Fields ready to make jump to Rio Grande

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2000

COAL GROVE- Josh Fields is ready to make a change.

Saturday, June 17, 2000

COAL GROVE- Josh Fields is ready to make a change.

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Not only is Fields going from high school to college academically, he’s making the move up athletically.

The Coal Grove Hornets senior pitcher has signed to play for the University of Rio Grande Redmen and he knows there will be a drastic change. However, it’s a change he more than welcomes.

"It’ll take an adjustment period. I’m not going out there and have 10, 11, 12 strikeouts a game," said Fields. "I’m going to keep my walks down and focus on what I have to do. In college, the pitching style is different. You pitch to let your defense work for you. You have to pitch smarter and I like that."

Fields pitched well for the Hornets even though his record was 4-3. In 58 innings of work, he struck out 60 and walked just 17 while posting a 3.20 earned run average.

He also played third base and batted .320 for the Hornets who finished 8-8, but he said the Rio Grande coaches plan to use him as a pitcher.

"I’m definitely pitching," said Fields. "The coaches discussed the possibility of playing in the field, but they like to keep their pitchers at one spot and focus on that."

Fields said that a big adjustment at the college level is, naturally, the level of talent. He said "it’s like pitching to the three, four, and five hitters the whole game. It’ll be like pitching an all-star game every day. But I’m going to like that. I’ve always liked challenges."

Fields was first team All-Ohio Valley Conference and first team all-district. He started as a sophomore after dressing varsity as a freshman.

"Josh threw well for us all year," Coal Grove head baseball coach John Jones said. "He went to some camps (over the winter) and got a lot of different ideas about pitching. I think it made him a better pitcher."

Fields dressed varsity as a freshman for the Hornets and started his sophomore year. He knows it’ll be difficult to crack the starting rotation as a freshman at Rio Grande.

"I will pitch some varsity games, but as far as where I an in the rotation, I don’t know. I really don’t know a lot about them. I know there will be a lot of competition and that will make me better, and I like that. I like being around guys who are better. And there are guys there who can help me," said Fields.

The choice of Rio Grande was not a quick decision for Fields. He said he looked at quite a few other schools before making his selection.

"I went to 10 to 15 schools and talked to coaches and the faculty. The Rio Grande faculty was very dignified and they had a lot of class, and their athletic program is getting stronger," said Fields.

"The faculty is really athlete-friendly and you don’t find that a lot. I’m going into pharmacy and (URG) has got a lot of programs II need. And athletically, the coaches are the nicest and most helpful coaches I met."