Last week, the Hopkins baseball team won an impressive four games over the course of just six days, winning two against the McDaniel College Green Terror and two more against the Muhlenberg College Mules.
Notably, senior pitchers Alex Ross, Nick Burns and Nick Bodner all had strong performances on the mound, as Ross pitched a career-high 15 strikes and Burns captured his 100th career strikeout.
This week, however, The News-Letter recognizes a fielder. For his outstanding batting performance, this week’s Athlete of the Week is junior outfielder Tim Kutcher.
Last season, Kutcher’s 11 hits over 27 games helped the team tremendously on their way to the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Kutcher’s contributions to this 2018 team, however, have already surpassed those of last year.
Last week, Kutcher batted 0.529 over the course of four games with nine hits, two RBIs and one stolen base. Most importantly, in the Jays’ first game against McDaniel, Kutcher hit his first career home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
As a cherry on top of his stellar week, Kutcher’s incredible catch against Catholic University this Monday made an appearance on ESPN Sports Center’s Top 10.
Unsurprisingly, for these contributions, Kutcher landed his first Centennial Player of the Week honor. Following this award-winning week, Kutcher sat down with The News-Letter to discuss what the honor meant to him and how it felt to hit his first home run while at Hopkins.
The News-Letter: After a tough Florida trip, the team is currently on a six-game winning streak. What type of adjustments has the team made to turn things around?
Tim Kutcher: In Florida, we had some tough losses and weren’t quite playing up to our potential. I think getting back here with a big lineup of home games and some familiar teams gave us a chance to start fresh and settle in and start playing some better baseball. It feels like our hitting and defense is starting to come around — as it always does.
We’ve been working on some new approaches offensively in practice, and I think it is starting to show with better at-bats by the team all around. There is definitely a renewed focus and energy, and we are excited to hopefully continue this win streak.
N-L: What was going through your head when you hit your first career home run?
TK: Home runs always feel great, but it was awesome to finally get one in a game that mattered and help contribute to a nice win with some extra insurance heading into the last few innings. It was also special to me that I hit it in a home game where both of my parents were there to see it.
N-L: How did it feel to be named Centennial Player of the Week?
TK: That’s obviously a great honor, and it was pretty cool to find out about it while I was with my teammates. It feels better to have come out of the week with four big wins, but it feels good to represent Hopkins and our team as we head in to a big part of our season.
N-L: How do you see the Conference shaking out? Who are the big teams you think can compete for the title?
TK: Our goal every season is to host the Conference Tournament and then win the Conference Tournament, and this year is no different. Haverford is always a top contender, so there are some big upcoming games that we will be focused on. Swarthmore also seems to have a stronger team this year, so we could likely see them in the Conference Tournament. We have to be at every game ready to compete.
N-L: Do you have any personal goals or team goals moving forward?
TK: We really just want to keep winning. Last season, we had a great run into the postseason, and there’s no reason we couldn’t do the same this year, so I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. I hope to keep hitting well and making some plays in the field to keep contributing to wins.
Catch Kutcher and the Jays back in action this Friday, April 13 at Babb Field when they take on the Gettysburg College Bullets under the newly installed lights at 6 p.m.