Whitecavage’s hitting is as hot as the weather
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Daniel Whitecavage is comfortable in the batter’s box, no matter the situation. Or league. Or whatever he’s holding.
Statistics – baseball’s lifeblood – spell that out.
College ball, the past two springs at Surry Community College. Whitecavage batted .352 most recently as a sophomore, and .397 as a freshman. He used a metal bat.
Summer league, currently with the Lake Norman Copperheads in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League. Rules require wood bats. No worries. Whitecavage has a .400 batting average (26-for-65), which ranks second in the league, through 20 games.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Whitecavage, who plays catcher and designated hitter, said. “After leaving (Surry), I just wasn’t very comfortable. But since then, I’ve been working with coaches and I’ve widened my stance and lowered my hands. It’s working.”
Whitecavage plays Copperheads home games at a familiar place – Hopewell High, where he graduated in 2010. His season has been a model of consistency and effectiveness.
Whitecavage’s 10 doubles leads the league. In 76 plate appearances, he’s struck out only three times. He’s had a nine-game hitting streak, has eight multiple-hit games and has a hit in 16 of 20 games. His 14 RBIs are tied with Ryan Hodge for the team lead.
“He’s one of the best hitters in our league,” Copperheads coach Derek Shoe said. “At Surry, he was among the top 10 nationally in doubles. He hits the ball from gap to gap. Daniel is a legitimate hitter with power. He hits what (pitchers) give him, and that’s a lot easier said then done. It takes a special hitter to get an 89-mph fastball on the outer half of the plate and go the other way with it.”
Whitecavage parlayed his two seasons at Surry into a scholarship at St. Andrews University in Laurinburg. He signed two weeks ago after visiting and “liking everything up there. It fit what I was looking for.”
Now Whitecavage can concentrate on honing his skills in the summer league, which is comprised of college sophomores and freshmen. Most of the players are from the Southeast, and live with host families during their stay. Whitecavage, the hometown guy, bunks at his parents’ home in Huntersville.
“My goal is to get better,” he said. “I like playing in this league because you get to know other people from different places. They’re all bringing stuff they do at their schools, so I can learn things.”
Whitecavage said it hasn’t been a major adjustment switching to a wooden bat. It’s different in weight distribution from a metal bat, but the goal remains the same.
Said Shoe: “Put the barrel of the bat on the ball. Looks easy, but it’s not.”
Unless you’re on a hot streak like Whitecavage.
Lake Norman (10-12) began Monday’s home game against the Statesville Owls hoping to break a nine-game losing streak. The Copperheads lead the league with a .318 team batting average. But, their team earned run average (6.36) is the worst in the SCBL.
“I just try to go with the pitch,” Whitecavage said. “If I start thinking about trying to hit it to a certain place, that won’t work. So I don’t think about anything.”