CLICK HERE for the original article on centralmainesports.com by staff writer Travis Lazarczyk.
Thomas College baseball coach Greg King had a feeling this could be a good season for Isiah Fleming when every time he would go to the gym for his own workout Fleming was already there.
"Every day I went in there, (Fleming) was in there working his rear end off," King said.
Early into the 2015 season, that hard work is paying off for Fleming, a junior lefty and Fairfield native. In three appearances for the Terriers, Fleming is 1-0 with an earned run average of 1.29. The win came in a key game against North Atlantic Conference rival Castleton State, and Fleming will take the mound Thursday against Husson in another big conference game.
"I'm finally starting to realize what I can actually do to contribute to the team a lot better than I have been," Fleming said.
In 14 innings, Fleming has allowed 11 hits and four walks while striking out nine.
"I'm so proud of him," King said. "One of the great things about coaching is, you see a kid who grows and matures, and Isiah has done that. He's been almost unhittable."
The 6-foot-4, 196-pound Fleming struggled at times in his first two seasons with the Terriers, compiling a 2-4 record with a 5.97 ERA. He knew he had to fix his mechanics and get stronger. King noticed Fleming would tire early in an outing, and in his motion Fleming tended to almost jump toward the plate in his delivery.
Fleming made a commitment to the weight room. In order to make corrections on the mound, Fleming watched video of his pitching motion. When he finally saw video of himself throwing correctly, Fleming was thrilled.
"I can't really feel the things I'm doing, but if I see, I'm 'Oh, this is what I need to do.'" Fleming said. "I was actually very excited with myself, because I know I've had some troubles. I had success in high school, but that's a totally different ball game. I realized I have the stuff to do what I need to do and get the job done out there."
It all came together for Fleming in a start against defending NAC champion Castleton on March 31 in Auburndale, Florida, on the final day of Thomas' spring trip. In the first game of a doubleheader against the Spartans, Fleming threw a complete game, allowing six hits, three walks and two earned runs while striking out two in a 7-3 win.
"I was kind of nervous going into it, because I hadn't gotten a start yet this year. I had a couple prior appearances out of the bullpen," Fleming said. "I didn't really change much. I just went into the game thinking 'I'm better than them. They can't touch what I have.'"
Fleming said his best pitch against Castleton that day was his changeup. Fleming throws a fastball and curve along with the change, but wouldn't consider any of them his best pitch.
"I don't really have a best pitch right now. My fastball I can locate pretty much anywhere I want to. My curveball and change, it kind of depends on the day and how I'm feeling," said Fleming, a sports management major.
"It's his ability to control all of his pitches and stay low in the zone," King added. "He's pitching the way we thought he was going to pitch when he came here."
Thomas is 4-10, 2-4 in NAC play. The Terriers sit in fourth place in the conference, and Fleming knows Thursday's start against Husson (10-0 in conference games) is big.
"We've just got to work on getting to the conference playoffs now," Fleming said.