Two-way star: Joey Purcell

Two-way standout Joey Purcell’s success stems from both sides of the ball

Published by Ryan Mosher, Date: April 25, 2024

Joey Purcell is a two-way star for the Slippery Rock University baseball team. Purcell is a Holland, Pa. native who graduated from Council Rock South High School. Purcell was a multi-sport athlete, playing baseball and basketball, lettering in both.

Purcell earned first-team Suburban One National honors at first base in high school. The Suburban One League is the athletic conference in Southern Pennsylvania for high schools in Montgomery County and Bucks County.

In college baseball, the two-way player is uncommon, but Purcell is still successful on both sides in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

The right-hander commented on the two-way talent on The Rock’s roster between himself, Michael Kitko and Gage Gillott.

“We all know that we are good in this conference both ways and not a lot of people can say that,” Purcell said.

The junior currently holds a 2.77 earned run average (ERA) while pitching 48 2/3 innings over eight appearances, seven of which were starts.

Earlier this season on March 17 against Saint Anslem College, Purcell combined with Kitko for a no-hitter. Purcell threw seven innings while striking out nine batters and only allowed two baserunners, both via walk. Purcell retired the first 13 batters before he issued a walk to Austin Brune.

Purcell loves his slider as a go-to pitch to strikeout hitters.

“I think it is easily my best pitch,” Purcell said.

Purcell started playing on both sides in middle school.

“I started pitching in seventh grade. I never really pitched in little league because I was smaller than everybody else, so I played second base. I pitched in middle school and then not until my junior year of high school and then I have not stopped pitching,” Purcell said.

Purcell plays both sides at a high level, but he definitely has a favorite side to play.

“I like pitching a lot more. Just because you have control of the game,” Purcell said.

Part of his favoritism for pitching is because he has the ability to affect the game on every pitch when he is on the mound. That is not always the case in the field.

“I think for me it is easier when I am on the mound to be locked in because you are a part of the game every single pitch. When you are playing the field, you will go innings without getting any action, not hitting, not fielding, so it is easier on the mound to just focus more,” Purcell said.

Purcell is hitting .322 in 90 at-bats. Eight of his 29 hits have gone for extra bases, with six doubles, one triple and one homerun. It was his first career homer, and it came at Critchfield Park against Mansfield on April 9.

Being from Holland, Pa., Purcell lived only 30 minutes from Philadelphia, Pa. and grew up watching the Phillies. He modeled his game after two Philadelphia greats.

“For me it is more Aaron Nola, and then Chase Utley I guess for hitting because I grew up watching him,” Purcell said.

This is evident with his hitting approach, as he is a double machine, similar to Utley.

Purcell did not play much as a freshman, only playing in eight games and having six at-bats, where he had one hit against Davis & Elkins College.

Purcell earned his starting spot before his sophomore season where he really broke out. Purcell appeared in 49 games and started all but one. He had a .273 batting average in 121 at-bats. Seven of his 33 hits went for extra bases, as he hit six doubles and one triple.

Purcell has already exceeded his mark for homeruns and matched it for doubles and triples from last year.

Purcell looks to end his junior year strong and lead Slippery Rock into the PSAC tournament and beyond.


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