Closing the (d)Orr from the mound

Castleton pitcher Riley Orr has been on fire in the first few weeks of the season. The Queensbury native has produced back-to-back Little East Conference Pitcher of the Week honors with his performances on the mound.

His 14 strikeouts against Mississippi University for Women in Montgomery, Alabama marked Castleton’s best pitching performance since 2010 and the team is now ranked 77th nationally among other Division III universities. Throughout his three starts, Orr has an ERA of 3.12, WHIP .92 and opponent batting average of .185.

“I’ve been around the game for a while and you can tell someone knows that they’re about to do good and have that confidence in themself,” Pitching Coach Steve Bowley said of Orr.

Orr can be described as a character off the field, always having fun with his teammates or pulling pranks in the locker room like hiding other people’s gloves.

But it all changes when he steps onto the mound and play ball.

Listening to Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Breaking Benjamin, and Five Finger Death Punch, he starts to get into the zone. After his hour-and-a-half warmup with nine different activities like stretching, active warmups and slowly going through his throwing stages, he’s ready to take the mound.

Bowley said Orr brings a different type of feel when he goes to the mound. Having a perfectionist mentality, Orr gets a crazed look and screams at himself on the mound for each batter, be it positive or negative.

Bowley praises Orr’s mental strength and the improvements he has made over the past year not letting circumstances in game take away from his pitching abilities.

“It was a big emphasis this year because we know he’s a good pitcher,” Bowley said.

Bowley’s connection with Orr, being only two years apart in age, has also helped. Orr said Bowley’s experience in other D1, D2 or independent league programs has given him many things to learn from.

“He has helped me a lot with my mechanics and increasing my velocity by 3 miles,” Orr said.

Bowley sees Orr as the top dog on the pitching staff and a vocal leader for this team. He has the experience and the knowledge to help others throughout the season and has made things a lot easier for Bowley.

The coach said he leads by example for the younger guys to take notice, like how he prepares and takes care of himself in all phases of the game.

“It definitely pushes guys to be better, so it shows them, ‘well, if he can do it, then why can’t I do it and become a better baseball player,’” (says) Bowley said.

Orr also gives credit to his catcher throughout his career, Addison Schaub, as they’ve worked hard together to improve his pitching. Orr compares them to Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, who have the most consecutive starts together in MLB history.

“We’ve come through college together since we were freshman and he has caught for every single game I can remember,” Orr said. “We have a strong relationship. He knows every single pitch I can throw and what I’m thinking. I rarely shake him off during games calling for a different pitch.”

Orr’s success has been noticed for the past two weeks by the LEC, but he said he plans on staying consistent with his routine and riding the confidence he has gotten through the first leg of the season. Castleton was selected 6th in the LEC preseason polls after not being selected last year, but Orr believes the team can do better.

“We just have to play like we have been and believe that we can compete with these guys [in-conference opponents],” Orr said.

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