Ramapo’s Cory Heitler reflects on no-hitter
On Saturday, April 21, at Jeff Maud Field on the campus of Ramapo College, Roadrunners junior right-handed pitcher Cory Heitler said he approached the doubleheader against Rutgers-Newark as any other Saturday since that was usually the day he pitches.
“We were coming off five or six wins in a row, didn’t take Rutgers-Newark as a slouch and went through my routine,” said Heitler. “The week before I blew a no-hitter in the eighth inning. My pitches were good and felt good personally. Travis Zilg (Head Coach) calls the pitches and sequencing well together with the catcher (Liam Duff) on the same page.”
Right off the bat in the first inning, Heitler faced a situation with two runners on base but managed to strike out the last two hitters. Facing a similar situation in the seventh, Heitler escaped by getting Scarlet Raiders second baseman JC Ball to fly out.
“There were some good defensive plays that bailed me out of a jams, our third baseman (Vincenzo Sita) made a diving catch and a double play on a line drive,” he said. “Momentum throughout the game and we put up two runs that was good enough at the end of the day. I knew from the first inning I had not given up a hit. Around the fifth inning I was thinking about it and I went to the end of the bench after inning and sit there thinking what I could have done better that last inning or planning for the next inning. I didn’t get too excited, just kept on making pitches and them off the scoreboard. Around the eighth inning I felt the energy of the dugout. The last inning I did not let the highs get too high.”
In the ninth inning, Heitler finished it off by whiffing two out of the three hitters including the last one for a strikeout, completing the third no-hitter in Ramapo College history and first since 1985. Heitler struck out 11 while throwing 134 pitches and improved his record to 7-1.
“I did not try to show up the other team, dropped my glove and (Liam) Duffy came up running to me and gave me a hug,” explained Heitler. “The team came out of the dugout and just hugged, jumped and squirted water on me. One of the most important things was my mom came out on the field and gave me a hug. I had other family there and my girlfriend. Ramapo College is family and other parents are family as well.”
Raised in Fair Lawn, Heitler takes extra pride in this accomplishment and pitching for Ramapo College. Heitler transferred from Wagner College after his freshman year.
“I have been a homebody and very proud to be from Fair Lawn and Bergen County and wear it on my sleeve. I live 15 to 20 minutes away from campus.”
Travis Zilg on Heitler’s no-hitter, “He was electric, dominated from the first pitch. Cory has four pitches he throws for strikes. He did a great job executing his pitches, a fierce competitor and hates to lose. This was the best I have ever seen him when it comes to command and his command and control were spot on. Everybody felt it building it up in the 6th, 7thand 8th. It’s chatter in the dugout and knows it’s in the making.”
“Cory is laser focused between innings and realized how difficult a task it is to throw a no-hitter. The golden rule is you don’t talk about it and I could tell in the game it would be hard to manufacture runs and we were able to get lucky and I felt with two or three runs is all we would need to win with the way Cory was throwing the ball.”
“One of the biggest things that has changed from last year to this year is his health. He had an injury to overcome, had surgery and came back and did rehab. He has matured as an individual, sacrificed some things and changed his mechanics a little bit and taken the approach to be more coachable. He has matured mentally and physically and become a better teammate and leader. Cory Heitler is the real deal and will go on to play professional baseball.”