The Albany Dutchmen are off to another solid start, and the hitting of Michael Fitzsimmons (Ole Miss) is no small reason why.
Through six games, Fitzsimmons was second in the league lead in both hits and runs batted in, with nine and seven respectively. The Eads, Tennessee native posted a .346 average over the first week, which included four Dutchmen victories. For his efforts, he has been named the first Albany Dutchmen Spotlight Player of the Week.
Fitzsimmons redshirted this past season for Ole Miss after a high school career where he was twice named an All-State selection. The Rebels advanced to the NCAA Tournament after a 30-win season and a winning record in the ultra-competitive SEC.
The redshirt freshman said it took some time to get used to seeing live pitching again.
“It was kind of tough coming in,” Fitzsimmons said. “I was taking a lot of pitches, and I started telling myself I wasn’t going to get cheated anymore.
The third game of the Dutchmen season saw the emergence of the third baseman, as Fitzsimmons went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three runs batted in. He drove in the three runs on a towering bases-clearing double in the fifth inning, which provided the winning margin in a 10-7 Albany win over Glens Falls.
Fitzsimmons then added three hits with two runs batted in during the Dutchmen’s 10-1 throttling of the Amsterdam Mohawks. He finished his week with two hits and two runs batted in in Sunday’s win over the Mohawks, including a hit and a run during Albany’s six-run seventh, which allowed the Dutchmen to rally from a 6-0 deficit to claim a 9-7 victory.
After starting the season 0-for-7, Fitzsimmons has hit .474 over the final four games of the week, three of which were won by the Dutchmen. The 9-for-19 surge has included three doubles and four runs scored, helping Albany to the top of the East Division through six games.
Starting each of the first six games for the Dutchmen at third base, Fitzsimmons is a perfect 11-for-11 in fielding chances at the hot corner.
The infielder stated he has had the opportunities to drive in runs due to the efforts of his teammates setting the table in front of him.
“It’s helped that I’ve had a lot of people on base to drive,” Fitzsimmons said. “I can get fastballs to hit when people are on base.”
Fitzsimmons is expected to be a mainstay in the middle of the Albany Dutchmen order for the remainder of the summer, and a continuation of his hot hitting would prove to be beneficial in the Dutchmen quest for a third consecutive playoff berth.