A month into the baseball season, Mitch Donofrio’s batting average reached a low of .213.

Within two weeks, the Venice High School graduate boosted that average to .356, which led Eckerd College through 19 games before the season was suspended.

The starting third baseman also had a team-high six home runs and 20 runs batted in.

The sophomore finished the season with a six-game hitting streak, including five consecutive multi-hit efforts.

The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association named him as its NCAA Division II National Hitter of the Week on March 12 for batting .764 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in four games. He was also named as the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week on March 9.

Donofrio had four hits in five at-bats in two consecutive games. He hit two home runs and drove in five runs, both career highs, in each game.

Adjustments prompted his offensive turnaround.

“I moved my hands back a little farther,” he said. “It helped me get more extension.”

When his hands were forward, he said, “I was getting a lot of ground balls to the third baseman, just a lot of pull, even on outside pitches.”

He reduced the temptation to swing at high pitches, especially the fastball.

“I kept chasing some high heat,” he said. “It’s hard to catch up to that.”

As the season progressed, the right-handed batter was able to drive offspeed pitches to all fields, including hitting an away slider for a home run to right field during one of his last games.

Donofrio continues to condition because he said he plans to play summer ball, either in the Florida Gulf Coast or Coastal Plain league.


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