Colin Eiser says his toughness comes partly from growing up on the blue-collar streets of South Philly.
“You have to mature pretty fast,” he said. “Nothing is handed to you. You have to work hard and earn the respect of your peers.”
Eiser displays his grit and moxie as a centerfielder and pitcher for two-time defending Catholic League and PIAA Class 2A state champion Neumann-Goretti.
This season, the 6-foot, 175-pound senior has helped spark the Saints to a 9-2 overall record and 6-1 league mark. The only league blemish was a 9-1 loss to first-place La Salle (11-1, 7-0).
Eiser, who is headed to Rider, is batting .400 (14 for 35) with 10 runs, three doubles, and a triple from the leadoff spot. He has a .542 slugging percentage and a .432 on-base percentage.
“My goal is to do whatever I can to get on base and then trust the guys behind me to move me around,” said the lefthanded batter and thrower.
Eiser is part of the starting pitching rotation after working only 16 1/3 innings last season. “We had two guys [Phil Sanborn and George Mascuilli] that were doing well, and the coaches wanted me to focus on my hitting and fielding,” he said.
Eiser started to develop as a pitcher toward the end of his sophomore year, while training with Neumann-Goretti assistant Joe Messina and with Todd Rizzo at the Maplezone Sports Institute in Aston.
Beginning with the Delaware Valley Youth Athletic Association, Messina has coached Eiser for the last decade. “In all my years of coaching, he’s matured more than any other kid I’ve been around,” Messina said.
The 17-year-old, who lives near 20th and Penrose Streets, was recruited by Rider as a hurler. “He’s got a live arm and he’s going to get bigger and stronger,” Messina said. “He’s just beginning to tap into his potential.”
Eiser is 2-0 with a 1.94 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 18 innings. He mixes a fastball clocked at 84 to 87 mph, a 12-6 curveball, and a splitter.
“I’m going to Rider as a pitcher, but I’m ready to prove that I can be a two-way player there,” he said. “If I want something, I really go after it.”
Eiser’s success is more impressive considering he struggles at times with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“It’s not that much of a roadblock, really,” he said. “What’s most important is the mental approach I take to it. I kind of view it as a positive thing, because I have to work 20 times harder at certain things. It makes me stronger.”
Eiser’s biggest supporters are his parents, Billy and Kelly. “They help me keep a positive attitude,” he said.
Eiser and his teammates experienced an uplifting moment in a 2-0 nonleague loss Thursday to visiting Caravel Academy (Del.). Less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, senior lefthander Joe LaFiora returned for the first time and fanned five in three innings.
“That was awesome,” Eiser said. “When he went out there and threw his first pitch, everyone was so proud of him. It was exciting.”
North Penn shortstop Zack Miles and third baseman Tyler Siddal are batting .440 and .439, respectively. Teammate and righthander Kolby Barrow is 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 28 K’s in 20 1/3 innings. … The offensive leaders for 13-1 Spring-Ford are shortstop Andrew Huang (.500 batting average), catcher and first baseman Brandon Ernst (.423), third baseman Patrick Jucker (.423, 11 RBIs), second baseman Mark McNelly (.407, 10 runs), and leftfielder Coy Walters (10 RBIs, three home runs). … Father Judge righthander Chuck Kelley is 3-1 with a 0.27 ERA and 35 K’s in 26 innings. … In Marple Newtown’s 12-0 start, pitchers Sean Standen (5-0 record, 1.69 ERA, 1.065 WHIP) and Luke Zimmerman (4-0, 1.17, .833 WHIP) are a combined 9-0. … William Tennent third baseman Greg Delgado is batting .500 with 19 RBIs, 19 runs, and a .648 OPS. The senior captain smacked his eighth homer in Thursday’s 6-2 win over Harry S Truman.