Trojans' Watt enjoys new role
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 18, 2011 1:47 PM
Rob Watt is not a new face on the baseball scene at Mount Olive College, but he does have a new role.
For most of the season Watt has been the man behind the Trojan pitching staff. He calls pitches, makes mound visits and even offers calming words of encouragement.
As anyone who has seen a Mount Olive practice over the past five seasons knows, calm is not a word that would normally be used to describe the fiery competitor.
"It's shocking really," said Mount Olive hurler Carter Capps. "Coach Watt comes out of the dugout and you kind of expect him to tear you a new one, but usually he is pretty calm and he just tells you what you need to know and heads back the way he came."
After pitching coach Matt Cruse left the team suddenly, head coach Carl Lancaster sat down and discussed the team's pitchers with Watt and fellow assistant coach Jason Sherrer. The trio decided that they would each take an active role in developing the team's young arms.
Both former college catchers, Watt and Sherrer have relished in their new-found opportunity.
"Since I have been here I have been primarily with the offensive guys," said Watt. "Now dealing with the other side of the game, too, I feel like I am even more into each pitch. As a guy that loves to compete, I want to be involved as much as I can be, so I think it has been good for me."
Watt handles the mound visits during the game.
Sherrer takes care of most of the practice responsibilities such as hitting infield for pitchers and directing bullpen sessions during long breaks between games.
"I have to give Jason a lot of the credit for all the work he does," said Watt. "He is the one that watches guys warm up and works on specific issues with each one. He has really been a great asset for us this season."
The starting rotation has blossomed under Watt and Sherrer's guidance.
Capps leads the team with an 12-0 record and a 1.75 earned run average and has developed into one of the hottest prospects to ever come out of Mount Olive. Pete Levitt has eight wins against just two losses and has delivered nearly a strikeout per inning over 14 appearances. Curtis Hudson is coming off a win over Winston-Salem State and carries a 5-2 mark into regional play.
The Trojans have a 2.86 team ERA.
"Each of those guys brings a little something different to the table," said Watt. "They are all good arms, but they go about it in different ways. It forces myself and Jason to be a little more flexible with how we handle each one of them."