Pitcher’s arresting delivery keeps batters off
By Craig Marks
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Randy Newsom’s future may be in assisting the long arm of the law. But for right now, Newsom is a pitcher for the Akron Aeros, and his right arm is causing opposing batters’ knees to buckle.
“I call myself a side-armer, but I hear that I’m a submarine guy,” said Newsom. “I’ve heard all sorts of things. I just make fun of it. I say I throw like a girl.”
A girl? Perhaps if you’re talking about one of the aces on the Akron Racers’ professional softball team. But however you describe Newsom’s delivery, it’s been successful. The right-hander, who was acquired from Boston last year in the Coco Crisp deal, was promoted to Akron May 11. His earned run average after four games is 2.45.
It was during his time with the Red Sox organization that Newsom developed his side-arm style.
“The Red Sox made me do it,” said Newsom, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004. “A few years ago, coming out of spring training, I was just fooling around, making fun of a guy they had named Cla Meredith. One of the coaches saw it and thought, ‘Hey, this might be a possibility for this guy.’”
Newsom admits to having initial reservations about the unorthodox delivery.
“What I thought at the time was that it was kind of a novelty,” he said. “I can see now that it is pitching, just at a different angle.”
Batters expect the ball to come from the pitcher over the top. When the ball seems to be coming from the third-base dugout, hitters have a tendency to bail out.
But the batter’s befuddlement may only last a pitch or two.
“Especially at this level, they’re going to start making the adjustment,” said Newsom, who turned 25 earlier this month. “They’re going to find ways to beat you if you don’t make the pitches.”
Newsom graduated from Tufts University in Massachusetts, a school known more for academics than its sports programs.
“If I didn’t get signed, I either would be graduating from law school or in the Marines,” said Newsom, who has a degree in economics.
Newsom plans to study law after his pitching days are over. He comes from a law enforcement family and would like to be a prosecutor.
“I had gotten into a couple of my top schools, but you can do that when you’re 40 after a successful major league career,” said Newsom, whose father is a homicide detective.
Newsom grew up in the Cincinnati area and still has family there.
“My first weekend up here, I had about 20 family members that made the trek,” he said. “My grandfather, who had never seen me play professionally, was able to see me, and that was a thrill. To see the look on his face was pretty cool.”
The large fan base did not cause Newsom to lose his concentration.
“I focus out pretty well,” he said. “But when I was coming off the mound, I heard my little cousin scream. I tried to keep a smile away, but I smiled a little bit. I smiled more when we won in the bottom of the inning.”
Aeros pitcher Randy Newsom
Photo: Craig Marks