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Take Five with Rodney Hutchison Jr.

by Alexandra Russell, 07-31-2017

Take Five with Rodney Hutchison Jr.

Chatham, Mass. — Today, we’re taking five minutes in conversation with pitcher Rodney Hutchison, Jr. Rodney is a rising junior at the University of North Carolina, and has been a key presence on the mound for the Anglers this season, earning two wins and making six scoreless outings in eight games. Since arriving on the Cape, he has compiled an impressive ERA of 0.77 over 23.1 innings.

 

When did you start playing baseball?

Hutchison: I started playing baseball probably at three or four… It wasn’t organized, but just out in the backyard. I had a wiffle ball field in my backyard growing up, so my dad would like cut the grass, and let me take care of it. So I started really early, it wasn’t organized, but I had the glove and bat in my hands really early — it was like my first love, almost. As early as I can remember.

You just finished your sophomore year at UNC. How did you decide to go there — did you think about other schools?

Hutchison: Just through the recruiting process, like I talked to a lot of schools, but I just really liked everything UNC had to offer from the coaching staff, the facilities, like my chances to play — I just wanted to be at a top university and take my chances and put myself up against the best. There’s no rhyme or reason to why I’m there, I just felt like it was the right fit, and I’m really glad that I chose UNC.

Do you feel like you have made improvements to your technique and execution in your time on the Cape?

Hutchison: Yeah, for sure — I mean, this is the best summer league there is, and every night we’re battling against the best players in the country, so it really teaches you. You have to get better, every day I come in I try to focus on one or two things at a time. Just planning this is tough, the competition really takes you to the next level. So I definitely feel like since I’ve been up here I have been better, and I plan to continue getting better up here for the rest of the summer, so I’m really enjoying it.

What will you take away from this summer?

Hutchison: Definitely the friendships I’ve made, the coaching staff, the town of Chatham, even the whole Cape — it’s a unique experience up here. Definitely, I won’t forget the friendships I’ve made, just people from all over the country, and different colleges. It’s an unforgettable experience up here, so I’d definitely say the friendships and the culture up here, and the Cape and how much they live for the Cape Cod League baseball. I can’t say enough about how much fun it is up here.

What’s your favorite major league team and player?

Hutchison: I grew up a Yankees fan because of Derek Jeter, so he was kind of my first role model in baseball just because of the great baseball player he was and how he handled himself on and off the field. But my favorite player in today’s game I would say is Marcus Stroman — I try to model my pitching after him. He has a presence on the mound, he’s confident. I kind of model myself after his pitching technique a little bit. I just like how he is as a person on the field and off the field, and just the confidence he has in himself and his abilities. I just really look up to him, and I strive to be like him one day.

Do you have a favorite meal or food that you like to eat on game days?

Hutchison: Ever since I’ve been up here, it’s called D’Angelo’s, it’s like hot sandwiches and stuff. Every game that I think I’m going to pitch, I always get a barbecue chicken cheddar sandwich. Every time I’ve eaten it, I’ve thrown well — I’m not too superstitious, but I like to get that before the games I think I’ll go in. It’s definitely a really good sandwich, so I recommend it to others.

You mentioned superstition — do you have any pregame rituals or routines that you do to get in the zone?

Hutchison: Not really, like nothing that I have to do. I try not to be superstitious because if I feel like I haven’t done something, I don’t want it to affect me mentally. I have my basic routine, stretching, the pitches I throw in the pen but like nothing crazy. I’d say the most superstitious thing is me getting my sandwich, but other than that there’s nothing crazy that I do.

If you had a walkout song, what would it be?

Hutchison: At school I did Roses by OutKast, which is kind of a throwback rap song, and I did Bust a Move, which is kind of like an early nineties rap song. But, this year, going back to school I kind of thought about it and I think I want to do Love Shack, which is like a crazy old seventies song. There’s kind of a story about it, with me and Berg [Austin Bergner], but going back to UNC this year I think I’m going to do Love Shack.

What has been your favorite thing about spending time on the Cape this summer?

Hutchison: Like I said earlier, just the environment, I believe Chatham’s easily the best place to play just because of how the town lives for it. Everywhere we go, people are like where are you from, what school do you go to, what position — they can tell you’re a ball player when you’re wearing an Anglers shirt, like you can tell how much we mean to the town. It’s almost like every night you’re out here, you want to perform for them and do the best you can not just for yourself but for the town. I’ll never forget being up here, it’s been a blast.

 

The Anglers take on the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at Veterans Field Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.



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