Former Jefferson player leads Atlantic-10 Conference with .379 batting average
RICHMOND, Va. – Last year, Paul Witt was named West Virginia’s Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year as Jefferson won its second straight state championship.
Witt went off to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as the probable starter at shortstop for the 2017 season.
Virginia Commonwealth is in the Atlantic-10 Conference where 13 schools play baseball.
After beginning the season as the starting shortstop, Witt was moved to second base where he completed the season.
Witt’s freshman year began with him having a multi-hit game in a shutout win over Florida State. And his batting average never dropped below the .300 mark all season. He began the year batting ninth in the VCU order, but after about eight games he was moved to second. It wasn’t long after his original move that he was placed fourth in the order.
For the last 25 games of the regular season, Witt batted third. His .400-plus batting average after 15 games dipped some as the 53-game season wore on … but it never went below .364.
Virginia Commonwealth was always near the top of the Atlantic-10 standings, scrambling with Rhode Island for first place for much of the season.
Witt was always the batting-average leader in the league.
In its final three-game series of the regular season, VCU swept city rival Richmond and ended up just ahead of Rhode Island in first place in the conference standings.
The Atlantic-10 holds its conference tournament this week in St. Louis with VCU holding the No. 1 seed in the seven-team event.
Witt’s final batting average was .379, far away the best in the conference where the runner-up hit .355.
Virginia Commonwealth completed its regular season with a 33-20 overall record.
Not only did he win the individual batting title, but Witt also led the conference (tied with two others) in hits with 75.
Witt’s statistical chart showed him scoring 33 runs, getting 10 doubles, driving in 33 runs and finishing with a .443 on-base percentage.
He could be a creditable candidate for Freshman of the Year in all of the NCAA ranks.
Should Virginia Commonwealth get through the double-elimination conference tournament with a championship, it would gain another NCAA tournament bid, the same as it did in 2016.
Leading any league in batting average is a feather in anybody’s cap, but especially if you are a freshman in your first season of collegiate baseball.
Witt went from leading Jefferson to its 2016 state championship to leading the Atlantic-10 in batting average.