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Hingham kids finally face off in collegiate ball

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 16, 2011 05:25 PM

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Shortstop turned first baseman Matt Henriksen and pitcher Evan Faithfull have played plenty of baseball.

The Hingham residents have known each other since they were about 12, playing on numerous Hingham leagues growing up and eventually together on the high school varsity baseball team. Even now, their collegiate baseball teams face off from time to time.

Yet despite the proximity, despite the numerous chances, Henriksen and Faithful have never faced off one on one.

At least, not until now.

“We play Evan’s team a lot,” said Henriksen, who will be a sophomore at Tusculum College come fall. “I didn’t face him in this year though, he didn’t get an opportunity to pitch against us.”

It’s a circumstance that has swiftly passed the pair by. Even Faithfull, who will be a junior at Carson Newman College in the fall, said he’s been hoping to face off against Henriksen for some time.

“When I found out Matt was going to a school an hour away, I was excited to get a chance to play against him. I’ve known him since I was little, played with him since I was 12, so I was excited,” he said.

Even still, in the year Henriksen has been at college, the two have yet to see a match off, pitcher against batter, old Hingham teammate against old Hingham teammate.

Come summer, however, the pair will be headed off to the Valley Collegiate Baseball League, a competitive NCAA sanctioned tournament, where they are finally sure to see a showdown.

“It’s something I’ll be looking forward to. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well,” Henriksen said.

The fact that the two are even playing in the same league is an anomaly.

To join, players have to be recommended by their college coaches and selected by the league. Those selected head off to Virginia to stay with a host family for the summer, playing 50 games in an eight-week period, a schedule that mimics the major leagues.

According to Faithfull, there are only eight to nine teams in the league as a whole. The chances of him squaring off against his old teammate is all but assured.

Although each is excited to finally face-off against an old Hingham teammate, the approach for each player is markedly different.

“It’s no different than going up to bat against any other pitcher,” Henriksen said. “You still go up there and try to get a hit.”

As for Faithfull, it’s all about strategy.

“We know each other, we know what each other does and what we like to do. It will be different than any old hitter because I know him,” Faithfull said. “I've been playing with him since I was a little kid. All the more reason to strike him out.”

The two head down to Virginia on May 27. This season starts June 1.

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