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Falcon to roost close to home

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Kasciem Graham needs a certain level of control. It’s one of the reasons the Bishop Ford senior loves being on the mound so much.

“I actually like pitching more because I am in control over everything on the mound,” said the Falcons right−hander, who started as a centerfielder as a freshman. “Nothing happens until I pitch.”

One of the factors that went into Graham recently signing a national letter of intent to play at Albany next year was the need to have a level of control in his life. He has lived with his grandmother, Sondra, for the last 10 years. She lives never Brooklyn College in Midwood, and is a half hour closer to Bishop Ford than Graham’s parents’ house in Brownsville.

“I’m a little bit of a grandma’s boy,” Graham said. “I’ll admit it.”

His grandmother has been sick recently, battling problems with her lungs, but is doing better. Her health is a concern for Graham and taking care of her, if need be, is a priority. One of his other main suitors, Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., was just too far.

“With Rolling in Florida, that was going to be far from my family and my grandmother is sick right now, so I chose to go to Albany,” Graham said. “I liked the campus when I went to visit. It was closer to my grandmother. I’m not far from her, but if anything was to happen I could rush down here and be here in a matter of two hours.”

Some of the other things that impressed him about Albany, which lost in this season’s America East championship, was that they have been recruiting him since last summer when they saw him pitch with the Brooklyn Bonnies in showcase tournaments. Graham, who will consistently throw in the high 80’s, was hitting in the low 90’s in the warm weather. He also developed a strong relationship with Great Danes pitching coach Drew Pierce.

“He knows his stuff,” Graham said. “We just connected over a lot of phone calls and e−mails we sent each other.”

Following a strong junior season, Graham, the team’s ace, broke out this year and began catching the eye of coaches around the CHSAA and city. Ford coach Mike Hanrahan said he became more of a pitcher than a thrower. He began to change speeds on his fastball and developed a changeup and slider.

“It’s a real success story,” Hanrahan said. “When he came in his freshman year it was my first year coaching as a JV coach. To see him move up through high school, to see him mature as a student−athlete and to move to the next level is very rewarding as a coach as a mentor.

Graham’s record is deceiving. He went 3−5 this season with minimal run support while pitching against the league’s best clubs. His earned run average was a sparking 2.10. His three wins were complete games, including one against defending CHSAA Class A intersectional champion Xaverian, and he also notched three saves for Ford, which went 10−8. It was a season filled with improvement for the Falcons.

“We put Bishop Ford on the map,” Graham said. “I feel like my senior class, we made this school more of a baseball program.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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