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Van Horn Swatter’s Club quotes

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Van Horn Swatter’s Club quotes

On the fall season…"We had a lot of new players and had to do a lot of teaching in the fall. When you have nine new pitchers, eight or nine position players that are all new, it’s interesting. I can honestly admit that this fall was more fun than the last two. Last fall, we knew who was going to play. We knew that we had (Zack) Cox at third, James (McCann) was going to catch, (Andy) Wilkins at first and (Bo) Bigham at second. We had two kids, (Tim) Carver and Matt Reynolds playing, battling for short. In the outfield we had Collin Kuhn, we had Brett Eibner and had one position open. The pitching was pretty set except for a couple of new guys and their roles. This fall it was all about details. It was about teaching. We had to experiment with guys as far as going for starters and relievers and flip-flopping in our scrimmages. There was a lot of evaluating and trying to get things figured out in our short period of time that we get in the fall to practice. I thought it went well. What we did was we worked on a lot of defense and a lot of small ball. Offensively, we worked on moving runners and situational type hitting. We knew what we had to do before and we had to make some adjustments. The fall ball was fun for the coaches. Really, every day meant so much with the time that we had with these guys. We had a lot of guys come in here right out of high school that they’re the big fish and they come in here, they are the little fish. They have to learn how to handle it mentally and physically. They’re trying to go to school, their social life, trying to make new friends, trying to get to know the other guys on the team and it’s very tough. We had some guys who have had good days but they have some bad days as well. I thought that our older players, James (McCann), DJ (Baxendale) and some of the other guys, did a great job helping these guys and getting them around a little bit and console them a little bit when things didn’t go well. One day they’re thinking they are going to start and the next day they are thinking, ‘I don’t know if I’m good enough to make the team’ because that’s what they deal with at 18 and the first time to maybe fail a little bit. It was good. I really appreciate the older guys handling that stuff in the locker room and on the field."

On the time between the end of fall practice and Christmas break…"After fall ball we went and used the weight room pretty heavily. We had a lot of young guys that needed to get stronger. We did have a few injuries in the fall. We had some minor surgeries. I won’t go through all of them, but as of now, knock on wood, everybody’s healthy. We were pretty beat up down the stretch last year and we had some guys, first year, who got through it but right now I feel like we’re pretty healthy. We brought a couple of kids in who were injured that are getting over some things. The scale of instruction that we brought in from late October until Christmas break, I though it went well. I think we got a lot done. The weather was great in the fall compared to the year before. The year before, it was brutal because it was raining. This year we got to stay on track and really stay with the program that we put together. I guess overall, I’m really excited about the work that we got done in the fall. I don’t know if it could have been a whole lot better so we have no excuses, right? Except that maybe we’re all so young, but we have a lot of good talent so those young guys are really going to pick up where some guys left off last year and kind of the tradition some of the younger players, getting them in the line-up early. I think that you can win with them. We proved that in 2009. We had a freshman catcher with a freshman third baseman; a couple of freshmen on the mound and we wouldn’t have got to Omaha without them."

On the recruiting class that signed in the fall…"We had a really good recruiting class. We came within about six days of bringing in maybe one of the top classes in the country. We kind of got hammered that last week. We lost three quality pitchers. They were all overpaid for what they were supposed to get for their slot in the draft and you have to be happy for them. That’s what we deal with. We made up for it a little bit by signing a few more kids that are high school seniors right now. We signed seven pitchers in the fall. I call it two and a half catchers because one of them is a first baseman and a catcher. We have five infielders and really only one straight-up outfielder. We went all over the place. Obviously Arkansas, we went to Arizona and got a kid, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado and the great state of Wyoming. We got one out of there and it might be hard getting him to school but he’s a great student so we’re hoping we can get him. "

On the team’s performance in the classroom in the fall…"I did want to mention this too about our team in the fall. They did a great job in the classroom and as a team I think we had a 3.02 grade point average."

On the new bats…"The bats have a lot less pop this year. I just feel really fortunate that we have some young guys in the program that can run and recruited some players a couple of years ago and last year that can run because we knew the bats were going to be modified. I don’t feel like we sat back and tried to out think everyone. They are a little more heavy on the barrel. Are they more powerful than a wood bat? I think a little bit. The sweet spot on these is smaller than on a wood bat. The Easton bats do sound more like wood. The Nike bats or some of the other bats ping louder than ever."



Sports Category : Baseball