FROM BETTER TO BEST
Ben Hart has loved the game of baseball since he was a kid growing up in Portsmouth, N.H. And he had enough talent to make the varsity team for Portsmouth High as a freshman pitcher.
But Hart wanted to get better at the game he loves. That's when he looked up pitching guru Dave Adam of StrikeThreeBaseball.
"It was the winter before my sophomore year and I was looking for a pitching coach," Hart said. "I talked to Chris Anderson and he told me how Dave helped him develop into an excellent pitcher."
Anderson was a pupil of Adam's when he was at Portsmouth High. Adam's tutelage helped turn the lefty into one of the top scholastic pitchers in New Hampshire before he was drafted in the 18th round by the Minnesota Twins out of Northern Essex Community College last summer.
"Ben was a solid player when we met," Adam said. "He was throwing 75-76 miles per hour and his command was okay. We started by working on him using his legs in his delivery, to get more power and explosiveness on his pitches. And we worked on his command...how to pitch in certain situations."
Adam also taught Hart how to avoid injury when preparing for a game.
"I showed him a series of warm up and arm strengthening exercises," Adam said. "It allowed him more range of motion and flexibility from his trunk (hips to shoulders)."
Hart became a regular in the Portsmouth rotation as a sophomore, going 2-4 with a 2.30 ERA. But, after his second winter of working with Adam, he blossomed into one of the best pitchers in New Hampshire, going 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 43 innings pitcher as a junior, while increasing his velocity into the mid-80's.
The success has continued that success this summer with a 5-1 record and an ERA under 2.00 for the Portsmouth Post 6 American Legion team. But Hart, a strong 5-foot-9, 180-pound righty who also plays third base, said he won't rest on his laurels and will be back working with Adam to get better.
"Oh yeah, working with Dave has helped me tremendously," Hart said. "He knows baseball and he knows how to teach baseball.
The first year was mechanics. Then he taught me how to put it all together last year with command and how to pitch. And by teaching how to use my legs it has allowed me to have more strength and endurance in a game."
Hart, an honor roll student at Portsmouth High, has caught the eye of college coaches in New England. Vermont has been out to see him as has the staff from Tufts, Bowdoin and Wheaton.
"Ben will be one of the top five, if not the best pitcher in the state next season," said Adam, also the head coach at Newmarket High. "He's a kid that is definitely going to pitch beyond high school."
Hart wanted to get better when he went to see Dave Adam at StrikeThreeBaseball. The result has been a good pitcher turning into one of state's best.
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