July 24, 2009
Joe Supple (JS) of the Santa Clara baseball team has been honing his skills for the Rockville Express of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Collegiate Baseball League in Maryland this summer. He leads his team with a 2.84 ERA and, on July 10, threw only the second nine-inning no-hitter in league history. He was named Pitcher of the Week in his league for the week of July 6 to July 12. We caught up with Joe during his demanding off-season to see what he has done to improve this summer and talk about his no-hitter.
SCU: You were born and raised on the West Coast, but decided to play summer ball in Maryland. What made you decide to play in Maryland and how have you adjusted to life on the East Coast?
JS: Well that is a great question that I don't really know the answer to. Our coaches at Santa Clara have contacts all across the country and they place us in the different leagues. That's how I ended up out here on the East Coast in Maryland. I have adjusted quite well to the East Coast; the weather out here is quite different. It's pretty hot and humid, not like the West Coast at all.
SCU: What is your typical summer day schedule like? Are you playing baseball non-stop?
JS: A typical summer day for me when we are playing at our home field consists of waking up, playing with my host family's boys who are three and one, then going to the gym and being at the field by 1:30 p.m. for a 5 p.m. game. When we have road games everything is a little bit different. We usually have one off day per week, so I have been able to see a couple of Washington Nationals games and have seen the sights in Washington DC.
SCU: You tossed a complete game no-hitter on July 10, only the second nine-inning no-hitter in League History. Take us through this outing. When did you start to realize that you had a shot at a no-hitter? What did that mean to you and where would you rank this achievement in your career?
JS: I was supposed to pitch the day before but our game was cancelled so I had an extra day of rest going into that game. Also, it was my first time pitching at our home field since all of my other starts had just happened to be on away days. It was a great game, but you always have that thought creeping into your head that you are throwing a no hitter, so I knew pretty early on in the game that I did have one going. I just tried to block out those thoughts and keep making my pitches. I would say this is the best achievement in my career because it was my first nine-inning no-hitter. I threw two seven-inning no-hitters the summer after my senior year in high school and this was only the second time I had ever thrown nine innings in my career so it was pretty special.
SCU: You lead your team with a 2.84 ERA. What have you done in the offseason to improve? Increase in velocity or better command?
JS: I don't think that there is one specific thing that I have done to improve this summer, it's just a combination of things. I have been competing and trying to help my team win some games. The one part of my game that I have changed is I have been throwing my two-seam fastball all the time, which is giving me a lot of movement on my fastball.
SCU: The summer league you play in uses wooden bats. Do you change your approach when pitching to wooden bats as opposed to the metal bats you are used to facing at Santa Clara?
JS: A baseball game is a baseball game, so I don't change my approach according to what type of bat a hitter is using. The one difference is when you do jam a guy using a metal bat with a fastball it can sometimes still go for a hit, but with a wood bat, it's broken.
SCU: How will your offseason improvements help the Broncos this season and what are you looking forward to most about next season?
JS: I know that my offseason improvements along with everyone else on the team are directed towards our ultimate goal of going deep into the postseason and making some noise in Omaha.
SCU: Was there a player or players you idolized as a kid that you try to emulate in your approach to the game?
JS: I remember when I was growing up I loved the way that Roger Clemens pitched. He had a great presence when he was on the mound and people feared facing him. He was a great competitor.
SCU: What are your plans after you graduate? Do you want to continue to play baseball at a higher level?
JS: It is every little kids dream to play in the big leagues as well as it is mine. Of course I want to continue to play baseball at a high level and I am doing everything possible to have that chance in the future. But if that doesn't work out I know that I will have a degree from a great institution, Santa Clara.
Favorite Athlete: Tiger Woods
Favorite Team: New York Yankees
Favorite vacation spot: Sunriver, Oregon
Favorite Movie: Happy Gilmore