For McHenry hurler, move came in the Nick of time
The up-and-down movement of his young baseball career is not exactly the kind of pitching Nick Porretto had planned for.
But the right-handed McHenry County College (MCC) pitcher appears to have ridden out the worst of it and now hopes to settle in for a smooth ride.
“There's always going to be another day; there's always going to be a next pitch,” Porretto told the McHenry Times.
After struggling in his freshman season at another school, Porretto got it going after joining the McHenry squad.
Through May 10, Porretto had a 6-0 record in eight appearances, with his six wins ranking 53rd in Division II of the National Junior College Athletic Association. In his first 32 innings, he recorded 45 strikeouts — an average of 12.66 strikeouts per nine innings — to go with 19 hits and 13 walks allowed and a 1.41 earned-run average. His pitch repertoire includes a four-seam fastball that can hit 92 mph, he said, along with a slider and a changeup.
Porretto originally took his game to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for his freshman year. He made eight appearances, throwing six innings and notching eight strikeouts, but he also gave up nine runs — seven earned — as well as 10 hits and five walks.
Deciding that things were not working out for him there, Porretto initially planned to go to Elgin Community College, but that arrangement fell through.
Porretto got connected to MCC through Austin Butts, a player who this year is a student assistant coach because of injuries. Porretto said he called Butts on the day of the Scots' tryouts, a week before school started last fall, and Butts told MCC head coach Jared Wacker about him.
Porretto credited Wacker and the rest of the team with helping him improve as a pitcher.
“Before this year, I wouldn't have considered myself a good pitcher,” he said. “And then now going to a [NCAA Division I] school, it's kind of crazy to see how much I've improved.”
With his eligibility at MCC expiring at the end of this season, Porretto has his next destination set: Eastern Michigan.
Porretto said there were other schools interested in him, but one visit to the Eastern Michigan campus and visit with the program's coaches made the decision final for him.
“I thought it was somewhere that I would fit in really well,” Porretto said.
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