Bringin’ The Heat: Wreckers See Success With Five Great Arms
Alexandra O’Kane, Social Media Specialist
May 25, 2012 • 29 views
Filed under Sports
After eight starters on last year’s baseball team graduated, the team wasn’t sure what to expect for this year. They soon realized, though, that their uncertainty was unnecessary.
“This year’s team is quite a surprise; they are quite talented,” said pitching coach P.J. Washenko. The team is off to a strong start with a record of 14-6 at the end of the regular season, and much of this success is a result of the very strong pitching staff.
The pitching staff has an overall earned run average (ERA) of 1.74. ERA is the average number of runs that a pitcher gives up in a game; therefore, the lower the average, the better.
The pitchers are so important to the team because they “set the tempo for a game. They keep the team in the game by keeping the score low,” Washenko said. While the batters get hits and score runs, it is the pitchers who help keep the other team from doing the same.
According to pitcher and captain Jimmy Kopack ’12, the pitchers “keep their team in the game” by keeping the score low. Then, “we have the offense win it,” he said.
The pitchers are different from the rest of the team, according to Greg Salamone ’13, a relief pitcher. “Pitchers are unique players,” he said. “They tend to carry a different sense of humor and a different level of maturity.”
Late in the game, pitchers become even more important. The pace of each pitcher is different, and when the pitchers change in the middle of a game, “it keeps the other team’s players on their toes,” Washenko said.
To develop their unique skills, the pitchers practice on their own as well as with the rest of the team. When they practice on their own, the pitchers throw in the bullpen, run, and stretch their arms.
“We have to do special arm workouts to keep them in good condition,” Salamone said. The pitchers also practice with the rest of the team, taking their place on the mound to have real game simulations.
Kopack described the benefits of the bullpen. “We pitch off the mound full strength for about 20 to 30 pitches, either throwing to batters or just a catcher. This helps us pitchers keep our mechanics in tune, so when game time comes, we can be as effective as possible.”
According to Salamone, all of the preparation that is done in practice is vitally important when it comes time for a game. “Pitching is all about preparing,” he said. “Every practice, I am doing my necessary throwing routines, stretching exercises, and even mental preparations to get ready for the next game.”
When it comes time for the whole team to come together, they all get along and support one another, Washenko said. “During games, pitchers are always trying to help with the team with the mental aspect of the game. We have perfected the art of pumping players up to help excel offensively or cooling players down if they are dealing with their mistakes,” Salamone said.
“In games there really isn’t a difference between our pitchers and the rest of the players. We’re all just supporting each other during the games,” Kopack said. When the team gets along so well, it becomes easy to do well; there is friendly competition during practice, and everyone pushes the others to do their best. “The team always has talent. It is the chemistry of this team that brings their success to a whole new level,” Washenko said.
The respect that exists between all of the players also carries through to the coaches and their advice. Washenko said that the players are very receptive and try to do exactly what the coaches tell them.
In turn, the coaches give the players a lot of freedom and respect. “The coaches understand that we want the best for ourselves and will do what we need to be ready for ‘the nod’ or the ‘call to the pen,’” Salamone said.