By ANTHONY SCOTT
Joseph DiTorrice II (Manhattan) first showed his dominance on the mound in an early season two strike out, four-out save against the Sherrill Silversmiths. His fastball was blazing by hitters that night, and he was able to cement his role as the closer for the Syracuse Junior Chiefs.
Later, the sophomore from Manhattan showed off his deadly curve in a six-out save in which he collected five strike outs to preserve a one run victory against the Cortland Crush.
For those outings and more the Junior Chiefs All-Star has been named the 2016 New York Collegiate Baseball League Reliever of the Year.
“I was pretty surprised by the award.” DiTorrice said, “I knew I had a good year, but I didn’t know how the other relievers compared with me.”
DiTorrice never looked back after his early season success he finished the year allowing only one earned run. That was good enough for a team leading 0.51 E.R.A. He began the season going his first 13.2 innings pitched without allowing a run.
“It has nothing to do with being fine, it has everything to do with getting the out,” his coach Joe Antonio said. “That’s what DiTorrice does he just is looking to get the guy out any way he can.”
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without my teammates,” the J.Chief closer said. “I tried not to think of the scoreless inning streak, because if I was thinking about it I would try to be too perfect on the mound.”
He was dominant in his six saves and was able to strike out 30 batters in only 17 innings pitched. He was almost untouchable at times. The All-Star flame thrower will return to Manhattan College in the fall and have to fight for his closing job.
“I told coach when I came in I like to close, and I earned it after a coupe weeks in,” The Belle Mead, New Jersey native said. “I hope to be the closer back at school, but I got to earn my way up the chain there.”
His coach and probably most of his teammates feel confident with their 6-foot-4 righty on the mound.
“Yeah I have the feeling that the game is locked down when he’s in,” Antonio said. “I can sit back in my chair and I know he’s going to be lights out.”
When he is on the mound DiTorrice’s determination is evident. He focuses on the batter and with a steady demeanor launches strike after strike. DiTorrice has been working with the same pitching coach since he was little back in New Jersey and is always working on his stuff.
“I’m just telling myself I’m better than this guy when I’m on the mound,” DiTorrice said. “I just attack the batter with whatever I got.”
The J-Chief closer thrives in tight games. He earned three wins in relief throughout the season all of which were decided by one run. If there was a close game with the Junior Chiefs involved one could expect to see Joe DiTorrice. He loves the close games.
“I like the close situations, it makes you really have to bear down,” DiTorrice said. “Close games are more exciting, but it’s just fun to be on the mound throwing the ball.”
He will take his prized Reliever of the Year award and move it to his dorm room at Manhattan. He will look to take his dominance from the NYCBL and continue his success at the Division One level as his Jaspers will compete for the MAAC championship next spring.
DiTorrice claimed 11 first-place votes while Genesee’s Breton LaRose (Sacred Heart) received three first-place nods. Cortland’s Matthew McCuen (Cortland/Niagara University) and Olean’s Kaden Darrow (Marymount) earned two top tallies. Matthew Colon (Syracuse Salt Cats/James Madison University), Eddie Demurias (Olean/University of Florida) and Nolan Hunt (Olean/Canisius College) grabbed one first-place vote apiece.
2016 NYCBL Reliever of the Year (first-place votes in parentheses)
Joseph DiTorrice II (11) 89
Breton LaRose (3) 51
Matthew McCuen (2) 44
Kaden Darrow (2) 41
Eddie Demurias (1) 31
Others receiving votes: Matthew Colon, Nolan Hunt, Jake Miller (Hornell/Lackawanna College), Mo DeVita (Rome/St. Thomas Aquinas College), Bill Laranga (Syracuse Salt Cats/Lourdes University), Cody Shelton (Cortland/Samford University), Matt Hunt (Wellsville/Manhattanville College) and Kevin Soriano (Syracuse Jr. Chiefs/St. Peter’s College).