Pirate Player Profile: Adam Witter
by Josh Spence

ECU baseball got off to a solid start winning 2 out of 3 against the University of Maryland on opening weekend.  With so much that is new about this team in 2006, very few players (or coaches for that matter) can boast any kind of extended relationship with ECU.  Of the nine seniors on the team, five transferred to ECU midway through their eligibility.  One of the few that has been with the Pirates from the beginning is senior first baseman Adam Witter. 


Adam Witter came to the Pirates as a freshman in 2003.  Witter was highly recruited out of Chambersburg High School in Pennsylvania, after earning all-state and conference MVP honors as a senior.  Adam collected numerous honors at Chambersburg High, equaling the team’s career home run record with 16, setting the schools mark for career extra base hits, and finishing second in career RBI.  Like many of the Pirate players Adam is an athlete who happens to like baseball most.  Witter lettered 3 years on the CHS football team as a wide receiver, and also played one year of basketball.


During his freshman campaign Witter put up solid numbers for the Pirates.  As a true freshman Witter played in a total of 36 games while starting 32 as a designated hitter.  While hitting a modest .252 his first year, Adam showed signs of brilliance even in his freshman season, going 5-10, with 5 RBI in a 3 game series versus Southern Miss.  Witter had another big performance in the postseason when he went 2-3 with 3 RBI including a 2-run homer in the Pirates win over Houston in the Conference USA tournament. 


During his sophomore season Adam Witter was somewhat lost in the shuffle.  With Ryan Norwood at first and John Poppert behind the plate, Witter never got the chance to play consistently, but unselfishly played as the team’s top utility player.  Witter netted a .184 average with 4 homers and 10 RBI, but batted at a .278 clip in a seven game starting role. 


It was his junior year when Witter emerged as a top player.  Adam started 47 games and played in 55, playing mostly at first base, but also entered the lineup as a designated hitter, and started nine games at catcher when Jake Smith went down late in the year.  Witter had a career year with personal highs in nearly every statistical category, including homeruns (7), RBI (33), hits (60), runs scored (37), and batting average (.328). 


Adam Witter enters his senior season as a Conference USA “player to watch”.  “Wit” as he is known, earned an even bigger pre-season honor when he was selected to wear the honorary number “23”, as a Pirate senior is every year, to honor the legacy of former Pirate head coach Keith LeClair.  “It’s a great honor.  I was really good friends with Brian Cavanaugh last year, and it’s an honor to get it after him, and obviously for what it’s done”.  Adam’s comments, referring to the success of each of the previous three honorees, who all had standout years wearing the number 23. 


About 2006, Adam says he can’t wait.  “As a senior you feel like you’re a little more experienced, more battle-field tested, and you expect a little more respect from the younger players.  I think we have a great team this year, it’s going to be the highlight of my career”.  When I asked him about playing for Coach Godwin, Adam says it has been an amazing transformation.  “It’s much more relaxed, our practices are more organized, and everyone knows exactly what coach expects from us.  He has a great baseball philosophy, on everything from base running, to hitting, and pitching.  He knows the game.  He’s a proven head coach, and we’re playing for him as much as we are for each other.” 


As far as the new players, Adam has been impressed.  “Ryan Tousley has proven to be a really good hitter; he’s going to fit nicely in the middle of our lineup, as well as Jake Dean.  I don’t think he has the arm that Mark Minicozzi had, but is just as good a fielder, and gives us another strong left handed bat in our lineup.”  I asked him who was the toughest new pitcher he had faced in practice, and Witter said Josh Dowdy the Freshman out of Raleigh, Wakefield impressed him the most.  “I think Dowdy has stepped in and proven he can get some good hitters out, he seems to be a bit more mature for his age.

With so much new about the 2006 Pirates, Adam Witter will be relied upon for senior leadership and guidance.  Though he is probably the strongest player on the team Witter is more the quiet type, and leads by example.  Conference USA listed him as a player to watch but Pirate fans already have been.  Good luck to Witter and the Pirates in 2006.

Josh Spence