April 15, 2002
What a day for Terry Pettorini in early March when he went 6-for-6 from the plate, scored six runs and knocked in another five in Ohio State’s 38-15 victory over Toledo. In consecutive plate appearances, he had two home runs that windy day in New Mexico and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
Six hits is more than most players get in a four-game weekend series, and Pettorini, the sophomore designated hitter for the Buckeyes, had them in one game.
“Playing as the designated hitter is the toughest position I’ve played,” Pettorini said. “The whole day depends on how you swing the bat and you don’t have a glove to make up for it if you are struggling. You have to sit in the dugout for two innings and then are expected to go out and get runs. It’s a difficult task.”
Pettorini has been steady at the plate for the Buckeyes this season as the designated hitter and backup at third base. He had six hits in four games at the Homestead Challenge, but has struggled somewhat since then not getting a hit in the series against Northwestern. After the trip to Florida his average was .360, but now he is hitting .290.
So, he did what he always does after games. He called his dad, who happens to be the head coach at Wooster, a team the Buckeyes play April 24, and he drove the hour and a half to Columbus last Thursday to help Terry work on his swing. Tim Pettorini is in his 21st season coaching the Fighting Scots and has won more than 70 percent of his games as a head coach.
Terry has always benefited from the coaching by his dad, but has never played for him. That almost happened though after Terry narrowed his choices to Wooster and Ohio State as a high school senior. He grew up in the shadows of Art Murray Field and his older brother, Tim, even played there, but Terry opted to play for the Buckeyes.
It will be a strange feeling for the Pettorini family in two weeks when Wooster will be in the first base dugout at Bill Davis Stadium.
“I know almost all of the guys on that team,” Terry said. “When I go home in the offseason, I work out with them. My dad and I have always pulled for one another. It will be a little different that game though.”
Probably not as tough on Tim and Terry as it will be for Rhoda Pettorini, Terry’s mom.
“I suspect she’ll be a Wooster fan except when I have to bat.”