Photo by Katie Weeks ‘16
Connor Ortolf ‘14 was recently named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week for his eight-shutout inning performance against Farleigh Dickinson in an 8-0 victory on Saturday in Teaneck, N.J.
The Ocean City, N.J. native carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and improved to 1-1 this season. His performance has earned him Timeout With… honors this week in The Lafayette.
How old were you when you first began playing baseball?
I was probably six or seven years old. I started playing at a really young age.
Was last weekend your most successful outing to date at the Division I level?
It definitely has to be up there. My sophomore year, I threw a complete game against Lehigh and beat them my freshmen year as well in my first conference start. Those would definitely be my top three.
Any postgraduate plans in regards to baseball?
No, not right now. I actually have a job at Vanguard. I worked hard on the academic side as well as the athletic side. I had to be prepared to realize that baseball was going to end at some point.
How much of pitching would you say is mental compared to physical?
It’s probably 60-40, 40 being the mental and 60 the physical. You can’t let the emotional side get to you. There are ebbs and flows to the game but if you stay even keel it usually works out. You learn that over four years, freshmen year you might let the emotions get the best of you, but as you grow you realize what you need to do.
Who has influenced your baseball career the most?
My dad and one of my coaches when I was younger, Coach Hayes. My dad has taught me baseball my whole life; he would be my number one. He still comes to see all my games today. And my coach from when I was 12 or 13… he took us to Cooperstown where I got to play with Mike Trout. He’s from my hometown, when he was that young I didn’t know he would be that good. He was in my conference in high school so when I saw all the Pro Scouts at our game I knew he was a big deal. I never got the opportunity to pitch against him though.
What is your coolest or most favorite memory of your baseball career?
My senior year of high school we went 21-4 and were the first public school from South Jersey to go to the state title. It was definitely a crazy ride. As a senior in high school there isn’t really much to worry about so it was a lot of fun.
Have you met any professional pitchers? What is some of the advice they give you?
We went down to the Tampa Bay Rays spring training to meet Joe Maddon my sophomore year. Their pitching coach gave me the advice to just work my changeup, it’s the best pitch in the Major Leagues and he tries to get all his pitchers to throw it. That was the advice that stuck with me the most.
Describe the difference between the high school level and college level. What did you struggle with early in your Lafayette career that you are now feeling much better about?
In high school, you can expect to dominate every time out. Not every hitter one through nine will be a good hitter. In college, that changes. Each player was the best on their high school team which is why they’re in college. Also the speed of the game…you can’t slow it down as much in college.
What are your views in regards to steroid use in the MLB? Do you think the league is taking the right steps to stop this problem?
I think they are taking the right steps but the NFL uses it all the way. You need to go one way or another on the issue. To get it completely out would be great for baseball. The Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire era was ridiculous hitting wise. People are starting to take accountability. Also, you see it in the Minors as well, it just isn’t talked about as much. People will cheat, it just matters how they go about doing it.
Favorite Food: Chicken
Favorite Movie: Gladiator
Favorite Pitcher: Cliff Lee