NOTE: Taylor Sandefur's blog today is the first of our Taylor vs. Taylor segment this spring as we will have dueling blogs with Sandefur and softball's Taylor Sigmon. This should be fun. Sigmon's blog is scheduled to post Thursday night.
Why, hello there Catamount Baseball lovers. Taylor Sandefur from your WCU baseball team here.
At the time I write this, we are just three days away from Friday - also known as Opening Day. "Fortress Cullowhee" will be in full effect. I am going to update you on how things are going with the baseball team and what we have been up to since last Wednesday.
On Thursday, Jan. 31st, we had weights at 7:30 am. Four of us, myself included, had class at 8:00 am, so we had to do our weight lifting after we got out of class. Later on we had a 30-minute practice and it was all defensive work. We were saving our hours up for the weekend intrasquads. It was similar to our individual work where the outfielders went off and did their fly ball communication and worked on getting reads of the bat while the catchers, infielders, and pitchers did our defensive work together.
Friday, we started the day off right getting strong in the weight room. In an unofficial poll that I did - with no scientific research and or surveys to back up this information - I found out that we are the strongest team in the country. We had practice at 2:45 that afternoon. We started with our team stretch, got loose, did our team defense, pick plays, first and thirds, bunt defense, and then took batting practice. During "BP," some of the pitchers got bullpens in and long toss to prepare for the upcoming weekend.
The weekend that was suppose to be full of us playing got interesting quick. We did our pre-game in-and-out and started playing. Sophomore Jeremy Null and junior Jordan Smith took the ball first. They were looking good out of the gate. I remember vividly: I was sitting in the dugout attempting to stay warm while doing my duty of foul ball manager - which consists of telling people to go get the foul balls while I sat by the heater - and looked over at one of my teammates, also known as Jonathan "the Flamingo" Nadale. I said, "Flamingo, is that snow?"
Sure enough, it was snow. It began coming down pretty hard and before you know it, we had to end practice because we couldn't see the ball. Believe it or not, a white ball in white snow is pretty tough to see. Sunday also was a wash because of the lovely blanket of snow that we received from Mother Nature.
Monday (Feb. 4) we hit the weight room as usual at 7:30 am. We had practice that afternoon. We got out to the field on our own, stretched and prepared for an upcoming intrasquad on our own. We had in-and-out at 4:15 pm and first pitch was at 4:30. As expected, we looked tremendous. A few standouts for me were Nadale and sophomore Tyler Powell on the bump. They had all their pitches working and filled up the zone getting guys out. From the offensive side, senior Tyler White hit a homerun which is impossible to defend; redshirt freshman Austin Neary hit the ball hard and collected a few knocks as usual; and junior Luke Gragg got a couple of hits, too.
Tuesday (Feb. 5) was similar to Monday. We stretched and threw, had a little meeting and had a situational intrasquad. Senior Preston Hatcher and I started the intrasquad, throwing an inning apiece. Transfer John McClure and sophomore William Frazier took the mound after us and threw two innings. Mound work continued with freshmen Jonathan Waszak and Thomas Young taking the ball last and throwing three innings.
The biggest thing that stuck out from Tuesday's intrasquad was that Waszak had a huge strikeout. He punched out Luke Gragg to end his unbelievable streak of 111 at bats through the fall and spring practices without a strikeout... Luke is an absolute stud. Reece Strong had a great day with a two RBI single and a double to center. Junior left-hander Dykota Spiess also hit the ball sound, too.