From the NECBL website:
"Alex the Great"
By Don Leypoldt
2012, to paraphrase Don McLean, may have been “The Year the Pitching Died.”
The day before the All-Star Game, the NECBL’s slugging percentage was .429 and the collective ERA was 5.16. Compare that to the League’s slugging percentage (.345) and ERA (3.58) in the 2010-11 summers, summers much more in line with a “normal” NECBL season.
All of this makes Alex Haines’ summer that much more impressive. In a bizarre year of high-octane offenses, an unlikely hero emerged in the form of an under-recruited Division II lefty.
At press time Haines had a 0.90 ERA and a commanding lead in that title. His 54 strikeouts also lead the NECBL. In his first 40 innings for the Vermont Mountaineers, Haines yielded just 30 walks or hits. Small wonder he got to start the All-Star Game, held in his home park of Montpelier’s Recreation Field.
NECBL.com sat down with the 6’4” Western Pennsylvania sophomore, who won his Conference Pitcher of the Year this past Spring toiling for the Seton Hill Griffins.
NECBL.com: Seton Hill is right in your hometown. Was that coincidence that you stayed close or did you want to stay close to home?
Haines: “It’s probably 15 minutes from where I live. I had Tommy John surgery right after my junior year of high school. Seton Hill was really my only option, and the coach there gave me a chance to play. I took the offer. Being close to home wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If I need anything, my parents were right there.”
NECBL.com: What has it been for you off the field this summer, being this far away from home?
Haines: “It’s not too bad. I guess the first couple of nights, where I was by myself in my house, I was homesick a little bit but once you get around the guys and around the baseball field it’s just any other day.”
NECBL.com: What has been clicking for you this summer that has made you so effective?
Haines: “I think it’s just having fun. I’m keeping it simple and not really thinking too much at all. I just go out on the mound and throw.”
NECBL.com: You’re starting the All-Star Game tomorrow night in your home ballpark. Any thoughts on that?
Haines: “I’m pretty excited. It hasn’t really set in. I guess I’ll see what it’s like when I get there tomorrow. I’ve never been a part of anything like this so I don’t really know what to expect, to be honest.”
NECBL.com: What is it like facing the Division I hitters? A lot of D-II and D-III guys like the NECBL because it gives them exposure to “big” name schools.
Haines: “Right. It’s fun throwing to the better hitters. It definitely shows what you have in your pitching repertoire. Facing the best hitters in the country kind of gives you a gauge of where you’re at and what you have.”
Off the Diamond with Alex Haines
Favorite Food: “I like Italian food.”
Favorite Movie: “I’m not really a movie guy. I’ve probably seen 15 movies in my whole life so I couldn’t really pick one.”
Favorite Artist/Music Type: “I’m a huge Eric Church fan. Country music.”
If Congress banned baseball tomorrow, what kind of job would you want: “I’m a Criminal Justice major at school. Probably something in the criminal justice system. Maybe something like a police officer or working with the City of Pittsburgh.”
Favorite Ballplayer: Rangers LHP Derek Holland
What was the hardest course you’ve taken so far? “I was an Accounting major my freshman year. Some of those classes were pretty difficult, so I’d have to say Intermediate Accounting.”
Who is someone you admire and why?: “My Dad. He is probably the hardest working person I know. He is in the construction business and he basically works seven days a week. He is always on call. I admire his work ethic. He has taught me a good work ethic.”