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.

ArmySports.com recently spoke to White about his hot streak and rookie season.

ArmySports.com: 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."


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