Feb. 7, 2013
With Canisius' Jon Fitzsimmons
By Phil Stanton
Fitzsimmons (left) might be one of the best returning closers in
The junior right-hander from London, Ontario, set
program records a season ago with 25 appearances and 11 saves
for Canisius. Fitzsimmons topped the Metro Atlantic with those
11 saves and also owns the school’s career record with 12 saves.
He converted 11 of 13 save opportunities while going 3-2 with a
1.54 ERA. Fitzsimmons averaged 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings
and held opponents to a .182 batting average, including .086
with two outs. The Golden Griffins were 33-27 overall in 2012
and 16-8 in the MAAC.
This past summer, Fitzsimmons was 3-1 with one
save and a 5.84 ERA for the Front Royal Cards of the Valley
League. In 18 appearances out of the pen, he walked 10 and
struck out 46 in 24.2 innings for an impressive 16.8 strikeouts
per nine innings.
Fitzsimmons made 10 relief appearances as a
freshman, recording one save and averaging 10.97 punchouts per
1. What was the biggest factor in your
effectiveness as a closer this past season?
I think that it was taking each outing one pitch at a time and
not getting ahead of myself. I found I wasn't successful when I
started thinking about striking someone out when it was early in
the count or ending the game before I'd even thrown a pitch.
Also, realizing that the last inning is no different than any
other inning before it - the goal is to get three outs.
In what areas will you look to improve in 2013?
Consistency. Trying to have a consistent delivery as well as
three consistent pitches will help me worry about where I'm
throwing the ball, rather than how I'm throwing it. I also want
to continue to getting stronger on the mound, both physically
3. How was your experience in the Valley League this past
summer with the Front Royal Cards?
Now I see it as a learning experience. When something goes
wrong, like losing one of your pitches, you have to learn how to
manage the situation to the best of your ability. By the end of
the season I found out how to do that and I'm sure that will
help me in the future.
4. What was the biggest adjustment you had to make two years
ago, going from secondary school in Canada to college at
Like any high school league, there were hitters who couldn't
catch up to your fastball and others that would swing at bad
pitches. When I came to college I started facing more
disciplined hitters that had no problem hitting my fastball. I
had to learn how to mix in my off-speed pitches regularly and
how to locate my fastball a lot better.
5. What will be the keys for the Golden Griffins to have success
We have a great group of guys this year with a lot of talent. If
one guy isn't performing at his best we need to have another guy
ready to step in and pick him up until he gets back on track. If
we stay committed to each other I think we'll go a long way.
(photos courtesy of Canisius Media