Why hello there, loyal Catamount Baseball followers and/or lovers. Sorry for the blog entry being a day later than normal, but in order for me to keep up my image as the perfect model for a student-athlete, I have to do my work.
It's not easy being such a virtuous student, constantly striving for perfection, while doing the exact same thing on the bump. Someone has to do it. Let's get to the heart of the matter and talk about this past week for the Catamounts.
As normal, we had Monday off. Tuesday and Wednesday, we got out on the field and had a noble, crisp practice. We are still in the process of teaching our system into the new players so we insure that every day. Once we have accomplished that, we then split into pitchers and position players.
Our position players get nice and limber for the robust activities that they are about to endure. The position players' work on their defense extremely hard because defense wins championships - and that's what the Cats are all about. Also, they have to perfect their swing because three-run jilly-jacksons (also known as homeruns) win games.
We pitchers break off as a unit and do our band work to protect the rocket like arms that we possess, get loose and start perfecting our craft of slicing and dicing the opposing hitters. Our guys get out there and long toss, throw flat ground bullpens, short boxes and scripted bullpens.
A short box is a bullpen that is off the mound, but the catcher isn't 60-feet, 6-inches away. A scripted pen is a bullpen that has every pitch we have to throw and when to throw it. Coach Moranda composes these and they are designed to be very challenging so that when the season rolls around, we can dominate.
Thursday, we improved our knowledge of our system briefly as we went over our pick plays, rundowns, and first and third situations. Then we had an abbreviated game.
John McClure, Hunter Brister, Adam Curtis and Jonathan Nadale toed the rubber for the pitchers. Intra-squad games are always bittersweet. If the hitters do well, that means the pitchers didn't do so hot and vice versa. McClure - or Peter LaFluer from Average Joes Gymnasium as we like to call him - looked good but was a little erratic and had some walks. No one hit him hard and he managed to battle through it without a lot of damage done. Seniors Adam Curtis and Hunter Brister both looked good with their pinpoint control.
Jonathan Nadale had to battle in the first. His stuff looked good, but he was up in the zone. Junior infielder Aaron Attaway hit an elevated change up down the right field line while a few other guys sprinkled some singles in here and there off the other guys as well. The second inning, Nadale came out and was very distinct. He was putting his fastball where he wanted and forcing guys to swing the bat. The one pitch that stuck out was a slider that he dropped his arm angle a little and it was filthy getting a swing and miss to end his outing.
Friday was a very short, hour and fifteen minute practice. We split up right off the bat and went over our individual defense work. We came back together, did our system as a team, then "27 outs" to end the practice. Twenty-seven outs are how many outs a team has to get to win a baseball game. Considering the fact that defense wins championships, we take this to heart. Sure enough, we dominated it and got 27 outs with ZERO errors. Our fielders are such studs.
It was time to play ball on Saturday and Sunday.
We took our pregame infield outfield first thing on Saturday and then we started the game. We were split into two teams. Team Alpha Johnson was my team, naturally, hand-picked by our assistant coach, Bruce Johnson. Team Johnson was also hand- picked by our volunteer assistant coach - and former WCU pitcher - Brandon Johnson.
The two teams were picked via draft style. They went back and forth picking players. The hitters tore it up on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Austin Neary looked really upright, as he has all fall, scorching balls all over the field. Attaway followed suit by hitting a homerun. Bryant Noteboom squared the ball up a few times, as well as Bradley Strong.
On the mound, Jacob Hoyle, Danny Schneider, William Frazier, Dillion Bray, Colton Davis and Bryce Danielson all threw. Danielson and Davis looked the sharpest in my opinion. They were throwing a bushel of low strikes and getting the hitters to swing the bat furthermore getting outs. Team Alpha Johnson pulled out the victory.
Sunday was a different story. The pitchers did a really good job of limiting the hitters to mostly singles and a few doubles hear and there. Attaway again hit a homerun - the stud. Noteboom hit a double off the left center wall that was absolutely hammered and Neary continued to swing a hot bat. Jeremy Null, Jordan Smith, Waszack, Schneider, Alex Barr, Danielson and Preston Hatcher took the mound. Overall, everyone preformed exceedingly well. It was tremendous seeing both the position players and the pitchers have good days.
We are continuing to work hard and strive for excellence to bring home a ring to Fortress Cullowhee. The Left Field Lunatics would be so proud of us. That's it for now. Check in next week to catch up on what the Catamount Baseball team is getting into.
P.S. - Shout out to Ryan Kontra, a Mechanicsville native as well, for his inspiration and motivation.