Northampton Press

Saturday, May 30, 2020
Press photo by Mike Luberti Joe Wittreich is helping to lead the Kids on the mound. Press photo by Mike Luberti Joe Wittreich is helping to lead the Kids on the mound.

Wittreich paces Kids

Thursday, April 24, 2014 by JEFF MOELLER Special to the Press in Sports

Joe Wittreich is in the process of bringing his game full circle for the Konkrete Kids.

So far this season, the senior has been the workhorse of the Kids staff as he has accounted for five of their first six wins and led the staff with 35 strikeouts heading into this week's action.

Yet, Wittreich has taken his success in stride.

"We have been playing better and we're gaining confidence," said Wittreich, whose team recently evened its record at 6-6. "We started a little slowly, but we started putting everything together.

"We're not there yet, and we have to keep going."

This spring, Wittreich began the season with a two-seam fastball, circle change, curveball and cutter. The latter pitch was Wittreich's project in the offseason.

"In the offseason, I worked on developing my cutter," stated Wittreich. "I had a change-up and did some work with my circle-change, which seemed to get better. I knew I just had to keep working on all of them to get better this season.

"I felt like I found my rhythm there lately in games. I really feel great overall and feel like I had command of everything in recent weeks."

Head coach Mick Sugra certainly appreciates his pitcher's efforts.

"Joey (Wittreich) has done an excellent job for us," said Sugra. "We have been running him out there every fourth day. He's the guy we have relied upon to anchor the staff. We need to find a second guy to help take some pressure off him and help us down the stretch of the season."

Wittreich credits his success to his father, Joe, and Glen Benes, who worked with him during his days with the Northampton Connie Mack. Both men helped shape baseball to be a constant in his life. When he isn't concentrating his endeavors on baseball and his studies, Wittreich has been active in the school's Decca business club.

As a result, Wittreich plans to attend Kutztown University next fall and pursue a degree in business administration. Wittreich has indicated that he likely plans to be a walk-on for the college team next spring.

Until then, he believes his team can be a contender in the ever-competitive Lehigh valley Conference. Wittreich also thinks his team can shake the omens of the recent past that have plagued his team in the postseason. Last season, the Kids lost on a seventh-inning walk-off to Freedom.

"We have the talent on this team to make a deep run into districts," stated Wittreich. "Once we get there, we think things will go our way. We do face tough competition every night, but it has been a good test for us.

"We just all have to do our part."

Through the opening weeks of the season, Wittreich has surely done his job.