The fact that he’s an Indian-American has never entered Kumar Nambiar’s mind on the baseball field.
Developing himself into a legitimate college pitching prospect was his focus, not the way he looked or where his family came from.
“Growing up there weren’t any initial hurdles, except for the fact that I wasn’t good at pitching,” said the ace of Mamaroneck’s most recent state championship team. “Until high school, I was never close to the best, but as I improved other teams would sometimes be surprised by the way I threw.”
While Nambiar may never harped on the rarity of being an Indian-American baseball player, his rise as one of the top left-handers in New York State has not gone unnoticed by those with similar backgrounds.
Nambiar led Mamaroneck to a Class AA state title in June, going 10-0 with two saves and a 0.98 ERA. He struck out 97 batters in 80 innings as a senior, including a three-hitter in the state semifinals.
On Sunday, he’ll be honored by the Indian-American Cultural Association of Westchester at the annual Heritage of India Festival at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m.
“Kumar’s accomplishments on the baseball field are something that the Indian community does not see often,” said Himanshu Pandya, a former IACAW president and the emcee for Sunday’s event.
“Kumar’s pitching abilities and his dedication to the sport is something that we find admirable and noteworthy. As the first Indian-American student-athlete to be named the (Class AA) High School Baseball Player of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association, Kumar is a role model for all student-athletes, especially those in the Indian-American community.”
Despite his slight stature, Nambiar drew interest from Division I college coaches who raved about his ability to throw strikes with a variety of pitches. He eventually settled on Yale, proving that he takes his work in the classroom as seriously as he does his work on the baseball diamond.
Nambiar admits the recent attention has been flattering, but says that nothing can top the feeling of bringing a state championship back to Mamaroneck.
“The past few months have been fantastic,” he said. “After we won the state championship, the whole town really came together. Winning something like that is a once in a lifetime thing, so the guys that we had will always be connected, which is a really special thing. Not many people can say that. The awards are also great, but nothing beats that dog pile in Binghamton.”