Someone to Know: Nicolas Bitter, West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels

Written by Bob on August 25th, 2011

PARANA, ARGENTINA – There’s a fastpitch pipeline that’s bringing some of South America’s best players north to the United States. High among them is Nicolas Bittor, who spent the 2011 season with the West St. Paul, Minnesota Angels.

Bittor had a terrific ISC World Tournament in helping the Angels finish fourth – the highest finish in the World Tournament for a Minnesota team since 1981 when St. Paul All-American Bar finished fourth.

That South American pipeline?

For the Angels, it winds its way down to Parana, Argentina… where the Angels not only acquired Bittor, but also a couple of his friends: pitcher Juan Potolicchio and outfielder Fernando Petric.

All three contributed mightily in Minnesota’s strong ISC showing and resulting 4-2 record. But Bittor had one of the more heroic moments.

Minnesota and Pennsylvania Power were locked in a pitchers’ dual between the Angels’ Potolicchio and Powers’ Sean Cleary. Both pitchers were dominating, and it would take a big play to win it.

Bittor happily obliged.

The game went into the 10th inning scoreless with Minnesota coming to bat. Bittor led off the inning and didn’t waste any time, drilling a solo home run that gave Minnesota the lone run of the game. Potolicchio shutdown Power in the bottom of the tenth and Minnesota held on for a 1-0 victory.

The pitch?

“It was a change up that I saw very well,” said the 26-year-old Bittor. “It was the only pitch I could hit that night. I had three strikeouts before the home run and Cleary was throwing better and better each inning, and it was getting even harder to hit the ball. But fortunately, I could hit that one far enough to be a home run.”

Bittor, who plays second base, also had a big game in the Angels’ opener, an 8-0 victory over the Hickson Reds in which he was 3 for 4 with a solo home run, a double and two RBIs.

For his outstanding play, Bittor was selected a second-team, All-World infielder. He finished with a .350 batting average, 7 for 20, five runs scored, two home runs, and four RBIs.

Let’s learn a little more about this talented and personable second baseman.

Q: Cleary was really tough on the Angels, what was working well for him?
A: “He didn’t throw many pitches per count, and in my opinion his raise ball was his main pitch, and it was faster than the first game we played them, and with more movement. His drop ball was hard to hit too.”

Q: Have you ever been selected to an All-World team, and what does that feel like?
A: “I’ve never been selected to an All-World team before in an ISC World Tournament, that is why I felt so proud. I still don’t believe it. (Donny) Hale, (Nick) Shailes, (Brad) Rona, (Rhys) Casely…to name a few, and my name with them? I’ve never expected that, even though I give my best every time I can.”

Q: How has playing against great players helped your development?
A: “I’m the kind of player who is learning all the time from those guys. I try to watch them play all I can.”

Q: Do you plan on returning to the Angels next season, and what did you like best about playing for them?
A: “I would go back to the Angels without thinking twice. There is an amazing chemistry between all the teammates. We have a lot of fun. All of them are great people. I felt like I was playing with friends from all my life.”

Q: How long have you been playing fastpitch?
A: I have been playing since I was six. There is no baseball where we live, so we start playing the little league fastpitch division.”

Q: How did you get your start in fastpitch?
A: “My father played fastpitch when he was young, but now he plays slowpitch back home. It’s because of him that I play this game I love so much.”

Q: Now that you’re back home, when does the season start?
A: “It starts next week, so there is no rest for us. Besides, we are training with our national team for the qualifiers in Mexico in November.”

Q: Do you and Potolicchio and Petric play together?
A: “The three of us play for the Club Atletico Estudiantes from Parana.”

Q: What kind of success has your team had?
A: “We have won the national tournament seven times. We are the team that has won it more times than any other team.”

Q: What kind of personal success have you had in Argentina?
A: “I’ve been selected to be part of the All-World team on one occasion, and the MVP in a state nationals.”

Q: Besides the ISC World Tournament, what was your favorite tournament in the U.S. and why?
A: “I would say the ASA (Amateur Softball Association Major National Championship) because all the best teams go there to get ready for the ISC.”

Nicolas, we wish you well playing for Club Atletico Estudiantes, and we want you back in the U.S. playing in the 2012 ISC World Tournament, giving us more thrills like that game-deciding home run against Pennsylvania Power.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bob says:

    Really enjoyed watching you play at the just completed ISC World Tourney here in the Quad Cities. I was fortunate enough to play in three tourneys back in the 60’s when the tourney was in Rock Island, IL.
    Glen Cook

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