Around the Bases with Ben Bunting

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- Ben Bunting started every game last season for the Diamond Heels in left field. Inside Carolina caught up with the speedy junior from Randleman, N.C. during the Diamond Heels' fall practice …

Bunting hit .336 in 2009 while being the most difficult Tar Heel to strike out among the nine starters (30 Ks in 274 at bats). He has the highest batting average of the returning players on the roster.

You are one of the more experienced Tar Heels on the roster this fall…
"It is a good experience after coming in after my freshman year - not playing a lot. I was still a bit nervous about playing a whole season, learning all aspects of our game. After the last year I have gained a lot more confidence. I know what to expect now and what to look forward to and I know how hard I have to work and what I have to do to achieve it."

What was it like to go from the College World Series in Omaha straight to the Coastal Plains Copperheads in Asheboro?
"It was a big change going from the ultimate level of the College World Series with all of the fans screaming - the CPL is a great league but the intensity is not the same. It is a lot of fun and the fans are really into it but there is something missing - there is not the same energy."

How hard was it getting into the swing of things with a summer league team that was already under way?
"It is a little challenging, but fortunately for me I had played with the same team two years in a row and we brought back about six to eight of the core guys so I knew a lot of players already. So the returners who were already there introduced me to the new guys so they knew who I was. It was not like I was just showing up. They respected me for that knowing I was not just taking time off."

What aspects have you been working on this fall to prepare for next season?
"I have definitely been working on my arm strength and trying to get my arm strength better. That has always been a weakness of mine so I have been working on a lot of strengthening and stretching exercises to keep my shoulder in shape."

Which of the newcomers in the outfield have caught your eye this fall?
"Brian Goodwin - freshman outfielder. He is really good - has a lot of speed, great arm and a good bat. I think he will come in and do a lot of good things for us this year."

Having lost a lot of players from last year's team to the MLB Draft and graduation, who on this team is stepping up to fill leadership roles?
"Two of our seniors - Michael Cavasinni and Ryan Graepel - are doing a great job as far as position players go. They're making sure everyone stays on top and is working hard. With our pitchers, Matt Harvey is doing a great job keeping the pitchers in line and making sure they are doing what they need to do."

What's it been like having so many newcomers joining the team this fall?
"It is a great experience. It is so much fun to meet all the new players - there are so many different personalities from all over North Carolina and the states. It has been fun to mix and gel with these guys."

What are your thoughts on watching the continued work on the Boshamer project - the graphics going up and all of the little touches that are being worked on?
"It is amazing. We knew it was going to be and Coach told us it was going to be a great place for us to play. Actually to be able to see it and to be able to play here everyday there is something new about it. It is very exciting to see all of this being done for us and helping us have this great facility is a unbelievable feeling."

What's your outlook for the Fall World Series, which starts next week?
"We are very excited and really anxious and there will be a good competition this year, as there are a lot of guys competing for positions."

Inside Carolina Top Stories