"Sometimes I'd look over," Nate said, "and my dad would be sleeping."
You see the name Vahedi (pronounced vuh-hay-dee) and the tendency is to think that's maybe it's Italian. Nope. It's Iranian.
No wonder Dad was a snoozer.
"He didn't know anything about baseball," said the 6-1, 170-pound Nate, a righthanded pitcher who also plays outfield. "It was tough for him to pay attention. His sport is soccer. He always wanted me to play that and I did until age 14. But I was better in baseball, and that's where I put my concentration."
Wednesday at Richie Ashburn Field, in South Philly, 5 hours after the start of commencement ceremonies at Masterman, Vahedi started for the Public League in the first round of the 27th annual Carpenter Cup Classic.
Did great, too!
True, the Pub wound up falling to Delaware County, 9-3, thus lowering its all-time record to 1-27 (only win in 1990), but Vahedi hurled three hitless shutout innings. He allowed one walk, on a full count with two away in the third, and struck out three and, technically, he recorded 10 outs because one of the whiff victims reached on a passed ball.
Three dominant innings. Made for a great video.
"Um, I'm not sure my parents saw me. Maybe toward the end?" Nate said. "There was a lunch thing after the graduation and they went there while I came here."
It's not unusual for seniors to nix CCC participation. Take Central, for instance, which boasts one of the Pub's premier programs. Coach Rich Weiss said he invited seven of his players to try out. Every last one declined, and none of the reasons pleased Weiss even a little.
"I was a little skeptical about playing this time because we lost really badly last year," Vahedi said. "But I see it as a rite of passage. It's an honor to pitch for the Pub. I know we haven't put a win together in a long time, but it's fun to be here. I like this mound, too."
Vahedi received a first inning boost when second baseman Pete Piccoli (Prep Charter) made a sprawling play on a grounder to his left. In the second, Vahedi picked a runner off first.
Of his pitching repertoire, Vahedi said, "I've got the fastball to both sides of the plate down pretty well. And my slider's my out pitch. Today I really worked on my changeups and two strikeouts came on that, which was good.
“The changeup is probably the most important pitch in baseball. I'm really going to put time into that."
After Vahedi completed his stint, he could be spotted beyond the outfield fence, running back and forth from foul line to foul line. Also, he flopped down onto his back and made bicycle-riding gyrations.
He learned that routine while playing for the Philly Angels, a local club program. Activity with another club outfit, one based in New Jersey, helped him earn the scholarship from Seton Hall.
"It was fall ball," he said. "They came to see another pitcher, but liked me and called the next day to make the offer. I'd been to a camp at UCF [University of Central Florida] and they liked me, but they couldn't offer a scholarship. Seton Hall did and it worked out great for me and my family."
Derek Gregg (Bok, single), Jake Wright (Washington, double) and Shakore Taylor (Engineering and Science, groundout) posted RBI for the Pub, Aderly Perez (Esperanza) smacked two hits and the score after seven innings was 3-3. Lefty Dylan Burke (Lincoln, two perfect frames) and Jake Kurtz (GAMP, one hit in two) also joined Vahedi in pitching well.
In the eighth, however, a throwing error on a groundball enabled Delco to tally an unearned run against Kurtz and the ninth brought a five-run explosion against the almost always reliable Rafael "Omar" Cruz, who'd rushed to the scene (with four teammates) from Frankford's 1 o'clock graduation.
Jake Burrell (Sun Valley) led Delco with two RBI (double in the eighth, sac fly in the ninth). The Pub's 27 losses have been suffered by (ouch) an average of 6.8 runs.
Vahedi, of Mt. Airy Avenue near Germantown Avenue, plans to major in business at Seton Hall while mixing in a sports management minor. Dad will be there as often as possible, capturing the action.
"Travel ball can be very expensive," Nate said. "Over time my dad really came to embrace my baseball career. He put out a lot of money and I thank him for that. I'd say it paid off because I got a scholarship."