Louisville catcher(s) on the mark

Sophomore Will Smith and freshman Colby Fitch have manned the catcher position this season for the University of Louisville baseball team. The two catchers split duties for the Cardinals, who open play in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.

University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell's philosophy is tow catchers are better than one for his squad.

And once again this season, it has worked out for the Cardinals behind the plate. Sophomore Will Smith has been the regular catcher, while Colby Fitch has been the catcher at least one game a week for the Cardinals this season.

"If you asked them each, they would rather catch four or five games a week," assistant coach Eric Snider said. "But that's not our game plan and these guys know the roles they play. It helps keep both of them fresher in the end.

"They're both doing a great job."

Smith, a sophomore from Kentucky Country Day, has played in 43 games and started all but eight. He's hitting .242 and has just two errors. He has thrown out 14 runners.

Fitch, a freshman from Rocheport, Mo., has played in 18 games and is hitting .282. He's thrown out two of seven base runners and has five errors.

"We like having two guys and they've both done a good job," McDonnell said. "We had to play Will some last year because he was so good and he's really improved and Colby has done a good job for us as a freshman. They've been good for us."

McDonnell used seniors Shane Crain and Kyle Gibson last season along with Smith. The Cardinals made it to the College World Series with the combination.

"I learned a lot from those guys and still talk to Shane a lot," Smith said. "He watches the games and tells me a few things. It's been good this year. Colby works hard and really has gotten better. It's been fun working with him."

Smith, who has 10 multi-hit games this season, has 13 RBIs and 24 runs score. He said the day off has really helped him stay fresh throughout the season.

"In the beginning, it took some time to get used too (not playing every day)," Smith said. "I just had to come every day and do my job and work hard."

Fitch has six multi-hit games and has 13 RBIs in 71 at-bats this season.

"Will has helped me out so much," Fitch said. "He's been so supportive for me. It has been great for me, all I could have wanted from my freshman year.

"You can catch every single day, but it would be tough on you. This works for us."

And it has worked for the Cardinals. U of L will play Morehead State in the NCAA Louisville Regional on Friday at 6 o'clock.


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