By STEVE KRAH
Sam Bachman’s fastball has registered at 96 mph while pitching for the Local Legends during the College Summer League at Grand Park at Westfield, Ind.
The right-hander hit 97 as a Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) freshman in 2019 and again for the RedHawks during the fall.
Bachman, 20, works out regularly at Fishers (Ind.) Sports Academy — owned by Ed Woolwine, who was Bachman’s head coach with the Indiana Prospects travel baseball organization during his first three high school summers.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Bachman has also been near the top of the pulldown leader board at PRP (Passion Resilience Process) Baseball, run by Greg Vogt at Finch Creek Fieldhouse in Noblesville, Ind.
What helps hit the gas?
“As I get stronger, I stay mobile,” says Bachman, a 2018 graduate of Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers with 19 mound appearances (18 starts) in two seasons at Miami. “It’s important to stay mobile in your upper and lower half.”
To say mobile as his strength increases, Bachman pays attention to his movement patterns, goes through mobility circuits and does yoga.
Besides a two-seam fastball, Bachman throws a slider — more of a “slurve” which breaks two planes of the strike zone — and a vertical-breaking change-up.
The Grand Park League began last week and Bachman made his second appearance Tuesday, June 23. He expects to throw a bullpen Saturday at Fishers Sports Academy and take the mound in the college league again Tuesday, June 30.
“It’s definitely competitive,” says Bachman of the circuit that’s a joint venture of Bullpen Tournaments and Pro X Athlete Development. “The State of Indiana is oftentimes overlooked.
“There’s no slouch in this league. Everybody is for real.”
Like other pitchers in the league who had their college season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachman is only pitching for a few innings a time.
“I’m just staying on my routine,” says Bachman. “I’m working on my change-up and bettering my command with my off-speed and fastball.
“There’s no need to worry about velo 11 months prior to next year’s (Major League Baseball First-Year Player) Draft.”
Bachman and Miami pitching coach Matthew Passauer have mapped out the hurler’s regimen.
“He’s very flexible about what I want to do,” says Bachman of Passauer. “We work together and bounce ideas of each other and develop a plan.”
As a RedHawks freshman for head coach Danny Hayden, Bachman was an all-Mid-American Conference first-teamer. He went 7-1 with a 3.93 earned run average. He struck out 75 batters in 75 2/3 innings and opponents hit .229 against him.
With that many innings, he was shut down for the summer collegiate season.
In 2020, the righty started four times and was 1-2 with a 3.42 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.
“I’m usually a high-adrenaline guy, which is a little unusual for a starter,” says Bachman. “It’s about beating the hitter every time no matter what the situation.”
That’s just the way Bachman is wired. His parents — Kevin Bachman and Suzanne Bachman — divorced when Sam was young and he pushed himself athletically and academically.
“I’m very competitive and driven for sure,” says Bachman. “I always have a chip on my shoulder. I’m never satisfied. Workhorse mentality.”
Bachman’s favorite baseball player is Pete Rose.
“My dad was always a fan,” says Sam, who was born 13 years after Rose retired with 4,256 career hits. “I like his passion and how he played so hard. It reminds me of myself.
“No matter the situation, I’m giving it my all.”
Bachman, who turns 21 on Sept. 30, is both a Premedical Studies co-major and Microbiology major. He plans to ride baseball as far as it will take him then comes medical school.
At HSE — playing for then-Royals head coach Scott Henson — Bachman earned two baseball letters and struck out 100 of 307 batters faced over 21 games.
Bachman appreciates Woolwine for his coaching approach.
“He had a very relaxed mood to him,” says Bachman. “He was not super intense or very hands-on. He let me figure out baseball himself.
“There’s not one way to play. It allowed me to develop into the player I am today.”
When Bachman became more serious about the game, he played travel ball for the Indiana Nitro. The summer before college he played for Ohio’s Midland Redskins, coached by Dave Evans.
Tyler Bosma, a teammate with the Prospects and Redskins, also wound up being a starting pitcher at Miami. The left-hander is from Holland, Mich.
Gabe Bachman, Sam’s brother, is about to turn 18. He is planning to attend Purdue University.