“Peter [Ling ’20 is] one of a select few in our program’s history to make varsity as a ninth-grader, and he graduates as perhaps the embodiment of one of our program’s many mantras—”BACKYARD BASEBALL.” We may never again see a weapon as potent on the bases as Peter. And [he is] such an amazing ambassador of the program off the field, as a baseball captain, Blue Key Head, dorm prefect, admissions panelist, and countless other leadership responsibilities,” wrote Head Baseball Coach Kevin Graber (KG) in an email to The Phillipian.
“Lucas [Stowe ’20] is a rare four-year varsity player who started at second base as a ninth grader despite never having played the position, a lifelong outfielder at the time. I remember that entire season, Lucas learning from scratch how to field a ground ball, turn a double play, and cover second base on a steal. And last year, Lucas learned, from scratch, how to play first base, emerging as perhaps one of the best defenders we’ve had at that position. And make no mistake, all the while, Lucas excelled at his natural position (outfield), and no one’s played harder in Big Blue, embodying another of our programs many mantras—”SPRINT EVERYTHING OUT.” And so clutch—who will ever forget Lucas’s dramatic rally-igniting triple in the 2018 New England Championship game against Exeter?” wrote Graber.
When did you start playing baseball?
Peter Ling ’20: I have played baseball for as long as I can remember.
Lucas Stowe ’20: I’ve been playing baseball for as long as I can remember. In fact, one of my earliest memories was a Christmas one year when I was three or four years old. My dad got me my first baseball glove. It was a Velcro glove and ball that I would throw against my living room wall. I played little league in Sutton, Massachusetts, my hometown, and I played for the town all the way up to my freshman year at Sutton High School, where I was the center fielder for the varsity team.
What’s your favorite memory from Andover Baseball?
Ling: I have so many memories from Andover Baseball. The one that always pops in my mind is when we won the championship in 2018, but my favorite memories have occurred during our Florida trips. On these trips, I’ve always noticed our teams really come together. My freshman year, I went into that trip scared and shy, but came back friends with my teammates and eager to learn from the upperclassmen. My favorite memory from Florida was when I hit a walk-off single in one of our games my Lower year. As an underclassman, it was an amazing feeling to have contributed in that way.
Stowe: My favorite memory from Andover Baseball was from the 2018 championship season where I played right field next to Joe Simourian ’18 in center field. When we would take the field between every inning, Joe and I would play catch to warm up. One time half way through the season, we were running onto the field and he looked at me and said, “Luke, go long!” and he started acting like a football quarterback. So I ran a route, caught the ball, and Gronk-Spiked it at the end. He loved it, and we did it every single time we took the field for the rest of the year.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Ling: I do have several pre-game rituals. Right before the game starts, I tend to say a quick prayer down the left field foul line with a few teammates. This really helps me relax and get my mindset ready. We are always super loud during our pre-game infield/outfield warm up, and in my three years, a team never had more energy than us. KG calls this “winning the game before the game starts,” and we show any team that we aren’t here to lose. I also do the exact same routine when I step up to the plate. I first write some initials in the dirt with the knob of my bat, tap the outside of the plate, inside of the plate, and point my bat towards the pitcher. These rituals help me keep my routine, so that no matter the day, setting, or team we are playing, I know I can handle myself the same way.
Did you have any role models throughout your baseball career?
Ling: I have had so many role models throughout my time as a baseball player. At Andover, my biggest role model was Tristan Latham ’19, who I met early in my freshman year. Before I was even on the team, he showed me what it’s like to not only work hard but to be a good teammate. What he taught me the most was how impactful it can be to be a good teammate as such. I always made an effort to help the younger players on the team feel welcomed and driven because of what I learned from Tristan.
Stowe: During my time at Andover, my biggest role models were my captains and senior leaders from [Lower] year—particularly Joe Simourian ’18, Anthony Redfern ’18, and Travis Lane ’18. They were the best leaders I’ve ever met, and they created a team chemistry that was unmatched on any team I’ve ever been a part of. Every single one of us, from the Senior class to the freshman class, were best friends that year, and it really started with the leadership of those guys. I still am great friends with them, and I even called Joe a few times this fall and winter for captain advice.
How are you trying to connect with your team despite being off campus?
Ling: This has been the most difficult part of being off campus this spring for me. A big part of the baseball program is underclassmen watching the upperclassmen and learning from them the way that we do things at Andover. This includes things such as springing on and off the field in between innings, running hard on the bases at all times, “defensive rolls” on pitches that are accidentally thrown at a hitter… just all the little things that Coach [Graber] always emphasizes wins us games. Our team was young [this year], and I know that KG has expressed his disappointment that our incoming freshman class did not get the year of playing alongside us that we all expected them too. We have been doing as much as we can to connect with the entire team, including weekly Zoom calls to talk about things we can be doing together to continue building our team chemistry during this quarantine. One thing we have been doing is little compilation videos, or “Alone-together” videos. That has been a lot of fun, and KG always makes awesome edits.