Kyle Roche’s Dominance On The Pitching Mound Continues At Collegiate Level
Kyle Roche has put together some kind of pitching resume this spring and summer, piling up not only strikeouts and wins, but also some impressive accolades along the way.
Roche, a 2018 Newtown High School graduate who was an All State and All Conference honoree with the Nighthawks, is a 6-foot-8 right-handed hurler for the Lancaster, Penn.-based Franklin & Marshall College Diplomats. He completed his junior season this past spring and is now taking the mound for the Danbury Westerners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).
Roche was named the D3Baseball.com Mid-Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year following an outstanding junior campaign for the Diplomats, and he was also Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Year. In addition to his conference-leading win total, Roche led the Centennial Conference in starter’s earned run average (ERA) with a 1.00, and was second in the conference with 54 strikeouts. Opponents hit just .131 against Roche as he struck out an average of 10.8 batters every nine innings.
Over his seven starts, Roche did not allow more than four hits during any of his outings. Three different times, he did not allow an earned run, and that included allowing just two hits over six innings of work during a combined shutout of Johns Hopkins. He also allowed just two hits over five scoreless innings versus Muhlenberg. He went seven innings during each of his final four starts, and struck out a season-high 12 batters at Gettysburg while allowing just three hits and no earned runs. Roche also recorded a double-digit punch-out total with 11 Ks in the 3-1 victory at McDaniel.
Roche’s numbers were not only the best in the Centennial Conference, but were also among the national leaders in all of Division III. The righty led all Division III players with a 0.60 WHIP — that’s walks and hits per inning pitched. Roche allowed just four hits per nine innings to rank fourth in the nation while his 7.71 strikeout/walk ratio was the 22nd-best mark nationally. Roche’s 1.00 ERA was the ninth-best mark in DIII as he ranked sixth among starting pitchers.
Roche continued to add to his individual accolades as the Diplomats’ right-hander was named a second-team All-American by D3Baseball.com and a third-team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). Roche earned first-team All-Mid-Atlantic Honors from both associations. Roche is just the third All-American in the history of the Diplomats’ program.
He earned first-team All-Centennial Conference accolades following a season highlighted by two Centennial Conference Pitcher of the Week honors and being named to the D3Baseball.com National Team of the Week in late March.
The pitcher said his work at FullReps Training Center, in Camp Hill, Penn., helped increase his velocity and fine tune his pitches heading into what turned out to be a memorable spring slate.
“It really translated to success in the spring. It was a lot of work and it all paid off,” Roche said. “I’m looking to improve even more for spring and see where I can go with things.”
Roche generally throws his fastball in the 88-91 miles per hour range, topping out at 92. He also tosses a slider, and changeup as he has since his high school playing days. Roche added a split-finger pitch to his repertoire in college.
At the Westerners’ season starter on June 3, Roche went five innings, allowing only three hits, one walk, and an unearned run, and compiled seven strikeouts in an 18-4 win over the Bristol Blues. In a June 30 outing, Roche lasted five innings, and allowed two earned runs on six hits to help the Westerners earn a 9-2 victory over Valley. He has ten strikeouts in 13 innings pitched overall, to go along with a 1-1 record and 4.84 ERA this summer.
Roche notes that the NECBL features a lot of Division I players, making for a challenging summer of baseball.
“The competition’s definitely a lot tougher,” Roche acknowledges.
In addition to gaining valuable time on the mound against top-notch collegiate hitters, which stands to make Roche that much better for his next season with the Diplomats, he is enjoying the overall experience after missing out last year; Roche was set to pitch for the Westerners before the NECBL season was canceled due to the coronavirus.
“It’s been a great experience so far. The guys on the team are really nice,” Roche said.
The Westerners’ season continues through the end of July. Tickets for home games, at Rogers Park, 21 Memorial Drive, are $5; visit danburywesterners.com for information.
Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at email@example.com.