Class of 1983
Eric Muttilainen, Class of 1983, was a two-sport athlete who etched one of Green Wave baseball’s all-time best pitching careers.
Eric is well remembered for his pitching exploits, but he also played a leadership role as a junior and senior with a corps of talented underclassmen who developed into one of NMHS’ memorable basketball quintets.
He contributed tough defense and strong rebounding to the cause to help a young corps of ambitious teammates including AHOF inductees Louis Heaton and John Ndwuku make waves in the WCC. Louis, John, Eric and Co. fashioned an 18-6 record in his senior year.
On the baseball diamond, following two springs as a dominant junior varsity hurler, Eric was the mainstay of a talented varsity mound staff for two seasons.
As a junior, Eric rapidly became coach John Wrenn’s indispensable pitcher. The Green Wave posted a 12-8 regular season, with Eric being accountable for 10 of the Ws compared with a single loss. Along the way, he registered a 1.64 earned run average and struck out 67 batters while walking just 11 in 55 innings on the hill.
That success served as a prelude to one of Green Wave sports’ most memorable individual performances. Eric drew the starting assignment on the mound for the state tournament opener vs. Bullard-Haven and proceeded to pitch 17 innings, all 230 pitches worth. That epic effort resulted in a 4-4 deadlock and a suspended game. The Green Wave was to bow out of the tournament the next day, but Eric’s marathon pitching understandably became the stuff of legend.
When Eric’s senior baseball campaign rolled around, he extended a personal two-season win streak to 13 games.
The Green Wave meanwhile established itself as the team to beat in the WCC. Eric contributed mightily at the plate, too, swatting what coach Wrenn termed a “mammoth” home run as he hit .361, drove in 21 runs and stole 13 bases. By the close of the regular season, Eric, his tandem mound ace, Rob Piscetta, and Co. had carved out a 15-3 record.
Come WCC playoff time, Eric shut down semifinal rival Joel Barlow, 1-0, on two hits, striking out 14 Falcons in the process. When Piscetta beat New Fairfield in the title game, Eric and his teammates had earned the NMHS baseball program’s first league title in 21 years.
For the season, Eric was 8-1 with 84 Ks in 61 innings and a 1.04 ERA.
By the time he hung up his NMHS diamond cleats, Eric had built an 18-3 career record, with 151 strikeouts in 116 innings and a 1.32 earned run average, ascending to the realm of such earlier outstanding Green Wave pitchers as fellow AHOF inductee Fred Collins, Class of 1933, and Rutledge Curtiss ‘46.