Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters ever, once said, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.”
By Williams’ standard, junior Danny Roth is a good performer. As of April 21, Roth is hitting .342 in 117 at-bats.
Roth’s family tried to convince him multiple times to play lacrosse, but he has stuck with baseball since he was around 5 years old. He also played basketball throughout high school, but decided to pursue baseball in college.
“I was just better at baseball,” Roth said.
He entered his freshman year without a clear expectation, but he was confident in his abilities to help his new team. He hit .294 in 20 games.
Last year, Head Coach Jason Tower relied much more on Roth and started him in all 40 games. The only other Hawk to start every game was 2018-grad Shane Nowak. Roth finished the year with a .246 average and led the team with nine doubles and three home runs.
Roth came into college as a shortstop, but has become a true utility player. Last year, he played a number of games at first base, but has mainly played second base this season.
“I had a lot of expectations for myself [coming into this season],” Roth said. “It’s up to me at that point to continue to work hard and eventually the results will follow.”
All the training and repetitions in the offseason have paid off for Roth, who has become the Hawks’ offensive spark. His approach has been simple—find a pitch he can hit well.
“Pretty much any pitch I can handle, I want to swing at. Most of the time, I lay off the curveballs and hit the fastballs,” Roth said. “If it’s there and I think I can do some damage with it, I try to attack it as best as I can. It all depends on situations, too.”
Roth is tied for first in home runs within the Commonwealth Coast Conference with seven, but he also has the second most strikeouts on the team with 28.
“Sometime I leave pitches that I don’t think I can handle that are definitely strikes then I find myself falling behind in counts,” Roth said. “That was definitely one of my goals coming into this year to cut those down.”
Although he felt like he was in a little bit of a slump, Roth has found his stride over the last two weeks.
Beginning with their win over Salve Regina University on April 12, Roth is just hitting under .500 over the last seven games. He’s gone 13 for 27 in that span with two home runs.
The Hawks, who are 7-4-1 in CCC play, are entering their final few weeks of the regular season, and Roth thinks they can make another run toward a top seed like they did in 2018.
“I think we have a lot of talent,” Roth said. “As we’re coming toward the end, it seems to be coming together more and more. Ideally, we’re one of those teams that seem to get it rolling right before the playoffs.”