Nick Wallin has many roles this summer.
A starting pitcher for the Central League's Jefferson ballclub. A cook at his family-owned Wallins Pizza & Subs shop in Hanover. And bullpen catcher for the York Revolution.
All three require hard work and preparation. But those are traits the 20-year-old Wallin has grown up with, especially when it comes to his dad.
"My family has owned a small restaurant down here in Hanover probably for the last 10 or 11 years. And I see him get up early everyday and open the shop," Wallin said of his dad.
Wallin, a 2009 South Western High School graduate, said that's probably why he believes it's so important to prepare for his future. For example, he'd like to be a police officer one day, but he also wants to make sure he has a backup plan.
"I didn't just want to go get a criminal justice degree somewhere and then go into the academy," he said. "If you get hurt as an officer, you don't have much to fall back on."
That's why Wallin is majoring in human development and family studies at Penn State York, where he will enter his senior year this fall.
"If I get hurt (as a police officer), I can at least fall back on counseling or something," he said.
Catcher: The 5-foot, 7-inch Wallin is taking a similar approach with the Revolution.
It was back sometime in the early spring when Penn State York assistant athletic director Don Walker asked a favor of Wallin, who is a catcher for PSY's baseball team.
"(Walker's) grandson was one the of the kids that was getting pitching lessons from (Revs' pitching coach) Mark Mason. Don was like 'hey, could you be able to come and catch my grandson?' I go there and catch his grandson and there are two other kids getting lessons after that. Mark asked if I could stick around."
Mason remembered Wallin a couple months later when he was in need of someone to come out and catch Revs' relievers as they warmed up during the game in the bullpen.
"He (Mason) asked me if I could do it that night," Wallin said. "I told him I had to work but I can do it tomorrow."
Wallin has served as York's bullpen catcher for home games ever since. And he's taken full advantage of the opportunity, whether it's getting hitting lessons from player-coach Liu Rodriguez or listening to Revs' relievers chat during the game about the psychology of pitching.
He's hoping everything translates to success on the field, either as a pitcher for Jefferson or a catcher for Penn State York.
"More than anything, I've learned the mentality of what it's like to be a pro ballplayer," Wallin said. "I want to go back to school and show younger guys that this is how it's supposed to be done. It's not a joke. You take it serious."
Before he pursues a career in the police force, Wallin said he'd like to try out as a catcher for an independent pro baseball team. So, it makes sense he's working hard to learn as much as he can from Revs' players.
He's just preparing for his future.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.