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Lowell's Callahan coming of age

Posted by Craig Forde  August 5, 2013 09:52 AM

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Callahan.jpgJust 19 days shy of his 19th birthday, Lowell’s Jamie Callahan is the youngest pitcher in the New York-Penn League, yet lately he’s been handling himself like a seasoned vet.

The Red Sox 2012 second rounder has stepped into a realm of near flawlessness over his last two starts, proving that age is simply a number.

“When I step out on the field I don’t see anyone’s birth certificate in front of me,” said Callahan. “It’s just another guy stepping up to the plate, another opponent.

“Whether he is 30 or 18, it’s no different. I still got to get him out. [I] take everybody one step at a time, attack them and get outs.”

In back-to-back six inning gems Callahan did not give up a run or walk and yielded just one hit while striking out 17 batters.

The hit came off the bat of Connecticut Tigers third baseman Brett Harrison in a road start on July 26th, a 6-0 win for the Spinners.

In that game Callahan retired the first 15 batters he faced, finishing with a career high eight strikeouts, an effort that earned him the New York-Penn League's Pitcher of the Week nod for the period of July 22-28

“I didn’t even realize it,” said Callahan of the weekly honor. “I didn’t even know they had [a pitcher of the week award]. I assume they did, but it’s not like I was expecting to get it. I just went out there and threw a good game and that was it.”

He could be in line for a second straight nod on Monday.

Callahan followed up that July 26th effort with one even more impressive, throwing a perfect six innings against the Auburn Doubledays at home on July 31st.

That perfect game lasted until the ninth inning when Cody Dent, son of former Yankee Bucky, singled in the ninth with one out.

Callahan faced the minimum 18 batters in his six innings, besting his previous strikeout mark with a nine K effort, balancing his mid-90s fastball with his ever-improving changeup and curve.

“If all three pitches are working, I’m having a good day and I’m having fun on the mound,” said Callahan. “I feel comfortable with any pitch. If it’s on, that’s the pitch I go with.”

With this type of success, it’s easy to see why the 18-year-old from South Carolina is having fun whenever he hits the hill, but he took his knocks earlier in the season.

Following a debut in which he threw five scoreless innings, Callahan gave up 14 runs in his next four outings, including a two inning affair against Tri-City in which he allowed five earned.

That early adversity has given Callahan a chance to reflect and learn from the process and now he is taking advantage of the situation as the final month of the season ticks away the games.

“It’s just battling through the season, I’m just trying to figure that out,” said Callahan. “When I start slumping a little bit, it’s a struggle. [I’m] just trying to keep consistency over the course of the season.”

Overall this year Callahan is 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 32 strikeouts over 33 2/3 innings in seven starts.

The 6-for-2 righty is now looking to finish strong and carry his momentum into a stretch run that could lead the Spinners to their first postseason appearance since 2009.

“I’m just looking forward to going out and having fun and getting a chance to win,” said Callahan. “We’re doing pretty well in the standings and if I go out there and compete and give us five or six good innings, then we have a shot. It’s all I could ask for.”

It’s all his teammates could ask for as well, and they are certainly getting it as Callahan is proving to be years ahead of what his birth certificate may dictate.

Callahan’s next start will come on Tuesday night in Mahoning Valley.
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Photo credit: Lowell Spinners

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About the author

Craig Forde covers baseball talent as it develops into the next big thing. He has covered high school and college sports for the Boston Globe, and the minor league teams More »

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