From the moment he stepped on the diamond as a freshman, Tyler Easterday made an impact on the Haddon Township High School baseball team. Easterday earned a starting spot on the varsity team and has held that position ever since.
Things didn’t always come as smooth for him on the hardwood, though. Easterday had game, but so did a handful of players in front of him that weren’t willing to give up their starting positions. So, he accepted a limited role the past few years and continued to work on his game in hopes that he would be afforded an opportunity, and then make the most of it.
Easterday scored a team-high 13 points to lead the Hawks to a 48-43 win over Collingswood Tuesday in Colonial Conference action. The win was Haddon Township’s second in a row and improved the team to 9-4.
For Easterday, the patience has paid off.
“My sophomore year, I started playing varsity as a sixth or seventh man, but I got bumped down after a transfer came in,” Easterday said. “My junior year, I was the sixth man, but we really only played five. This year, I got my chance. I was kind of like the fifth guy at the start, but I shot well
against Paulsboro and went for 28 and now I have been the second scorer ever since.”
In many cases he has been the first. Easterday has averaged 19 points a game in the Hawks’ last seven contests. He credits a renewed confidence and an improved jump shot as the biggest reason for his success. Easterday has been lighting it up from beyond the arc the last few weeks, with a quick release and a high-arching shot that leaves defenders in awe.
“Kids are getting in my face now so it is forcing me to shoot upwards,” Easterday said. “My arc is a little better and it is going in. Before, I was getting open shots, but I was pushing out a little bit and they were going off the back of the rim and out. Now that (defenders) are in my face, my shot is getting a lot smoother.”
Easterday started a bit slow on Tuesday, but got hot in the second half, scoring eight points in the third quarter, including a pair of threes.
“The past couple of games I have been on fire shooting-wise to start games and that kind of got to my head a little bit,” Easterday said of his cold start. “I was trying to push out instead of playing defense, and we got that fixed real quick at halftime in the locker room. I got a mouthful there.”
The more success Easterday has the more attention he will receive from opposing defenses. He says he is just fine with that. After waiting several years to get his chance to shine on the court, Easterday isn’t about to back down from a little competition.
“I love it,” he said. “Baseball-wise I have been a starter ever since my freshman year so I have always liked that pressure. I have always wanted to be in the games the past two years, but it just didn’t fall my way. I was a little small, but I grew a little bit and I love that the ball is going to me, because it just improves my confidence even more.”