Most athletes start out at a young age and build their way up to success, which is very similar to the background story of Keene State College sophomore and pitcher Andrew Houde.

Photos Contributed by Alexis Thompson (Photos By Lex)

Photos Contributed by Alexis Thompson (Photos By Lex)

Houde is a sophomore baseball player who first got into the game of baseball at the age of five at his local little league.

He kept with the sport until he made varsity baseball at Newport High School, where he was the three-time most valuable player (MVP) of the game. Now a KSC player, Houde is going into his second year as an experienced player for both KSC baseball and the Keene SwampBats.

Last year, Houde made 17 appearances and five starts on the mound as a first-year, pitching 48 innings and striking out 42 batters.

He also pitched four hitless innings out of the pen with six strikeouts against Curry College. On top of that, Houde recorded a save, to which he tossed a perfect ninth with two strikeouts in a Little East Conference (LEC) tournament which KSC won against Southern Maine University.

The KSC pitcher broadened his experiences by playing for the Keene SwampBats last year and will continue to when he plays for them again this coming summer. Houde said that being able to play on other teams broadens the competition,gives him the ability compete more and allows him to see how he stacks up against opponents.

Houde said the most important lessons baseball taught him are how to work with other baseball players and how to communicate effectively. “Especially as a pitcher, you have to rely and trust others to help you win games,” Houde said. On top of being able to play with others, Houde said the coaching staff is key to personal success. “Coaching is always a critical part because they can see things you are doing that you can’t see. They help you become better with everything, it’s nice having more sets of eyes watching you trying to help you,” Houde said.

Along with the practices, games and coaches, Houde said being a part of baseball means a lot to him. “I love being a part of baseball. It’s like having a family away from your family. It’s a great way to make friends and I love the game.”

The pitcher added that baseball is fulfilling, both physically and mentally. “You have to be able to throw, catch and hit but you also have to think out situations you are in almost before you are in them. This is also the challenging part because there is always a lot going on even if it doesn’t seem like it,” Houde said.

President of the Keene SwampBats Kevin Watterson has been a part of the franchise for 21 years. The Swamp Bats are part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) and also one of the top collegiate wooden bat league franchises in the country.

Watterson said Houde is among the top baseball talents to play at KSC in the past 20 years and that, as a pitcher in particular, Houde possesses an exceptional gift. “His fastball, at 90-94 mph, is in the professional range. His size, at six feet four inches, is what pro teams look for in a pitcher. Additionally, Andrew has great command of the strike zone. Lastly, he is extremely athletic,”  Watterson added.

Houde went to the SwampBats near the end of last summer after concluding a very successful season in the Virginia League (a minor league baseball team).

The KSC  baseball Coaches Howe and Testo, felt strongly that Houde was capable of helping the SwampBats in its “push for a playoff spot,”  Watterson said. “He pitched very well for us, proving he belonged in the NECBL. We are excited to have Houde coming back this year. He will serve in multiple roles, including that of a starter,” Watterson said.

Watterson added that Houde has shown great resilience in the past two years. “He is serious about his craft. He was an extremely hard worker on the field, and playing with multiple teams over a 12-month period has exposed Houde to some of the great players across the U.S. – coming from Vanderbilt, University of Virginia, University of Georgia, to name a few,”  Watterson said.

The President of the SwampBats added that Houde’s challenge, at this point in his baseball life, is to continue to work at making himself a better player and to continue to represent KSC as a top student athlete. The SwampBats are proud to call Andrew Houde a member of its 2018 team, said Waterson.

The KSC Associate Head Baseball Coach/Pitching Coach, Marty Testo, said Houde came out of high school as a highly-recruited pitcher and possesses a lot of good qualities including a good arm and a competitive edge.

Testo added that Houde is a very good teammate and cares a lot. “He’s not very vocal but he shows up and does his work. He cares a lot and has a burning desire to compete,”  Testo said.

Last summer, Testo helped Houde get into the Virginia League, where he dominated stated Testo.

Houde started the All Star game at Virginia and played well, Testo said. After that, Testo got Houde a short contract with the Keene SwampBats. “I think the highest level of competition that Andrew has faced was in the SwampBats. It was just a small sample but he adjusted well,” Testo said.

Testo said the most important thing for Houde to do now is to mature and realize the importance of working on his craft every day.

“He was blessed with ability and just needs to work harder. As we say in baseball, he was given some tools and now just needs to keeping working.”

Caroline Perry can be contacted at

cperry@kscequinox.com