Sophomore pitcher Arshwin Asjes has been a man on the move over the past few years. A native of the Caribbean island Curacao, Asjes has found a home at Temple. The staff ace has won three straight starts and is living up to the expectations of the Cleveland Indians, who drafted him last summer.
Asjes’ journey from Curacao to Temple’s baseball team actually began a few years ago.
In 2002 he represented Latin America in the Senior League World Series in Maine. Asjes’ team took first place in the tournament and doors have been opening for him ever since.
A few months after the World Series – at the age of 16 – he boarded a plane leaving his native country for a Maine prepatory school.
When it came time to leave his family and native Curacao behind for America, Asjes had one option.
“It was tough but, you know, at some time in your life, you have to grow up and move on,” Asjes said. “[My family is] obviously always going to be there for me, but at some point you just have to be a man and move on in life.”
Asjes has proven to be a man on a mission for the Owls in his first season at Temple.
The mid-year transfer is riding a 26-inning scoreless streak, which dates back to the third inning of a Feb. 26 game against then-No. 15 Louisiana State.
In his most recent outing against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday, he threw a nine-inning shutout, striking out four while allowing just six hits. He needed only 125 pitches and allowed one runner past second base in the entire game.
In the process, Asjes upped his record to 3-1 on Saturday and lowered his earned run average to a miniscule 0.93.
Asjes has four pitches in his arsenal, keeping opposing hitters on their heels at all times. His fastball usually reaches the plate in the low-90 mile-per-hour range. He mixes in a nasty slider as his out-pitch. Finally, to keep hitters guessing, he has a change-up and a split-finger fastball.
After graduation from high school, Asjes ended up at Gloucester County (N.J.) College, where Temple’s first-year coach Rob Valli was calling the shots. Asjes’ numbers last season were impressive enough that the Indians drafted him in the 34th round of last year’s amateur draft.
Asjes passed on a chance to go pro.
“It was an academic decision for him,” Valli said. “The reason why he got on a plane and came to America was for academic reasons. He is going to be in an arm wrestling match with his dad next season when the draft comes up again.”
Asjes said he was honored to have been drafted, but wasn’t ready to make the jump to the big leagues.
“It was cool being drafted, [but] I think I am going to wait a couple more years though,” Asjes said. “My parents didn’t want me to leave [college], education-wise, but it was cool being drafted.”
One thing that is certain is that his teammates will not have to guess about Asjes’ future. Now that he is at a four-year university, NCAA rules will keep him ineligible for the MLB Draft until the conclusion of his junior season, in 2007.
SAINT JOSEPH’S 8, TEMPLE 5
The Hawks sent nine runners to the plate in the ninth inning, and scored five runs in the process to take the three-game weekend series held at Ambler Sports Complex.
Owls sophomore outfielder Frank Nunan doubled home sophomore outfielder Devon Swope in the bottom of the first, giving Temple (6-14, 1-2 Atlantic Ten Conference) an early one-run lead. Junior third baseman Dan Brady followed Nunan’s double with a sacrifice fly that knocked in freshman outfielder Jamie Abercrombie to give the Owls a 2-0 lead.
After Temple first baseman Lucio Rainelli singled to start the bottom of the second inning, freshman second baseman Mike Sweet put down a bunt for an infield single. With runners on first and second, freshman catcher Steve Mury advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt.
Swope’s second hit of the day – an RBI single – put the Owls ahead of St. Joe’s (9-17, 2-1) through two innings.
The Owls manufactured two runs in the bottom of the third, but put up all five of their runs in the first three innings. They were unable to do much more offensively, after Hawks coach Shawn Pender inserted relief pitcher Jeff Williams.
“I don’t think it was anything with [their] pitchers. It was just with us,” Swope said after the game. “We get too complacent with a few runs, then we just relax thinking it’s enough. … It wasn’t.”
Sophomore starter Tom Dolan threw six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs in a no decision. Dolan exited the game with a lead. Reliever Rob Licata took the loss, allowing three of the Hawks’ five ninth-inning runs. Licata’s record stands at 1-2 on the year.
Kevin Maloney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.