Tollackson attracts interest on the diamond

Spencer Tollackson is accustomed to being watched closely by scouts. After all, College Basketball News' choice for the top player in Minnesota has seen many of the top college coaches watching his games at the Nike All-American Camp and national AAU events. However, Tollackson is getting plenty of attention with his baseball exploits this season with his 93 MPH fastball. GoldenSports.Net got a chance to catch up with Tollackson as he pitched against Lake Conference rival Bloomington Jefferson.

Spencer Tollackson pitched five innings, allowing six hits, four runs (two earned) and had five strikeouts and two walks in Chaska's 5-2 loss.


Tollackson pitched in front of Mark Wilson, a scout with the Minnesota Twins, Mike Larson of Major League Scouting and Todd Oakes, the Minnesota Gophers pitching coach.


Tollackson started the game strong, throwing strikes on all pitches in the first inning. He walked the leadoff batter in the second. A ground ball to the second basemen appeared to be ripe for a double play, but a wide relay throw left two men on with no outs. Tollackson struck out the next two batters on curve balls, but a single to left field scored both runners.


Tollackson threw wide to first in the third inning, allowing a base runner. However, he got out off the inning unscathed.


He gave up a lead-off single and walk, and after a sacrifice and pop-up to the catcher a single scored both runners.


Tollackson gave up one hit in the fifth inning before Chaska went to the bullpen.


How did you think you pitched today? You started out pretty strong.


"I thought I had my stuff today. My fastball felt really well. I felt like I had a lot of pop on it. My curveball, I felt like it had a lot of bite. I think that every once and awhile, I just threw a fastball right in their wheel house. Every once and awhile, I threw a bad pitch and they took advantage of it and got a good swing on it.


You got through the first inning, throwing all strikes. Then in the second inning, you had the error that could have been a double play and gotten you out of the inning


Maybe. But, anytime like that, you can not assume that you are going to get the double play. Guys are going to make errors. It was just the timing of the errors today that got us. They had two or three errors, but it did not really hurt them. But what hurt us was that I would walk a guy or they would get a hit and then we would make an error and then they would get some momentum going. You can't blame it on that.


How hard is to switch modes from basketball to baseball?


It is a totally different game and as a pitcher, it is more of a one-on-one type of deal. But, you also have to rely on your teammates a lot. I like the switch. You get out of the gym. The (basketball) season was 18-½ weeks this year. It's nice out and it feels good to get out in the sun. It is a hard transition, but it is a fun one.


Did you bat much at all last year?


No. Not really. Ever since my sophomore year on varsity as a pitcher, coach did not want me to hit because he did not think that I was ready. I kind of lost it a little bit that season. But, I hope to bat a few times this year. I've been doing pretty good in batting practice, getting a lot of good swings, so hopefully I'll get a chance to bat this year.


You have talked about playing both basketball and baseball at the U. Does this get you more excited about that?  


I'm really excited for that. Summer classes start June 14th, so I'll be going down there. Playing with the basketball guys and throwing with the baseball guys. I'm really excited about that.


There were several major league scouts here to see you? Is that something that is obvious to you?


I was not really sure who was here, but I saw my coach talking to them. It is kind of hard to not notice them, but you have to focus, especially if you are a pitcher and make your stuff work.


The Gophers lost a lot of senior leadership and now with Kris Humphries and others leaving, does that get you excited knowing that there is playing time available next season?


It obviously means that that there is a lot more of an opportunity for me to get playing time. It is more of an opportunity for the other people to show what they can do. You don't want to see those kids leave, but in my situation, it is a good opportunity for me. It will probably be me and Jeff (Hagen) down low. Kerry Woolridge and Dan Coleman can play down there, too. But, as physical as I have seen the Big Ten be, Jeff and I will be doing a lot of the work down low.


Have they talked to you about playing the four or five spot? Or are they somewhat interchangeable?


Not really. I think that I'll end up playing the four and the five. I feel confident that if I work hard this summer, that I can play them both.


What kind of things are you doing to get ready for the basketball season?


I go down there pretty much every Saturday and once or twice a week and play pickup games with the guys at the U. Just working out, going to the gym, lifting weights. As soon as baseball is over, I'll start taking basketball more serious










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