Ryan Grube, Contributing Writer
Having a leader who is a team player is a dream scenario for head coaches in any sport. Having one that also exhibits sky-high confidence is nothing short of ideal. For Baseball, junior infielder Paul Witt exemplifies that ideal scenario.
Since arriving at VCU in 2016, Witt has become one of the more consistent players, both at the plate and in the field.
The 2016 West Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year is currently top three on the team in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hits and RBI.
While an impressive individual feat, Witt credits his teammates for his hot start to the season.
“I think my success comes from all my teammates around me,” Witt said. “Going from always being there at practice and keeping me accountable, to them being productive themselves. They’re allowing me to get up and score them in to help the team out.”
Witt has been on a tear, through the team’s first 28 games batting .348 with 39 hits, two home runs and 24 RBI. But his imposing stat line in 2019 comes a year after Witt endured a slight slump during his sophomore campaign.
Following his freshman season when he batted .361 with a .429 on-base percentage, Witt saw those numbers dip to .277 and .348, respectively, his sophomore year.
“It’s always something in my mind — something I don’t necessarily want to happen again,” Witt said. “But it also keeps you in mind that no matter how good you think you are or how good you could be, baseball is a funny game where anything can happen and you can go in slumps here and there.”
Witt has used last year’s slump as motivation for this season. The junior’s refined mental approach improved his play in 2019.
“It makes me a stronger person to be able to see what happens and move on, and basically learn from last year,” Witt said. “Just become more experienced and try to not let that happen again.”
Witt’s experience has led the Rams to a 21-7 record (5-1 Atlantic 10), including seven wins in their last eight games. Witt said the stretch of wins has generated confidence and trust among his teammates.
“Obviously, winning makes everything go smoother, and I think we’re all having confidence in each other,” Witt said. “We’re just enjoying it and bonding together, and I think that’s what makes everything click.”
As VCU approaches the season’s midway point, Witt is striving to fulfill a large goal for his team.
“Our goals for the team this year is definitely to go win an A-10 Championship and make it to Regionals and Super Regionals,” Witt said. “I think we can play with the best of the best. If we just go out there and play, we should be able to do incredible things.”