FITCHBURG, Mass. – Senior catcher Nathan Littman was recently named team captain of the Fitchburg State University baseball team by his coaches for the 2017 season.
"It was an easy decision. I don't always believe in captains, but Nate is an extension of the coaching staff, he's a hard worker, he's dedicated, and a polite kid. He's really what you look for in a captain," said the second-year head coach, Kevin Barnaby.
In 2016, Littman played in 35 contests and led the Falcons with a .355 batting average – seventh in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference – while driving in 24 RBIs and scoring 30 runs. Littman also hit eight doubles, one homerun, and stole 18 bases on 23 attempts.
Behind the dish, he finished with a .991 fielding percentage and threw out 20-of-31 base runners. All good enough to earn a selection to the Worcester Area All-Star second-team as selected by sports information directors from the ten Worcester area colleges and universities.
In order for the Falcons to be successful in 2017, they'll likely lean on Littman's leadership and instincts to control a pitching staff, as 11 of the team's 16 arms are sophomores or younger.
"He is an incredible worker. His personality resonates through our program. He is a very upbeat kid, but a tenacious competitor. He matches what we are as a coaching staff perfectly. It is nice that we could have a player with the same personality as the coaches and it helps the on-field success because the players respect him a little more. But I think the way he carries himself goes a long way," Barnaby said.
Littman has spent three years on the school's baseball team. He played in 13 games back in 2015 and after a terrific offseason that fall, emerged as a consummate leader in a breakout campaign this past year. That led to opportunities to continue playing well into the summer with two respected collegiate summer leagues offering him contracts - the Beach Collegiate Baseball League (BCBL) and the Future's Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL).
While playing in Leominster, Massachusetts for the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs of the FCBL this summer, Littman had the opportunity to trade craft secrets with players from DIV I. & II baseball teams. In nine games played, he batted .308 (8 for 26) with three RBIs during the final stretch of the season for the Dirt Dawgs.
"He came back from the BCBL and the FCBL with a wealth of knowledge that he gained from guys who are playing DIV. I & II. He picked up some of the drills they do, some of the styles they hit with. He did a good job of not only changing his philosophy but kind of working it into who he is as a player and bettering himself," said Barnaby.
Littman, a 3.8 GPA-student and member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Has been commended by his peers for his beliefs to continue working harder than most. It could not be more evident than with his growth on the ballfield.
"That's all credit to his character. That is the reason we named him captain. He is a high-character and high work-ethic type of kid both on and off the field. That fits us perfectly.
"He's earned the right to be our captain," coach Barnaby emphasized.
The Falcons head to Florida for ten games March 11th – 16th before returning to Riccards Field on March 20th for a 3:30 contest against Elms College.
Release courtesy of Fitchburg State student journalist Kyle Prudhomme