WESTFIELD, NJ — What separates great athletes from good athletes is not only skill, but the determination to constantly improve. Great athletes must not only work hard, but to work hard even when it is not asked of them. Perfectly embodying these traits is senior Cory Hiltz,which is why the Westfield High School varsity baseball player is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.

When he was a sophomore, Hiltz was able to demonstrate his pitching talent, catching the eye of Baseball Coach Brewster.

“We saw something in Cory as a sophomore that we thought there was a great amount of potential,” Brewster said. “Number one he was left handed, and he was willing to put the time and effort into being good. In fact, when he was a sophomore, he finished top five all time for Westfield in having the least walks per game.”

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Hiltz’s pitching prowess has carried on with him over the years, where he has been able to provide solid pitches for his team. Recalling a recent performance, Hiltz described how it felt to beat Hunterdon Central, a team ranked fifth in the state.

“I was able to pitch the whole game and we won 7-1,” Hiltz said. “This win really established Westfield as a team to beat this season, and I think it was where we all started to believe in one another.”

According to Brewster, Hiltz is rarely seen idle at practice. Rather, he is always working to improve his game, even to the most minute detail.

“Cory is a pitcher who doesn't swing a bat,” Brewster explained. “So instead of sitting there and just hanging out, he's always on the elastic bands and stretching out. Or, there are many times we’re working on something in practice and he's out there running by himself.”

Coach Brewster credited Hiltz being a role model on the team.

“He's not one who screams and yells, like some leaders on some teams,” Brewster said. “But when other kids see our best pitcher out working on his own all the time, kids say ‘I gotta do that too if I wanna be good,’ and I think it's a good thing for some of the younger players on the team to see your star pitcher not sitting around, being a jerk and hanging around and doing nothing but working hard.”

When asked about what he loved about baseball, Hiltz did not refer to his stats or accolades. Instead, the challenge of the game and being able to represent his hometown was what Hiltz was fondest of.

“Baseball is appealing to me because so many kids think it's such an easy sport,” Hilz said. “You just take a bat and hit a ball. But it's not. In fact, it's one of the hardest sports to play and I take pride in the fact that I have the ability to play this sport in a town like Westfield.”

Daniel Han is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.

The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 15 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.