Ben Thomas has loved success on the mound in all places he has been.

From Zeeland East to Kalamazoo Valley Neighborhood Faculty, to the Kalamazoo Growlers, Thomas has proved to face out on the mound.

It landed Thomas with a suggestion from Grand Valley State, the place he continues that success with wins in his first two begins for the Lakers in 2020.

Then COVID-19 put a cease to his momentum, canceling the season.

However the 6-foot-5 right-hander is taking every part in stride, particularly the chance to play for one of many prime baseball packages within the nation.

“Getting a suggestion from them was big,” Thomas mentioned. “I used to be very excited. I grew up seeing how profitable Grand Valley was. There have been a number of nerves and pleasure. GVSU was on the highest of my listing from the beginning however after my freshman yr, I didn’t even assume that will ever be a possibility.”

When Thomas graduated from Zeeland East he accepted a scholarship to pitch at Kalamazoo Valley Neighborhood Faculty. It wasn’t fairly what he anticipated — not less than at first.

“Once I first received there at KVCC my position was very small. I in all probability threw 10 innings. Then my sophomore yr, I used to be a starter and threw 75 innings. I received a suggestion from GVSU,” he mentioned.

Thomas, now a junior at GVSU, was named the KVCC Pitcher of the Yr.

“I labored on attacking the strike zone and never attempt to strike everybody out. I’ve had a number of coaches and gotten extra command with my changeup,” he mentioned. “Understanding hitters has helped rather a lot.”

Thomas, who throws a fastball (87-92 mph), curveball (71-75 mph) and a changeup (80-82 mph) is hoping his summer season faculty league expertise with the Kalamazoo Growlers will assist in that regard. He threw effectively with an earned run common of 0.43.

“It was nice. That was the primary time any of us had aggressive baseball because the season received canned,” Thomas mentioned. “We had guys from throughout and that was good. Lot of mid-majors and energy fives, guys I might normally by no means face. I used to be dealing with guys from Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Washington, Northwestern. I used to be hanging with them, in order that boosted my confidence fairly a bit.”

It was a welcome summer season after the GVSU season was canceled.

“We have been clearly fairly upset about it. We have been off to a extremely sizzling begin (11-4). We have been coming off a fairly mediocre season the yr earlier than and have been searching for an enormous begin. It killed the work we put in,” he mentioned.

Thomas remains to be placing within the work, however fall exercises look a bit completely different due to the pandemic, which postponed GVSU fall sports activities. Baseball is a spring sport, however group protocols nonetheless pertain to all seasons.

“Now at follow, now we have small teams and must put on masks,” he mentioned.

“It isn’t as (bothersome) if you end up throwing, however it’s extra of a problem if you end up conditioning. It’s the new regular.”

Now, Thomas is working to make his success on the mound, regular.

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