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July 23, 2013

Versatile pitcher

Ex-Sachem basketball star McNamara excels as starter, closer in same year

When it comes to being flexible as a pitcher, Alfredo Aceves has nothing on former Pentucket standout Corey McNamara.

As a freshman at St. Joseph’s College this past spring, McNamara was — with a wealth of starting pitchers — moved to the bullpen to become the team’s closer.

McNamara had never been used in that role, but he adjusted beautifully. He pitched in a team-high 17 games for the Monks (31-14 and league champions) and had a fine 2.76 ERA. He had three saves and batters hit just .200 against him.

After the season, St. Joseph’s coach Will Sanborn pondered moving McNamara back to a starter next year, so when Newburyport Legion Post 150 needed a starter, he was up for the challenge.

Switching back to multiple innings at a time took a few weeks but, to say the least, McNamara made a smooth adjustment, so much so that he’s been one of the best pitchers in District 8.

Through last week, he had given up just two earned runs all summer, for an ERA of 0.47, with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings.

“He’s been a great addition to the staff this year,” said Post 150 coach Tim Southall. “He worked very hard to turn himself (back) into a starter. He’s a great kid who loves to compete.”

In one memorable three-game stretch, he beat Danvers 1-0, threw nine innings in a scoreless tie with Lynn and followed with a 2-0 shutout of Lawrence, giving him 23 scoreless innings.

“I’ve just been throwing good pitches, mixing it up ... plus, we’ve been getting good defense,” he said.

Moving back to a starter was no problem, but the switch in the spring to closer took some getting used to.

“It was different and it took awhile to adjust,” said McNamara. “But they have a good strength program (at St. Joseph’s) that helped a lot. By the end of the year, my arm felt good. It felt like it did at the beginning.”

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