Four Weeks In
The University of Louisville baseball team has completed four weeks of the six week long fall ball and head coach Dan McDonnell has been pleased with the competitive nature during the practices and scrimmages.
“We're getting to see a little bit of everything,” said McDonnell. “The good, the bad and the ugly, but that's what the fall is for – to see a bunch of different situations and making sure guys are getting in the right spot. They are definitely competing and definitely playing hard, but there are some fundamental errors that we have to improve on.”
The weeks during fall ball allows for the opportunity to try players at multiple positions on the field and sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.
“You have to do that,” McDonnell explained. “Sometimes it makes for an ugly inning in the scrimmages, but you'll never know unless you put a guy in a different position.”
With seven players gone from last season's team that finished 50-17 and a talented freshman class joining the 19 returning veterans, the process of the rebuilt squad coming together is an important one.
“This group has gotten along very well,” McDonnell said. “The younger guys stepped right in and respected the culture that we have here and the older guys have been leading, and that's just not Sutton, Lucas, White and Rosenbaum, it's also the group of sophomores. I think the continuity has been really smooth, so far, so I've been pleased with that.”
The 2014 recruiting class was another top 25 group for the U of L program and they are making their presence felt during the Cardinals fall ball workouts.
Catcher Colby Fitch, a product of Rocheport, Mo., is leading the way for the freshman at the plate, hitting hitting .500 (7-for-14) with a home run, two triples, one double and two RBI through five scrimmages. Brendan McKay of Beaver Falls, Penn., who plays first base and pitches, has also been hot at the plate this fall, hitting 5-for-11 (.455) with four RBI.
Drew Ellis, Austin Clemons, Grant Schreiver, Devin Hairston are also among the talented group of position players that are playing well both in the field and hitting well at the plate.
With the loss of two experienced catchers from a year ago, sophomore Will Smith has been thrust into a leadership role.
“I definitely have the most experience of all the guys,” Smith said. “I'm constantly telling the guys things and sharing what the two guys from last year told me. I think it helps them a lot and it acutally helps me, too.”
Smith has been one of the top performers at the plate this fall as well, hitting .375 (6-for-16) with six RBI, two triples and one double in five games.
Following their fall break, the team return to practice with scrimmages scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
The Cardinals are also tentatively scheduled to conclude fall workouts the week of Oct. 13-18 with the annual Pizza Bowl series. Specific dates and times for the Pizza Bowl will be announced soon.