By Jeff Milby–
It’s an often said truism that baseball is a long season. That’s especially true for a catcher.
The grueling day in, day out work behind the plate – the constant crouching, cat-quick reactions to wild pitches and foul-tip ricochets to the face – can wear on a player. Louisville’s Colby Fitch, though, relishes his laborious role.
“It’s fun,” Fitch said, having played in 53 games this season, all but one of them starts. “Last year I could stay up a little bit later here or there and didn’t have to worry so much about it. Now, having to catch every day, it’s great.”
This season hasn’t been all fun for Fitch, though. A mid-season lull saw the junior’s batting average drop to .233 at one point, following a 2-for-36 stretch over the course of 10 games. Fitch never lost confidence though, finding solace in his faith.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time reading my Bible at night,” Fitch said. “I came to the conclusion that I just need to relax and have fun.”
Since that slump, Fitch’s change in mindset has paid off. On May 15, Fitch won the ACC Player of the Week Award, the first award of his career. In an undefeated week for the Cardinals, Fitch went 7-for-14 at the plate, with three home runs, five RBIs and five runs scored.
“I’m not playing for myself, I’m playing for the guys next to me,” Fitch said.
Before a 0-for-4 performance against Indiana, Fitch went 12-for-22 in total during a six-game hitting streak.
Having won the ACC Atlantic Division title, Louisville is setting its sights on the postseason. With the ACC Tournament at Louisville Slugger Field nearing, the pressure of hosting will be squarely on the shoulders of the Cardinals. Needless to say, Louisville is glad to have Fitch swinging the bat, and he is happy to help.
“To come out and start feeling good at the plate – to regain the confidence and everything, it feels really good, especially heading into the postseason,” Fitch said.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal