TOWNSEND -- The Junior Varsity program acts as a feeder system for the top level of high school athletics -- varsity. Freshman North Middlesex JV ace Dave Neuhaus has accomplished a feat that pitchers often dream of twice.
Neuhaus rather quietly no-hit Oakmont and Gardner this season and his father, David Sr., is impressed with his son's accomplishments. In the first game at Gardner, Neuhaus no-hit the Wildcats in a five-inning mercy-rule shortened game. Neuhaus fanned 13 batters in that game, and recorded all 15 outs with a pair of pop-outs.
Neuhaus is a tall freshman, at 5-foot-10-inches, and weighs around 200 pounds.
Neuhaus features a fastball that sits around 80 miles per hour, and he has developed a pair of curve balls as the season went on. Neuhaus thought he had a shot at cracking the varsity lineup this season, but he settled for a single closer appearance.
"He spent some time with the varsity," said Neuhaus senior. "He closed out a game against Fitchburg and came in and pitched the seventh. He forced a groundball and two strikeouts."
David Sr. charts all of his son's performances in a book to make sure the young pitcher's arm isn't being overworked. Neauhaus's second no-hitter came in a full seven-inning game with Oakmont two Wednesdays ago in Ashburnham. Neuhaus struck out 12 Spartans in the game and held a 7-0 lead through five innings.
Neuhaus has spent time in Townsend Little League and the Leominster Babe Ruth League for three years. During his time in Leominster, Neuhaus pitched back-to-back days in both the Division 1 and Division 2 14-year-old championship games.
"He is a power pitcher," said David Sr. "He has two different curveballs and a splitter that he uses. Before this year his most effective pitch was his fastball because he can locate. Now he has thrown a lot more curves this year and that is developing."
Neuhaus is expected to crack the varsity roster next spring , and in the one game he threw for the Patriots' big club this year, head coach Tom Bartelson gave the young hurler some constructive criticism, according to David Sr.
"My son shook the catcher off," said Neuhaus. "I always tell my son to do what is best for his arm and his body. The catcher called for a 3-2 changeup, and my son didn't want to throw anything that would end up a ball. He threw a fastball and struck the kid out. He really shouldn't shake off the catcher."
North Middlesex junior varsity coach Jeremy Savarese said that Neuhaus is the most vocal player on the Patriots' diamond.
"He is a smart player on the mound for his age," the coach said. " He is really a motivator. He is the loudest and most energetic kid on the field. His father is at the games all the time. He has pitched 27 innings for us this year. Every single one of those innings he never got down and motivated every single one of the kids."
Savarese noted said that Neuhaus has a high pitchers' IQ for a freshman.
"I think playing baseball for that many years taught him that baseball is not all about wins," said Savarese. "He knows when he needs to pitch and when he doesn't. What I mean by that is just throwing the fastball, or now's the time to throw a curve ball or a changeup."
The JV Patriots finished the season at 9-6 and Neuhaus posted a 3-1 record with two saves.