A near-perfect start

Published 3:30 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

COURTLAND—He first thought something was weird in the fourth inning because none of his teammates would talk to him.

On April 1, Nash Warren pitched a no-hitter against the Greensville Eagles in his first start on the Southampton Indians varsity squad. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

On April 1, Nash Warren pitched a no-hitter against the Greensville Eagles in his first start on the Southampton Indians varsity squad. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

When Southampton Indian pitcher Nash Warren came out to pitch for the fifth and final inning, he knew for sure that something was off in the 17-0 blowout of the Greensville Eagles on April 1. Every time an out was recorded they were cheering, so he knew something special had to be happening since the game itself was never a contest.

At first, Warren thought it might be because of his strikeouts, as he struck out 12 of 15 outs that day.

“I wanted to ask how many strikeouts I had, but I didn’t want to jinx myself or anything like that,” Warren said. “I was trying to not think about it much.”

Later, the ninth-grader would learn he pitched a no-hitter in his first varsity start for the Indians.

“I didn’t even know I had a no-hitter going,” Warren said. “I was just coasting along.”

Nothing really felt that different for him that day.

“I was just doing my job for the team,” he said. “I was just pitching the ball and hitting my spots.”

Indians Coach Wes Griffith said Warren looked good that day and wasn’t showing any signs of stress.

“The day he threw a no-hitter, that was just a great job throwing the baseball,” Griffith said. “The umpire’s strike zone was really tight, so to get a strike you had to really put it in there. He got a lot of swinging strikeouts and just did a good job that day.”

Warren, who also plays outfield for the Indians when he’s not on the mound, started playing baseball when he was 5.

“My dad got me to play t-ball, and it just kind of went from there,” he said.

Warren continued playing county ball for the mustang and bronco leagues, and he was 11 when he started pitching.

“I remember in coach pitch, the coach would have me stand beside him as he would pitch,” he said. “But it was probably when I was playing in the bronco county league when I started pitching. I was one of the more dominant pitchers there, just throwing the ball hard.”

Ever since then, Warren’s enjoyed pitching.

“You are the center of attention,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s just fun. There’s a lot of action.”

As well as playing for the Southampton Indians, this summer will be his second year playing travel ball for the Richmond Braves, which he said helped him make the team after only playing one year of JV baseball in eighth grade.

“Playing travel ball helped a lot,” he said. “It takes up a lot of my weekends. But, I just work every night on the little things, just trying to push myself harder.”

With an 82-mile-per-hour fastball, Warren is throwing it hard for his age. Griffith said he could get by for now on his fastball, but as he develops, he wants to see the off-speed stuff improve.

“He’s got a nice live fastball that I think helps him out right now,” Griffith said. “Right now, he can power-past people. But he’s going to develop that wrinkle and that change-up a little bit more. They are already good, but he just needs to get them a little bit better than they are now, a little more crisp.”

Griffith said experience would help a lot in developing Warren into a more complete pitcher.

“He’s going to learn as he goes,” Griffith said. “He’ll learn how to pitch just a little bit more every time he goes out in travel ball and up here at the high school.

“He’s going to be real good. As long as he keeps a good attitude and keeps doing everything the proper way, I have no doubt he’ll be playing baseball in college. If he just puts the time in, he’ll be fine.”

Warren said he would like to play in college, though he’s got no particular loyalty to any team. In the majors, he likes the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburg Pirates.

“On my mom’s side of the family, a lot of them live in Pennsylvania and they are big Pittsburg fans, so that’s why I like the Pirates,” he said. “My life-long goal is to play in the majors, either pitch or play outfield. I know, once you get in college and at the major league level, most pitchers don’t get to hit. So that’s a perk of playing outfield.”

After recording the final out and learning what he had done, Warren said it was a special moment.

“It’s just a good milestone to complete,” he said. “I felt that I had done a good job for the team.”