Finlay Ready To Take Strong Defense To Albany


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Finlay Ready To Take Strong Defense To Albany

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Derek Finlay

Class of 2023 / SS

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2023
  • Primary Position: SS
    Secondary Position: 2B
  • High School: Nashua North
    State: NH
  • Summer Team: Nashua Defenders
  • Height: 6-0
    Weight: 178lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

Statistics

Pitching
67
Max FB
(07/15/21)
65 - 67
FB
(07/15/21)

Finlay Ready To Take Strong Defense To Albany

NASHUA, N.H. - According to Derek Finlay, the University of Albany baseball program is notorious for defense.

That is the part of the game the Nashua North High School senior excels at, making it a perfect fit for the next four years after a connection between Finlay and Albany ended in a college commitment.

“I was at a tournament with NEB in Pennsylvania and their coach was there to watch the shortstop on the other team,” Finlay reflected about how a relationship with Albany began. “They had a D-I left-handed commit that I had an 11-pitch at-bat against. I got a hit and made a couple plays in the field and afterward the coach said I played great and asked if I had any interest in Albany.”

The answer to that is a resounding yes.

“I looked up some things about the school and I went on a visit,” Finlay explained. “It was beautiful. It’s a big campus which is what I wanted, a lot of people. The sports programs are nice and the food there is fantastic.”

It also had a Division I baseball program which was attractive to Finlay.

“Up until then I had a couple D-II and D-III schools interested in me, but not too many,” Finlay pointed out. “It was big to get a D-I coach talking to me.”

Finlay liked what he heard.

“He said they needed a shortstop who can make plays, with no errors,” Finlay related. “He ended up going to a couple more of my games and I had no errors. He is big about defense.”

Also a participant in football and basketball at Nashua North, Finlay began thinking about baseball at the next level his sophomore year of high school.

“I thought what would be the best step for me to take to play sports in college,” Finlay said. “I decided on baseball and this whole last summer I traveled with NEB getting looks. Before that I had played legion ball.”

There was more assistance in his recruiting process.

“I went to a PBR tournament and hit two home runs,’ Finlay noted. “They put that out there and it got coaches to respond. It was nice to go through them.”

While the long ball got attention, it is defense where Finlay believes he can best help Albany, at least right now.

“I’m going to bring them good defense along with a good mindset with how I work in practice,” explained Finlay. “I want to make as few errors as possible.”

Ironically, playing a solid shortstop with strong defense was not a trait Finlay used to display.

“A couple of years ago my defense was not that great,” Finlay admitted. “I was an outfielder growing up. When I moved to shortstop my freshman year I wasn’t that great. But the NEB coaches taught me a lot. Defense is definitely what got me to the next level. Now I need a good offensive coach to help me.”

So why the move to shortstop in the first place?

“In high school the most athletic kids play shortstop or center field so coach put me at short and it took off from there,” Finlay said. “I love it there. With all the action, you have to be ready, you have to be engaged, no matter what. It’s obviously one of the most important positions on the field.”

Finlay credited a number of coaches with helping the cause in becoming a college commit.

“Zach Harris, my high school coach, has been awesome,” Finlay noted. “He’s helped me since I was nine and Dana Goulet and David Sullivan both helped me when I was younger. Coach Scott Patterson and coach Matt Kruger with NEB have also been a big part of this.”

Business is the planned major for the 17-year-old, a 3.2 student relieved to know where he will be going to college next year.

“All summer I stressed out about playing in college,” Finlay explained. “I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I was good enough to go D-I, but once I said yes and I was done with it, it felt great. My mom, my dad and all of my coaches were super supportive. I’m proud to be going D-I which is a big deal to me.”

Finlay pointed to one thing he is looking forward to when it comes to college baseball at the American East Conference university, which finished first in Division A of the AEC during the 2021 regular season.

“Winning,” Finlay said. “They’ve been good the past couple of years, and I hate losing. I’m going there and we’re going to win. That will be great.”



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