baseball at Archbishop Williams in Braintree, and his sister, Kirsten , is a rising senior at Colby College and captain-elect of the women’s lacrosse team.
“Of course, I’ve been fortunate to have a great defense behind me,” said Karis.
He was captain of the soccer and baseball teams at Noble & Greenough in Dedham, and a baseball captain at Gettysburg.
Karis, who also played first base at Gettysburg, led the team with four homers as a junior and hit .328 as a senior. One of his college teammates, Chris Simard, had played for the Blue Sox, and recommended Karis to DeAngelis, who founded the team in 1995.
“Along with Jared Freni of the Andre Chiefs, he’s the most dominant pitcher in our league,” said DeAngelis. “Matt puts it all on the line every fifth day, and he inspires his teammates to perform at the high level he demands of himself.
“I always set the schedule so he takes on the toughest teams in our league, which makes his record even more impressive.”
Martinez Classic will support scholarships
Adrian Martinez, a Dual County League champion in the mile just over a decade ago, is remembered by his coach at Concord-Carlisle High, Steve Lane, as a welcoming teammate and intense competitor.
“Adrian was a sweet, tolerant young man, a team leader and captain and a great guy,” said Lane, who is director of the fifth annual Adrian Martinez Classic, a series of mile races in Martinez’s memory to be held Saturday at Emerson Field in Concord.
Martinez suffered a fatal heart attack in the summer of 2006 — the year he graduated from Williams College — while playing soccer with friends.
The event is open to runners ages 5 through 75, and will include a “first-timers” mile for those making their initial attempt at the distance in competition.
The gathering, which also includes music and food, will benefit a scholarship fund at the high school in Martinez’s name and the Friends of CCHS Track & Field.
A series of elite races will feature prize money, and a bonus for the first male to break 4 minutes and the first female to break 4:30. To register or for more information, go to www.martinezclassic.com.
Here and there
Five student-athletes at the Belmont Hill School were named Independent School League MVP’s and also honored as Globe All-Scholastics: Mike Najjar of Stoneham (hockey), Sabri Eyuboglu of Concord (Alpine skiing), Edward Columbia of Charlestown (squash), Carl Reid of Mattapan (tennis) and Keelan Smithers of Framingham (baseball). . . Wayland’s Ben Sherry, a two-year football captain at Trinity College and an all-New England Small College Athletic Conference linebacker and safety, is returning to the Hartford school as a graduate assistant, and will coach the squad’s tight ends.