Sports Person of the Week
Halfinger Helps H-K Storm Out to Strong Start
Senior Alden Halfinger is primed for a big year on the hill and at the dish for the H-K baseball team this spring. (Photo courtesy of Alden Halfinger )
The Haddam-Killingworth baseball team is off to a solid start with its record of 3-1 this spring. One of the major reasons behind H-K’s early success is the performance of senior Alden Halfinger, who pitches and plays third base for the Cougars.
Alden features a variety of pitches in his arsenal, including a four-seam fastball, a changeup, and a knuckle curveball. Alden used all of those pitches to his benefit when H-K claimed a 4-2 victory over Cromwell on Opening Day. The senior right-hander fired five innings of one-run ball and struck out six batters to lift the Cougars to the victory.
“It felt great to get out there and get the first win for the team. I felt amazing on the mound and felt confident in all my pitches,” says Alden. “My favorite pitch to throw has to be my fastball. Reaching back and blowing it by a hitter is the best feeling.”
As much as he loves throwing his heater, Alden says that his off-speed pitches kept Cromwell’s hitters off-balance when H-K defeated the Panthers in the first game of the season.
“I used my off-speed in all counts to keep the hitters guessing. I had a great feel on my fastball and was feeling really confident on the mound,” Alden says. “It was nice to get the first win and get the momentum going.”
Alden is also producing at the plate for the Cougars this year. Thus far, Alden has a .500 batting average to go with three RBI and four runs scored. Alden gives a lot of credit to Trevor Brown, who owns the Shoreline Breakers sports facility in Old Lyme, for helping him make steady improvements in both the batter’s box and on the pitcher’s mound.
“I improve my game by staying consistent with hitting and workouts,” says Alden. “Over the winter, I would hit every day on my own. I would also go to Trevor Brown every week to hit and pitch. He helped critique my pitching and hitting mechanics, which has helped my game a lot this season.”
H-K Head Coach Mark Brookes is relying on Alden as one of the Cougars’ top pitchers this spring. Brookes says that Alden has stepped up while other players have been out due to COVID-19 contact tracing.
“With other pitchers missing for various reasons during scrimmage season and the start of the year, Alden has been our one constant to rely on off the mound,” says Brookes.
Alden started playing baseball when he was only five years old. Alden tried just about every sport while growing up, but he ultimately found his home on the ballfield.
“I have been playing baseball for about 12 years now,” Alden says. “My parents signed me up for a lot of sports and activities when I was younger. Baseball was the one that stuck with me, and I have always loved it.”
Much of Alden’s love for the game stems from the relationships that he’s formed with both his coaches and his teammates.
“My favorite part of the sport is the team aspect. Going out and competing with the guys is what it’s all about,” says Alden. “Having the kind of teammates I have really helps us all play at our top level.”
Next year, Alden will compete for the baseball team at Salem University in West Virginia. Alden will never forget when Salem Head Coach JT Heenan told him that he had earned scholarship to play for the program.
“My favorite moment as a player would have to be when I received a baseball scholarship to play college baseball,” Alden says. “That has been my goal throughout my entire baseball, so to reach that goal felt surreal.”
As for the rest of this season, Alden feels confident that H-K has the potential for a great year. Alden is encouraged by what he’s seen from the Cougars through the first week of the campaign.
“I am very excited for the high school season,” says Alden. “We are off to a hot start. Our pitching has been on point all season and so has our hitting. We all have high expectations for this season.”