Feb. 14, 2013
With Bryant's Pete Kelich
By Sean Ryan
the first three years of his college career, Pete Kelich (left)
and his Bryant teammates were ineligible to play for a Northeast
Conference title as the school completed its transition to
Division I. That all changes in 2013.
Kelich and the Bulldogs,
who captured the regular-season conference title in 2012 with a
24-8 league mark (three games ahead of Monmouth) and 33-21
overall record, are eligible to play in the NEC tourney and have
sights on an NCAA bid.
It starts with Kelich, a
CollegeBaseballInsider.com honorable mention All-American last
year. The senior right-hander from Jackson, N.J., who started
his Bryant career as a shortstop, went 8-3 with a 1.81 ERA a
year ago and was named the NEC pitcher of the year. Against
conference foes, he was 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA, and in three
seasons as a starter has gone 23-7.
1. You wear the No. 1, which is a little odd
for a pitcher. What's the story behind that?
Well I got recruited to Bryant as a shortstop and
numbers were distributed in the fall while I was still a
positional guy so I took No. 1. I was always No. 1 in high
school and for my showcase teams so I figured I would keep it. I
was honestly considering changing it after my sophomore year to
No. 11 but never went through with it.
How important was it to earn a weekend starter spot as a
I am very grateful for the opportunity that my
coach gave me at that time. In the fall of my freshman, year I
was a shortstop as I said earlier and didn’t hit very well so
there was a good chance that I wasn’t going to make the travel
roster for the first series. After one practice in the winter
about two weeks before the season, my coach pulled me aside and
asked if I wanted to throw a side. He knew I had pitched in high
school so he gave me the opportunity to throw a couple bullpens
and get on the travel roster. After a couple good relief
appearances he gave me a start at Virginia Tech, and I was
fortunate enough to start every Sunday game after that. I
honestly didn’t care what I was doing as long as I was playing
and helping my team win ball games.
3. What were some of the keys in shaving more
than two runs off your ERA last season?
Before my first start last year, I began saying
to myself “If you keep the ball down in the zone you can’t be
hit hard.” Basically I just really began to understand that I
wasn’t always going to have my best stuff and wasn’t always
going to be able to locate it perfectly, I just really focused
on keeping it at the knees even if it was middle. I also
developed a cut fastball, which allows me to work ahead of
batters easier and be more efficient on the mound in terms of
pitch counts for individual at bats.
How difficult has the wait been to become eligible to play for
an NEC tourney title and NCAA bid, and now that the day has
come, how excited are you guys?
It was definitely one of those things that you
tried not to think about as much as possible. We would just set
our goal of winning the conference before each season knowing
that we couldn’t make the postseason. From Day 1 of this year,
it has been a different feeling. Everyone has a little more
bounce in their step and is excited to get going. With that
being said, we are staying focused and just taking it day by
day. Our primary goal is to get better each day.
5. Who are some of your favorite pitchers to
emulate or simply watch?
I always try to be like Roy Halladay on the
mound. He is a very calm and composed pitcher that relies on the
location and movement of his pitches rather than pure velo. When
he is throwing well it is an art. Recently, I have been watching
Jeremy Hellickson a good amount. He is a guy that doesn’t have
over powering stuff, but his simple and fluid mechanics allow
him to repeat his delivery and locate extremely well.
(photos courtesy of Bryant Media