It's a little early for Sammy Vincenzo to start dreaming about joining the Dodgers' rotation.
However, the former St. Clairsville southpaw ace is off to an impressive start at the JUCO level.
For openers, his decision to sign on at Potomac State Junior College in the eastern West Virginia panhandle was one Vincenzo carefully thought out.
"Oh yeah, I think coming (here) was definitely the right choice for me," he offered over the phone Monday night. This, on the heels of pitching a perfect game (albeit a five-inning one) Sunday afternoon on the homefront at Golden Park.
"This level is so much different from pitching in high school," Vincenzo continued. "Here, you have to fully concentrate on each hitter 1-through-9 in the lineup. There isn't much margin for error."
His Sunday gem was authored against Westmoreland County Community College as Vincenzo faced the minimum 15 batters, striking out seven. Sammy's record is now 3-1 following somewhat of a rough start.
"I had to deal with some mechanical issues (last fall) but I seem to be working them out," he noted. "One thing for sure, you can't get by with two pitches (in college). Right now, I'm able to throw four pitches for strikes."
Vincenzo credits Potomac State skipper Doug Little and a well-schooled diamond staff for aiding his improvement.
"Sam is a student of the game," reported Little via email. "(Sunday), he did a tremendous job throwing strikes and keeping their hitters off balance."
Also unlike his prep school days, Vincenzo stresses playing collegiately is a time-consuming endeavor. "It's pretty much like a full-time job," he laughed. "There's a specific routine to go through each day whether you're pitching or not. But that's why I'm here."
Virtually no big-time programs expressed a keen interest in Vincenzo despite the superlative numbers he fashioned for skipper Tom Sliva's Red Devils at St. Clairsville.
"Going Division I was always my goal but I understood the (recruiting process). I also realized I needed to put on some weight and refine just about every part of my game." he reasoned.
"Sam has a bright future because he works hard and wants to improve and get better. We're certainly happy to have him here,"Little disclosed.
Potomac State is 19-10 following Sunday's doubleheader sweep. The Catamounts are off until a Wednesday road twinbill at West Virginia Wesleyan.
VINCENZO made his home field debut last month in less than ideal conditions. "I think the temperature was 38 and the wind was blowing about 25 miles per hour," he recalled. "I only pitched two innings that day...."
The former Red Devil ace says working on mechanics is a never-ending process. "A lot of it has to do with hitting locations and doing so on a consistent basis," he described. "You make mistakes at this level, you usually pay for it..."
Vincenzo's next outing figures to come this weekend. Potomac State plays at Garrett Community College Friday before heading to nearby Hagerstown (Md.) for a key region test....
LOUISVILLE'S Cardinals successfully confronted and in the end, KO'd all opponents during three memorable weekends of March Madness. Rick Pitino's tenacious team seemed to have a knack for falling behind as they did against both Wichita State and Michigan in Atlanta before storming back to prevail.
Monday night's title tilt was brutally physical but also highlighted by a number of big-time shot making on both sides. Trailing by 12 relatively late in the first half, U of L made a stunning run to temporarily go ahead before leaving the floor at halftime down by only 38-37...
ONE week most certainly does not a major league baseball season make, though the Pirates' unfortunate 1-5 start prior to Monday night's win in Arizona, must have had more than a few cynics thinking as much.
Obviously, Clint Hurdle's ball club will have to prove it on the field this season. And the Bucs must do so knowing they no longer have the woeful Astros to kick around, save for an interleague series next month at PNC Park.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org