Bristol Blues, CCSU pitcher Niman asserting himself as one of FCBL's top relievers

Published on Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:00
Written by ZACK CARPENTER

@ZACKCARPENTERBP

BRISTOL - Dom Niman has rapidly become one of the top relievers in the FCBL, and he’s been getting it done since his first appearance this summer. 

When he trotted in from the bullpen to make his season debut May 30 against the Pittsfield Suns, the Bristol Blues left-hander admits there were a few butterflies, and it’s hard to blame him. 

After redshirting his freshman season at CCSU, Niman had not pitched in a game since helping Conard High School to a 12-8 record with a 0.54 ERA in 26 innings during the 2018 campaign and then throwing some innings of relief for his summer team. 

“I was a little nervous, but after the first pitch, I was fine,” Niman said. “I kind of came in and was like, ‘Well, I haven’t pitched in a while so we’ll see how this goes.’ It’s been going well so far.”

It certainly has. Niman has been on a tear, sporting a 5-0 record with a 2.03 ERA and 18 strikeouts paired with nine walks in 17 ⅔ innings during his 11 appearances. 

“Oh, man. He’s been lights out for us,” Blues manager Ronnie Palmer said. “He’s given us a chance to take the lead when he’s in there. Any time we’ve called on him, he’s thrown strikes, worked ahead in counts, worked himself out of jams. He’s done everything and anything you can ask of him as a reliever.”

Of course, one of those stats stands out as more peculiar and noteworthy than the rest … those five victories as a middle-inning reliever. 

“I don’t have your typical reliever record,” Niman said. “But I’ll take it.”

Added Palmer: “People will laugh and joke a little bit to where he’s snaked or vultured a couple wins. He’s done it because of how he’s pitched. We’re excited for him and how he’s been pitching this summer.”

Even while the victories to his name have continued to rack up, Niman hasn’t changed his approach or given a second thought to the win total. Not even during his last earned victory, when he entered in relief of starter James Judenis with two outs in the sixth inning and the Blues trailing North Shore 3-2 on Sunday. 

Niman got himself into a situation with runners on first and second (after allowing a walk) then worked himself out of it with a strikeout. His offense then gave him a 5-3 lead, he worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning, and the Blues held on to give Niman his fifth win. 

“That’s nuts as a reliever,” Blues outfielder Brandon Miller said of Niman’s 5-0 record. “He comes in and does his thing and throws strikes. If you’re filling up the zone, you’re obviously gonna make the hitters work. … They’ve gotta put a good swing on it.”

Niman did not pitch in any live action in the fall or spring against CCSU teammates and said it’s been a bit of an adjustment for him. The last time he pitched was against high schoolers. 

“It’s just different. The whole lineup can hit at this level, where in high school you get to the five or maybe six hitter and [you mainly just throw fastballs],” Niman said. “But everyone now at this level can hit so you really have to pay attention to what pitches you throw.”

It’s been about as good of a precursor Niman could have had thus far as he preps for his first full-time college action that begins in the fall. 

He has been able to acquaint himself with future Blue Devil teammates in third baseman Buddy Dewaine, fellow pitcher Matt Shane and catcher Sam Loda, who has caught Niman twice in games this summer and will be catching him for the next two seasons at Central. 

“We’ve had guys from Central all three years I’ve been here,” Palmer said. “They come in, and they’re very well-versed and schooled in the game. It’s just carried on with Dom this summer. They just produce those types of kids on the mound. I hope what he’s done this summer can carry over and parlay into next season for him.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or zcarpenter@bristolpress.com



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol Blues, CCSU on Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:00. Updated: Thursday, 4 July 2019 16:02.