Fearless freshman Pocol jumped right in

Leap from high school to Spartans a challenge pitcher welcomed

Pitcher Ashton Pocol throwing up a baseball.
Spartans pitcher, Ashton Pocol has learned how to handle the jump from high school to university. (Photo by: Kyle Ramnarine / Toronto Observer) 

TAMPA, Fla. – After making the jump from high school to university level baseball, freshman Ashton Pocol is impressing others while learning to handle the transition.

The 18-year-old pitcher for the University of Tampa has gained a lot more knowledge and Joe Urso, head coach of the Spartans, has started to take notice.  

“He has no fear, you know, to come into a program with this success and, you know, normally they’re very intimidated and Ashton is not,” Urso said. “Ashton has attacked the zone from day one here and he’s going to have a very bright future.

“Development is something that we’re very proud of here,” Urso added, “and we’re trying to take him slow to develop him, make sure we keep things in perspective as we’re developing him so he can be one of our top pitchers as a sophomore. 

“But he’s having an amazing freshman year and not many freshmen make an impact on a program this good.”

The right handed pitcher is ready to do whatever it takes to help the Spartans win. (Photo by Kyle Ramnarine / Toronto Observer)

The bench boss also has the utmost confidence that the seniors on the Spartans, with their experience, can help the younger players like Pocol.

“It’s the seniors’ consistency at the top,” Urso said. “That’s Sam (Militello, assistant head coach) and I. (We’ve) been here 23 years together, and then the seniors teaching all the new guys. ‘Hey, here’s the expectations of Joe and Sam.’ They’re going to have a lot of fun with you and have fun on the field if you come and do all the extras. You have the positive peer pressure to get here, get your work done, do the extra weightlifting.”

“But that’s something that the seniors take control of those of. The young guys normally will tell them, ‘You know, the first month here as a Spartan, you know, maybe, just zip it.’  It’s pretty impressive to watch when they start to follow the right guys.”

Pocol has learned that the competition has ramped up from high school, forcing him to re evaluate and evolve his game as a pitcher from previous years.

“You control the game, so it’s really all on you.” Pocol said. “Whatever you throw, if they hit it, it’s on you.  On these teams everybody can hit, so you have to take every single one of them seriously and you don’t have room to make mistakes out here.”  

The freshman has also learned that there is more to the game than just playing the sport.

“Aside from the baseball side of it, like the dieting, working out just off the field, tendencies getting better at that,” Pocol said. “We have a game, no fast food, none of that, no fried foods, nothing like that, just fruits and stuff. It’s been something I’ve taken upon myself.”  

The right hander has learned a lot more about the game than what he thought he once knew. He has some words for himself if he were able to go back before the season started.

“I guess not really get too, too shy,” Pocol said. “Any of that, like on the mound, not get scared at the moment because it’s really it’s just baseball. I’ve been playing it my whole life. Nothing’s changed.” 

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Posted: Mar 23 2023 7:43 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports