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Former Rockland Boulders pitcher Nate Roe, now currently with the New Britain Bees, said last week not only earning an Atlantic League All-Star selection but also pitching in the game was his biggest achievement in baseball. Born in Plainfield, New Jersey. Roe attended and played baseball at Rutgers University.

“The whole experience was absolutely fantastic and Somerset (Patriots) did an awesome job making all the players feel nice and an amazing event,” said Roe. “We had the gala the night before and a lot of fun mingling with other players and taking and meeting other people.”

Roe enjoyed the All-Star festivities before the game started, such as the autograph session, home run derby and meeting New York Yankees broadcaster John Sterling and player/coach Willie Randolph.

“During the autograph session, I saw these little kids wearing Little League equipment from neighboring towns and cool to see them and think that was not me too long ago,” Roe said. “I saw a lot of Rutgers hats too and a couple of people saw me on the back of a card and from Plainfield and got small talk in with them.”

“I didn’t think it would be right next to the Home Run Derby as far as experiencing it so it was to cheer on my teammates Michael Crouse and Conor Bierfeldt and nice to document it taking videos and pictures of it and those are memories that I will have for a lifetime.”

“I grew up a Yankees fan watching games on the YES Network and listening to Michael Kay. On the radio I listened to Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling. Willie Randolph is a legend in the area of the baseball and nice to meet these people and come face to face with them and have a little conversation.”

“Willie’s advice to me was keep playing the game and enjoy it. When guys tell you it’s special, they realize the grind and what it takes to be a ball player and wants you to make a little harder and see the things that are possible.”

Entering the All-Star Game in the top of the 6th, Roe said it was very muggy and hot and drenched in sweat. “A lot of adrenaline going in no matter how many people were there.” Roe was mesmerized by the size of the crowd that topped out at 8,175. The game and moment was bittersweet coming on the heels of the three-year anniversary of Roe’s father passing away.

“I look up and see one of the biggest crowds I have ever played in front of. I could hear my mom and sister screaming my name. A stadium (TD Bank Ball Park) where my father and I went to games and words can’t really describe the emotion I had out there and very blessed and grateful to have this opportunity.”

Roe is enjoying his best season with a record of 3-3 and 3.12 E.R.A. with the Bees. He credits former Rockland teammate and now New Britain pitching coach Shawn Gilblair with his progression and success on the mound. Back in 2014, Roe was a member of the Boulders first Can-Am League championship.

“We played in Rockland together for four seasons and he (Shawn Gilblair) has done an unbelievable job helping me with the mental aspect of the game, right mindset on the mound and being able to attack hitters and know I can get very hitter out. A big difference for me this year knowing I can go out there and know what I’m capable of doing and not fearing who I’m facing as long as I can get strike out and makes it easier to pitch.”

Roe also credit his time spent in the Can-Am League preparing him to play in the Atlantic League and inspiring him to become a better pitcher and player.

“Starting in the Can-Am League everyone wants to get back to the Atlantic League and always wanted to get back to affiliated ball. I played with a lot of good players and learned things that helped in my development and watching how others went about their business, structured, have a plan and get things done.”

Two former Boulders teammates that Roe looks up to are Stephen Cardullo, now with the Colorado Rockies and Joe Malone back with Rockland after spending time playing in Double A with the Minnesota Twins.

“So happy for these guys and they came to the stadium with a plan and didn’t stray away from it and testament to their success. They treated like it was a real job which it is and didn’t sell themselves short. You take a second and think to yourself this is what I want and to reach the same level as them.”

Before joining New Britain, Roe spent time in the Australian Baseball League and says establishing a structured routine paid off as well. “I watched what I ate and started a throwing program that added up being second nature and helped me mentally and physically. As you get older it’s no secret you become wiser.”

“Baseball is humbling, when you think you have it figured out, you will get knocked down real quick and key is to stay within yourself, know what you are capable of doing and have confidence to execute a pitch. Not about who is on deck but who is the box and how you are going to get this guy out and not think too far in the future and if so going to get in trouble and stay in the moment.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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