Sports notebook: Fall ball draws to a close today
With the advent of the somewhat chilly November weather, the baseball team's fall practices end today. While starting spots up for grabs on both the mound and the field will likely not be solidified until the team starts workouts again in January, the coaching staff will look at the stats produced in fall ball as an indicator of who could bring the most pop to the lineup or the most power from the mound. Of the hurlers, several players stand out as having improved remarkably since last spring. Junior Matthew Reckling has improved his control to a large extent, allowing four hits in five innings of work on Monday to go along with five strikeouts and just one walk. His fastball has been clocked consistently in the mid-90s, and his curve ball has remained solid. Fellow junior Taylor Wall additionally threw four scoreless innings on Monday, marking a strong finish for him.
It appears freshmen John Simms, Austin Kubitza and Kyle Mueller are all ready to play meaningful roles, with Kubitza being the most effective with his control. Mueller pitched 3.1 hitless innings on Oct. 28, demonstrating his viability as well.
Offensively, junior Jeremy Rathjen appears poised for a breakout season after hitting his third home run of the fall on Sunday. The shortstop position remains neck and neck, but freshman Derek Hamilton has slightly outhit classmate Shane Hoelscher. The right field spot is more complicated, with Head Coach Wayne Graham wishing to fill the spot with a left-handed bat such as junior Ryan Lewis or freshman Keenan Cook. But junior Daniel Gonzales-Luna hit safely in five consecutive scrimmages, putting him in the position of being a top candidate for the designated hitter's spot.
- Jonathan Myers
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