Interview: Cole White

Just like he used to do at West Point's Doubleday Field, Cole White is spraying the ball around New York-Penn League ballparks. In a new role, the leadoff hitter, White, who graduated from the Academy in May, is batting .370 for the State College (Pa.) Spikes. The Spikes are a Class A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. White is currently on an 11-game hitting streak, dating back to June 27th. recently spoke to White about his hot streak and rookie season. How does it feel to have this kind of success on the pro level?
Cole White: It's a great feeling because once you get here the talent is unbelievable. At first, it makes you second guess yourself a little bit. But I've performed and I know I'm in the right spot. I belong here just like everyone else.

AS: Was it tough during the early part of the season when you didn't bat much?
CW: I had tendinitis in my shoulder, so that played a part. It had be reoccurring since the spring season. I hadn't thrown for a while so it flared up a little. But I feel good now. Still, at first, I was a little frustrated. It was a new role for me. But at the same time, I stayed positive, and just tried to learn. I've learned so much about the game and hitting from our hitting coach (former Pirate) Sid Bream.

AS: What's been the key to your hitting streak?
CW: I would say I started feeling comfortable after the first 10 or 15 at-bats. I was out of sync at first. The velocity is a lot faster here, so I learned, you have to let your hands do a lot of work. You can't just try to muscle one out of the park. There are some adjustments. The biggest thing is that if I fail, I don't get down.

AS: Biggest difference between college and pro pitchers?
CW: Ninety or 95 percent of the pitchers are in the upper 80's or low 90's. In college, you rarely faced guys like that, maybe (Navy's) Mitch Harris once and a while. They definitely challenge you more, which means you can sit on a fastball.

AS: How did it feel to hit your first career homer (on July 3 against Vermont)?
CW: It was awesome. It surprised me, I didn't think I hit it out. But it went down the line and over the fence. I had two strikes and was just trying to stay alive, fouling off pitches. I just reacted to a fastball and hit it out.

AS: Have you changed your approach being a leadoff hitter as opposed to a No. 3 hitter at Army?
CW: Maybe the first at-bat of the game, yes. But after that, no. I just try to hit the ball hard and get on base. I have done some hit and runs and had two doubles on them, which is the best case scenario.

AS: What has been the response from your teammates and fans being that you are a West Point grad?
CW: It's all been positive. Everyone has been great with me and (former Army catcher) Chris Simmons. A lot of my teammates ask us about guns we've shot and if we've driven a tank. Some are confused how we can play. But it's been great.

AS: Your goals for the rest of the season?
CW: I just want to keep developing the finer points of my game. I know I'm on a hot streak, but there will be struggles. Regardless, I just have to keep working hard and keep a positive attitude." Top Stories