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Denebola Athlete of the Year: Sam Forman

By Jason Yoffe
Published: June 2010

From afar, the pitcher on the mound looked like a man among boys. Senior Sam Forman, then twelve years old, was standing on the hill in front of his defense comprised of thirteen year-olds.

Though he was about to face an undefeated team that sported an offense averaging more than five runs a game, Forman toed the mound, composed. That day, he held the opposing team to its lowest scoring output of the season, giving his team a legitimate opportunity to win.

Keeping his team in contention, Sam Forman has been defined by his reliability and his consistency since his little league days. In his four years at South, Forman has developed into a top pitcher in the state, and progressed significantly in his pool of competitors.

While Forman’s success as a swimmer and baseball player are staggering, his intangibles serve invaluable assets to both the Baseball and Swim programs.

“Sam Forman is a man of strong character, Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “You wish you could have teams made up of kids like Forman. He is just a great kid with tremendous character.

According to Perrin, Forman maintains an unparalleled work ethic. There is a consensus among his coaches, past and present, that Forman’s desire to improve has been one of his most valuable qualities.

“He is as good as he is because he works harder than everyone else. You see his work ethic and you see his attitude in whatever he does, John Merin, Forman’s coach five years ago and current coach of the Freshman Baseball team, said.

Forman, captain of the Boys’ Swim team, has proven his worth in more than one dimension.

“Sam’s a great kid, Ethan Treat, Head Coach of the Swim team, said. “He definitely made the transition into being a first year coach really easy.

In addition to being one of South’s top swimmers, Forman has established his legacy on the baseball diamond. According to Head Baseball Coach Ron Jordan, Forman has played a significant role in the program’s recent success. This season, the team garnered a 14-6 record, the best in fifteen years.

Forman’s contributions came from all sides of the game. On the mound, Forman earned the label of ace of the pitching staff, procuring a 5-1 record and a 3.50 earned run average (ERA). The ace pitched the most innings on the team, as well.

“He’s not going to strike out 20, but he’s going to keep you in the game, Jordan said.

Aside from his pitching ability, Forman has delivered on the offensive side, as well. Last season, he was the second-best hitter statistically, hitting well over .300.

The success in his senior year as a pitcher stemmed from Forman’s unique pitching philosophy. Rather than blowing pitches by hitters, he opts to use a finesse approach. Relying on accuracy over velocity results in more economical outings, therefore longer starts.

“He’s sort of a different pitcher than the other pitchers on the staff. He tries to nit-pick at the corners. He uses a lot of off-speed stuff, catcher, captain, and senior teammate Scott Lueders said. “Sam really works well with what he has, and he gets the job done.

“By mixing that great, dropping curveball with a great changeup and a fastball that he can put pretty much anywhere [in the strike zone] he wants, he’s definitely tough to hit.

Forman’s repertoire consists of a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup. His most impressive pitch in his arsenal is his changeup, which enhances the effectiveness of his fastball despite its velocity.

“Sam has one of the best changeups, not only in the league, but in the state, Jordan said. “He’s won a lot of games for us in the past two years.

In South’s victory against Everett High School in the opening round of the Division-I North Sectional tournament, Forman accomplished merely 100 pitches in a complete game, a feat that most professional pitchers cannot achieve. He did not surrender an earned run or allow a walk during his outing.

Forman earned his worth in the pool, as well. This season, he shattered several of his personal best times en route to becoming a consistent contributor on the team.

Forman started the season with a 6:11.58 on the 500-yard freestyle, and brought his time down to a formidable 5:36.99 by the winter’s end. He posted this time in the Dual County League (DCL) Championship meet, easily winning his heat.

He also led off the team’s 400-yard freestyle relay and shaved considerable margins off his 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle events.
“He didn’t think he was that great a swimmer [at the beginning of the season], Treat said. “But through a lot of hard work, he became a pretty good one.

Forman won the Baseball team’s Commitment to Excellence award, which honors the program’s best student-athlete. In addition, he earned the Bob Chruzs award at Spring Sports’ Awards Night, the highest honor of the evening.

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