Greetings College Baseball Fans,
The Concordia Golden Bear baseball team has been hard at work since my last post. We have been working extensively on both our team defensive strategies (bunt defenses, first-and-third scenarios, and situational defense), as well as getting our pitchers and catchers live appearances against one another.
We have been utilizing our new practice home in the Concordia Dome at Sea Foam Stadium (right) to set up a full size infield and take ground balls on the turf. Coaches have also been able to hit fungo fly balls to our outfielders in the 65 foot high dome.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we do a lot of live throwing pitchers versus hitters in our pole barn indoor facility. The pole barn has three clay mounds, and we are able to have pitchers throw to hitters to simulate game like situations.
We are starting to use this time to set up our pitching staff for our 10-day spring break trip to Orlando, Florida. During that trip we play eight games in the span of eight days. Theoretically we should use six different starting pitchers on the trip. Because of that we have started to extend out our pitchers. Our four returning weekend starters have now reached the 70 pitch plateau having thrown 5 innings worth of 15 pitches this week. We have also extended two younger pitchers to this 5×15 mark to prepare them for possible starts in Florida.
Myself, I have been extended to throw 3×15 on three occasions now. My last outing was my best session as a Concordia Golden Bear. I threw 3×15 (48 pitches in total after finishing the at-bat of the last hitter faced) for 73% strikes. I have been throwing mostly cut-fastballs (“cutters”), while also mixing in four-seam fastballs, change-ups, and curveballs. The cutter has started to develop as my primary weapon, and throwing that for strikes will be a major factor in my success this spring.
My group, which will start the season coming out of the bullpen stretched out to 3×15 to help get through the “dead arm” period that most pitchers experience as they prepare for the season. Major League pitchers go through this in spring training, so this is our version of spring training. When pitchers velocities start to go up as they get through this dead arm period we will start to do more role specific sessions. My arm seems to be getting over that dead arm period based on velocity. I had been throwing my first few sessions with my four-seam fastball at roughly 76-79mph, but in my last appearance I saw a spike up to 82mph, including my 48th pitch of the outing which was gunned at 82.
With that being the case my next few sessions will probably be more tailed to my role as a left-handed reliever with more frequent outings throwing anywhere from 3×15, 2×15, or 1×20 depending on which type of preparation our coaches want the relievers to focus on that particular day. This type of preparation should give our pitching staff the best chance to succeed early on in the season, as well as getting our hitters a jump start on seeing live pitching before they step up to the plate in a game.
Our pitching staff is looking better than ever with all of our probable starters throwing quality strikes and perfecting their pitches before we head to Florida, and our bullpen guys getting comfortable with their workloads and roles. As we start the season I expect guys to get comfortable in their roles and their arms to strengthen and to see a spike in velocity as we move into our conference series.
The season is now just three weeks away. All the guys on the team and the coaching staff are definitely getting anxious to put the uniforms on and take on another team. We start our season on March 5th in Orlando against nationally ranked West Chester (PA) University (17th nationally in the latest CB Lineup Poll). We expect tough competition in Florida, but we have high expectations and expect to be competitive on all levels this season. WCU is just the first of multiple nationally ranked teams on our schedule, including conference rivals Minnesota State-Mankato and St. Cloud University who are ranked 12th and 25th in the nation respectively.
A shout out to my summer teammate on the Kamuela Paniolos of the Hawaiian Collegiate League, Dan Simmons who threw a complete game for UC San Diego (#1 ranked by CB Lineup) in their opening weekend sweep of Western Oregon, and also my summer roommate in Hawaii, Josh Hinkle of Florida Tech (#22) who hit .500 in their opening series.
March 4th and 5th two of my summer roommates in Hawaii square off when Kyle Dyer (Drury University (MO) travels to play the previously mentioned Hinkle and his Florida Tech team. I will definitely have to give a little report on that match up, especially if Dyer, a pitcher, faces Hinkle, an outfielder.
As for the Concordia Golden Bears, we will continue to prepare for WCU and the rest of our 2011 schedule!
-Go Golden Bears-