What It Takes To Be An Ace
A starting pitcher is unique and poised. Each has his own delivery, style, and approach to being the starting pitcher for his team and control the game from the very first pitch.
The Miami Dade College Sharks have been fortunate this season to showcase Ivan Paleaz, a former participant for the 16 and Under Team USA Championship Team.
In order to be a starting pitcher, one must have endurance to pitch for many innings at a time because baseball is a long game.
When on the mound, Paleaz concentrates only on the batter especially when there is a runner on base, or when something happens out of his control.
"I pitch one hitter at a time, I don't think of anything else but getting that hitter out," Paleaz said.
Paleaz begins preparing himself mentally a day before he is scheduled to pitch, to ensure that he is totally focused.
Pitching is all about mechanics, and Paleaz’s favorite weapon on the mound is an off-speed pitch that will surprise the batter.
"I have a devastating changeup [and] I throw with a side arm submarine release that catches many hitters off guard; it's hard for guys to read it,” Paleaz said.
When the Sharks have a slim lead, and are leading the ninth, they know who to turn to, their closer, Alejandro Castro.
The closer is the pitcher who gets called at the end of a game to secure the win. They come in when the game is close and make sure that the lead is not surrendered.The rest of the pitchers get the team to this point, now the closer’s job is to shut the other team down.
There is no room for error for the closing pitcher. If he throws the wrong pitch, it can cost the team the victory.
In order to qualify for a save, the pitcher must come in when either the pitcher has no more than a three run lead and pitches at least one inning, or the pitcher comes in when the potential tying run is either on base, at bat, or on deck.
"I come in with a different approach than most closers, I am confident that I can close the game,” Castro said. “The defense that plays behind me is great.”
Castro tries to retire the hitter by throwing pitches that the hitter cannot capitalize on. For Castro, that pitch is the seam fastball he learned to throw when he was a young child.
"I dominate my fastball,” Castro said. “It’s a hard pitch I can throw with control and try to get it by hitters.”
While on the mound, Castro is not picky about how he closes games. He will take the outs any way they come.
"I don't try to blow the ball past hitters,” Castro said. “ I just want to get the opposing hitter out."
Castro comes into ball games with a positive perspective, and he doesn't let emotions affect his game.
"Confidence overcomes nerves,” Castro said. “If you know you can then you will accomplish the task at hand."
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