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Ethan Ou '21 wins 52nd Annual Hamill Award

Ethan Ou ’21 receives the 52nd annual Hamill Award outside Newton City Hall Thursday, July 8. Left to right Hamill Award Committee Chair Elliott Loew, Newton North pitcher Ethan Ou, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Nicole Banks. (Photo Courtesy of Ethan Ou)

By Griffin Bond

Ethan Ou ‘21 received the 52nd Annual Hamill Award, given to the best high school baseball player in the city of Newton, Thursday, July 8 in front of city hall.

The Hamill Award Committee received nominations from coaches at both public and private schools in Newton and then convened to choose the award winner. According to committee chair Elliott Loew, “Ethan stood out among the applicants and was the unanimous choice of the committee.”

Loew added, Ethan “seemed to have a game plan for every batter. He seemed to know whether to lead a particular batter off with a breaking pitch or with a fastball high. He seemed to know where he wanted to pitch and his ability to get the pitch where he wanted it to go. I mean that is the mark of a pitcher and he really showed that.”

It is the 29th time a North player has received the Hamill award and Ou is the first North player to win it since 2016.

According to coach James Greeley, although Ou eventually became North’s ace, coming into the season he said, “I didn’t know what his role would be at all.” 

Greeley added that before the season he saw Ou as someone who could fill a lot of different roles on the team. “The season was going to determine and dictate what his role was going to be. It just so turned out that in game one we found out what that role was going to be,” he said.

Ou made his first appearance of the season coming out of the bullpen as North found itself trailing in the opener at Framingham. 

According to Greeley, “We put him into that game because I knew he was going to throw strikes.” He added, “At least if we put someone in who we know is going to throw strikes, and make the other team hit and earn their runs, we are going to have a chance to win this game.”

However, Ou did more than just throw strikes. He shut down Framingham and his performance allowed North to come back and eventually win the game. After that game, “He forced his way into the rotation right away,” said Greeley.

Throughout the season, Greeley added, “When he was on the mound we all knew we were in really good shape. I think that feeling that it gave us really made him our team MVP.”

According to Greeley, Ou is not a conventional ace. He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball but instead relies on his offspeed pitches and his ability to locate them.

“I just like to make the batters as uncomfortable as possible,” said Ou.

He added, “Being able to throw any pitch at any time it’s going to make hitters guess wrong most of the time.”

Throughout the season, Ou used four or five different pitches each game. “I just had to approach everything with confidence. I know I can throw all my pitches for strikes, and I know I can throw them where I want to.”

He added, his pitching style produces a lot of weakly hit balls. As a result, “without a good defense behind me, without the support from my teammates there would be no way that I would have had the stats that I do.”

The level of success Ou achieved did not come without hard work. According to Ou, he worked throughout the offseason on pitch location and perfecting his arsenal. 

Ou said, “I went into this one like it was my last season ever, and it might be. I put everything on the line. I worked as hard as I ever have for a baseball season and I am glad it paid off.”

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