Theal seals the deal
Connor Theal is ready to hit the road.
The 18-year-old Niagara Falls resident recently committed to pitch for the St. Louis Community College Archers for the next two seasons and can’t wait to get started.
“I’m excited,” he said. “Some people like staying home and whatnot but I’ve always wanted to get out and do things on my own and learn how to live life like that.
“Obviously, it’s a little scary leaving people behind and leaving everything behind, but overall I would say I’m way more excited than I am scared.”
Theal, who is in Grade 12B at A.N. Myer, was hoping to play at the NCAA Division 1 level and almost had a deal with a school in Baltimore.
“I really thought I was going to go there and they gave me an offer but it just wasn’t enough,” Theal said.
At that point Theal, who is a member of the Fieldhouse Pirates Baseball Club in Burlington, instructed Pirates director of player development and college placement coordinator George Halim to help him explore other options.
About a week later, Theal got the offer from St. Louis, which is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and Midwest Community College Athletic Conference.
“This school messaged me and offered me a full ride so I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity,” he said.
Theal, who plans to major in teaching at the school, wasn’t able to visit the school in person due to travel restrictions between Canada and the United States due to the COVID pandemic.
“It is a lot harder, but I guess that is the society we have to get used to with all this (COVID),” he said. “It is tough not being able to visit or see things in person but I had an hour-long call with them. They have a great team so that made it a bit easier knowing all the details and being able to ask questions.”
Theal also leaned on his older brother, Cal, a pitcher at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., for some advice.
“He’s always been there for me,” Theal said. “He’s very knowledgeable in that aspect. The D1 school, that was the main goal. I was kind of upset but he made me realize it’s just a further step to that ultimate goal. There’s nothing wrong with going to junior college now and obviously I believe it too. It was just to accept it.”
Theal, who grew up playing minor ball in Niagara Falls, only recently became a full-time pitcher.
“I’ve always had the stuff,” said Theal, who is topping out at 87 miles-per-hour. “I was throwing hard but I could never piece it all together. Once I just focused on pitching I could put the pieces I had together. I fixed my mechanics and fixed the little things that will make me better overall.
“I think with my build I always knew I was going to be a pitcher.”
Teal, who stands 6-foot-4, is confident he will add more velocity as his wiry frame fills out.
“The same thing happen to Cal. We’re tall, skinny guys and I was kind of a late bloomer,” he said. “I think once I am able to put on weight — I work out often and eat a stupid amount and I don’t put on a lot of weight or muscle. I think once I mature physically I will be able to put more velocity on.”
Archers head coach Scott Goodrich likes Theal’s skill set.
“The thing that stands out the most is, he’s a physical kid. He has great stature on the mound,” Goodrich said. “We think he has room to grow in his frame. We think his arm strength is going to continue to grow and his secondary pitches are going to continue to get better.
“I think he has a really good opportunity to be a successful pitcher for us for two years.”
BPSN and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like all small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, BPSN is not sure what the business landscape will look like when things return to normal. Our website is financed primarily through advertising revenues and partnership agreements with many local sports and educational organizations in Niagara. Our goal is to continue providing our readers with the extensive local sports coverage you have come to expect from our site. Since our inception, we have written more than 3,000 stories on our local athletes and teams. Many of our readers have given us one-time donations or send us monthly contributions to help offset our costs. We would be eternally grateful if others would consider doing the same by using the Support Us button located on the right-hand side of our home page below the mosaic.
Thank you for your continued support.
Bill and Bernie.