Easthampton’s Anthony Redfern chasing college baseball dream

  • Easthampton native Anthony Redfern, shown pitching for Phillips Andover, has aspirations to pitch in college. COURTESY PHILLIPS ANDOVER

  • Easthampton native Anthony Redfern, shown pitching for Phillips Andover, has aspirations to pitch in college. COURTESY PHILLIPS ANDOVER

Published: 7/26/2016 10:15:13 PM

After hurling a perfect game for the New England Ruffnecks, Easthampton native Anthony Redfern moved closer to his ultimate baseball goal.

“I want to play baseball for a Division I school,” Redfern said.

The perfect game came last week against the Adirondack Heat at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough.

He struck out 11 hitters in the game.

“All four pitches were working,” Redfern said. “My fast ball was blowing people away, the slider was working lefties.”

It was a high-point for the 16-year old whose baseball journey appears far from over.

The Ruffnecks are a summer club that allows upper-echelon baseball players to play against elite competition from all over the country. Scores of former Ruffnecks have advanced to high-level college baseball.

College baseball scouts swarm to the games, which are mostly in New England and occasionally down south to get a look at the talent.

Redfern, who’ll be a junior at Phillips Andover Academy in the fall, has several schools interested.

Redfern was a catcher when he played baseball as a freshman at Easthampton in 2013.

Ed Zuchowski, Redfern’s coach at Easthampton has monitored his progress from a catcher to a high-level pitcher at the prep level.

“He always had a great arm from behind the plate, “Zuchowski said. “He pitched some relief as a freshman, then started his sophomore year.”

The time as a catcher allowed Redfern to study hitters and their tendencies.

“He took that knowledge to the mound,” Zuchowski said.

As a sophomore at Easthampton, Redfern pitched against older, more experienced hitters.

“I had a lot of success,” Redfern said. “I was only 15 pitching against seniors. It was good to get that under my belt before heading to Andover.”

Even as a freshman, Redfern’s arm was evident.

“He throws hard and could locate at a young age,” Zuchowski said. “He was able to change speeds and get hitters off balance. Catching helped his pitching in setting up a hitter.”

The move to Andover made sense for Redfern.

“It was the best move for him as far as baseball experience,” Zuchowski said. “I’m really proud of his success.”

At Andover, the season-to- season increase in velocity being his main goal.

“My goal was to throw 83 to 85 this year,” Redfern said. “My velocity hit 87 miles per hour this season.”

In his first year at Andover, Redfern won a New England Central Prep School championship and started the in the finals against Worcester Academy.

“It was unreal,” Redfern said. “Coach told me I had the ball midweek. I was relieved to just get on the mound.”

Redfern earned a no decision, pitching 6 innings without giving up an earned run. Andover won 2-1 in extra innings.

In three starts during the season, Redfern went 2-0 in nine appearances with a 1.91 ERA and 21 strikeouts.

“He made astounding progress,” Andover coach Kevin Graber said. “He has the ability and is receptive to learning.”

With several elite catchers on the 16-U Ruffnecks, Redfern has focused only on pitching.

“I’ve just been attacking the pitching thing,” Redfern said.

The Ruffnecks’ extensive travel will prepare Redfern for his college career, wherever he ends up.

“I’ve enjoyed the traveling,” Redfern said, “especially the warm weather in the south.”

Redfern reclassified as a sophomore again when he transferred to Andover giving him two more seasons..

“He’s still maturing physically,” Graber said. “He’s a gamer. He absolutely loves a challenge. There’s definitely more to come with his ability. College programs are loving what they are seeing of him.”


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