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Millis/Medway - Local Town Pages

Newman’s Priorities, Perspective Keys For Medway Nine

Medway baseball payer Troy Newman. Credit: Ken Hamwey

Staff Sports Writer

Troy Newman made the jump from Medway High’s freshman baseball squad to a starting role in centerfield as a sophomore on the Mustangs’ varsity. And, he made it look easy.

Batting ninth, Newman hit .304 (17-for-56), had 5 RBIs and scored 12 runs. His play in the outfield was solid and consistent for a rookie whose season ended in the State championship at UMass-Lowell where Taconic Regional downed the Mustangs, 4-1.
The 5-foot-10, 150-pound Newman was aiming to improve on his sophomore statistics in his junior year and perhaps return to the State tourney again. After all, seven of the nine starters who faced Taconic were back and even Medway’s coach (Mike Coppinger) was optimistic about another playoff run.
But, something strange happened on the way to the 2020 spring campaign. Like a thief in the night, Medway’s promising baseball season was stolen — canceled because of the covid-19 pandemic.
“My first reaction was disbelief,’’ Newman said. “Then, when reality set in, disappointment ruled the day. But, now as a senior, I’m thankful and feeling blessed to be playing. There’s changes but we’re all adjusting to the rules in place. I played varsity soccer and my final season last fall involved wearing a mask. What’s most important, however, is the health and safety of everyone. That’s the top priority for our country.’’
The 18-year-old Newman, who’s now a captain, has some specific goals — for the team and for himself.
“I want us to qualify for the tourney and advance as far as possible,’’ he emphasized. “We lack varsity experience but we’ve got decent talent, our team chemistry is good and we’re resilient. Personally, I want to be the best captain I can be, have some fun, strive to be a Tri Valley League all-star and compile a higher batting average.’’
Coppinger is utilizing Newman in the outfield but he can also play shortstop. Wherever the Medway native plays, the Mustangs’ veteran coach knows it’s a win-win situation.
“Troy has a high baseball IQ, he’s a leader and was one of our steadiest hitters as a sophomore,’’ Coppinger said. “His approach at the plate is awesome. He’s got quick hands, a good swing and has gap-to-gap power. Defensively in the outfield, he’s got excellent range and good instincts.’’
Newman will play wherever he’s needed but prefers centerfield.
“I’m more comfortable in the outfield,’’ he noted. “I love tracking the ball, running and making the catch. There’s a lot of space in centerfield and the position comes easy. Shortstop is tougher because I have more difficulty with a ground ball than with a fly ball.’’
Newman’s athletic assets no doubt convinced Coppinger to consider him for shortstop. His baseball IQ enables him to make correct decisions in the infield. He’s also calm, instinctive and has speed and quickness. “Shortstop involves being aware of all kinds of situations and to be effective there, communication is a must,’’ Newman said.
At Local Town Pages deadline, Medway was 0-4, losing three times by only one run.  Newman was hitting .455 and had 3 RBIs, 6 runs scored and 3 stolen bases.
“I’m both patient and aggressive at the plate,’’ he said. “If I get the perfect pitch, I’ll jump on it. If I’m looking for a fastball and don’t get it, then I’ll assess what’s coming next. I can be patient and analyze the pitcher. Either way, I rely on a level swing.’’
Newman is also relying on solid contributions from Medway’s other captains — pitcher/shortstop Ben Emero and infielder Billy Reynolds. “Ben has a passion for baseball and he’s a capable pitcher who can hit,’’ said Newman. “Billy is a vocal leader who’s rock solid on defense.
Coppinger also gets high marks from Newman who calls him a strong motivator. “Coach Coppinger has a lot of positive energy and he gets the most out of his players,’’ Newman offered. “He knows the game, is solid with strategy and loves the sport.’’
    Newman lists two games during his sophomore campaign as memorable — Medway’s tourney triumph over Ashland and a victory over Bishop Fenwick in the State semifinals.
“The 1-0 win over Ashland gave us the Sectional championship,’’ he noted. “They’re also one of our main rivals. We played a great game in our 5-1 victory over Fenwick. I got a line-drive single and a walk. Both games were exciting.’’
Although he’s played only one full year of varsity baseball, Newman has experienced two thrilling moments in his brief career. “Being selected a captain was a thrill,’’ he said. “I’m not super vocal but I’m focusing on being positive and supportive. My other thrill was facing Taconic in the State title game. We were playing at LeLacheur Park in Lowell and to hear my name announced and to see my name on a big scoreboard screen was an honor.’’
A National Honor Society student, Newman will attend the University of Connecticut next fall and major in biomedical engineering. If he had opted for WPI, he would have tried out for soccer as a walk-on. An instinctive and technically sound player, he was a center back on defense. “I was a captain and a three-time TVL all-star,’’ he said. “And, in my junior year, we got to the State final but lost, 1-0, to Belchertown in overtime.’’
Calling his parents (Nancy and Mike) and his brother (Zach) role models for their support, encouragement and emphasis on learning life lessons through athletics, Newman relies on a competitive philosophy that combines winning, potential and enjoyment. “Winning is most important,’’ he stressed, “but doing your best and having fun play a role, too. My personal stats will never be more important than winning.’’
Newman says that life lessons have been learned in soccer and baseball. “I’ve learned how valuable teamwork is and how to deal with adversity,’’ he said. “Leadership and sportsmanship are also valuable life lessons that sports teach.’’
In addition to his academic excellence, Newman is a member of SADD (Student Against Destructive Decisions) and he volunteers at a food pantry in Medway.
The pandemic no doubt has interfered with many individual goals. For Newman, he wanted to improve on a positive sophomore season in baseball. It didn’t happen his junior year but it’s unfolding now.
Troy Newman deserves a happy ending to his senior year because of his priorities and his perspective.