With the Rebels, Howe is often heard reciting the credo “Play every pitch.” It’s an abbreviation of his true message.
“It’s something I never told (my) guys,” he said of his minor league career. “You never know when it’s going to be your last pitch... I threw mine in an actual game on April 10, 2010. I had no idea it was going to be my last pitch. You never know if it’s going to be your last pitch, and that’s why every pitch is so important.
“You play every one as hard as you can. You’ll win enough of those pitches that you can win the ball game.”
Northeast has high goals, but the philosophy boils down to a next batter, next game approach. On Thursday, the Rebels host Marquette Catholic, a team that plans to contend in a competitive Big East in 2013. The Mohawks split with Calamus-Wheatland on Monday, another team aiming to fend for the title.
“Each game in conference, that’s the most important game,” Howe said. “For us, right now, it’s Thursday against Marquette. After that it might change, but in order for us to go where we want, each little thing along the way has got to be taken care of.”
But even the determined Rebels can admire what they’ve done. Henfrey said this season is unlike his other three.
“We’re off to a way better start than last year,” he said. “We’re getting our confidence up.”
Three week’s into the season, Howe’s captains appear to have the message droned into them; “Play hard every pitch,” Henfrey, Dickey and Hildebrandt kept reiterating.
“We want to go hard every day,” Dickey said. “Go out with a bang, the way all seniors do. Winning the Big East and hopefully going to state -- that’s the goal. We try every day to push (our teammates) harder just so we can accomplish our goals.”
Out of this game came bitter reality for Howe. In the blink of an eye, it transformed into a motto, a strategy and then a lesson that goes beyond the diamond.
True to life.