One-on-one with one of Dartmouth's top relievers, Patrick Peterson

by Danielle Okonta | 2/19/17 2:15am

Patrick Peterson ’18 is a decorated right-handed pitcher on the men’s baseball team. In his freshman year, he was named a Louisville Slugger All-American and All-Ivy League First Team relief pitcher. In his sophomore year, he was a member of the All-New England Third Team and the All-Ivy League Team for the second year in a row. Most recently, Peterson was selected to be the 2017 National College Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List as the only Ivy League representative. He enters his junior year with a perfect 7-0 record with 10 saves.

What is it like to start off the season with so much traveling?

PP: It is a lot of fun. We get to visit some warmer places. We try to keep up with our schoolwork from time to time. One of the best things we can do while traveling is playing against teams we have not played before. It is fun meeting new people. We will be traveling to Miami later this season to compete against some athletes that were top of their recruiting classes. The hope is that we get to challenge ourselves and win a couple of games down there.

What are your expectations for the season within the Ivy League?

PP: Our main goal is to compete in the Ivy League Championships and win. We are trying to take every game day by day. We don’t like to worry too much about what we can do in the future or the season but more so what we can do for the next game. Our next game is against Eastern Michigan University, and right now we are focusing on competing and doing well in that game.

Is the team planning on getting back to winning in the Red Rolfe Division?

PP: We obviously took a little bit of a step back in the division. We want to get back into the Ivy Championships and take every game as it goes. We are going to aim to win as many Ivy games as we can to hopefully get back to where we need to be.

What’s new about the team this year?

PP: This year, we have a new mental conditioning coach named Brian Cain. He is considered one of the best mental conditioning coaches in all of baseball. We have adopted this new philosophy about focusing on the present before looking at the future in our season. He is very energetic and a lot of fun to be around. He helps us get energized and at practices and while competing. He has allowed us to help each other find new ways to grow and get better during practices so we can be prepared for any and every game we have.

What has been Coach Bob Whalen’s focus in training?

PP: It is similar to last year’s training. We always have conditioning twice a week, but this year we have focused more on power instead of just agility and conditioning. We have been working with our strength and conditioning coach Kelly Cosgrove. It has challenged us to get stronger and faster and hopefully a little more powerful this year. His focus is just to play the game the right way, which is just like playing catch and playing small ball to score.

What makes a great relief pitcher?

PP: You should start pitching first — the coaches have to put you in the position to get there. All I do when I go out there is to try and throw as many strikes as I can and put the ball in play. I don’t try and stretch many guys out. In a tough situation, you should throw the ball wherever you want and know that your teammates will be there to pick the play for you.

What aspects of the game do you pride yourself on?

PP: Hard work. It is tough to practice two to three hours every single day, and you can get lazy at times. Our team is trying to stay focused and give our best at practice and in competition. I aim not to get too nervous when the stakes are high and work well in pressure situations.

How do you think you have grown since freshman year both as a player on the baseball team and as an athlete at Dartmouth?

PP: I think I have become a little less nervous. I would always get worked up in stressful situations. With a little more experience and not being “a little innocent freshman” anymore, I have could gain a lot more confidence. It has become easier to go out every single day and pitch no matter what the situation may be.

How did it feel to be named to the 2017 Stopper of the Year Watch List?

PP: It’s exciting. It doesn’t mean a ton. It is very much appreciated, but I haven’t devoted too much attention to it. I’m more focused on what baseball holds for me and my teammates for the rest of the year and in seeing what happens.

What do you wish to accomplish before the end of your baseball career at Dartmouth?

PP: I definitely want our team to win an Ivy League Championship. I also want us to place within the College World Series; that has been one main goal I have had since my freshman year. I hope next year I can do something special before I graduate.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.