Fall Camp Complete

Dave Schrage's first fall baseball camp wrapped up Sunday afternoon, with the Gold beating the Blue, 8-3, to take two out of three in the series.

The Irish skipper was pleased with the progress his team made over the two-week period, but realizes there is much more teaching to be done with his young team.

"Overall this fall, the things we were focusing on pitching and defense, I thought this weekend, and looking at the first two games, were kind of what we were looking for," Schrage explained. "Today we hit the ball better, but I didn't think we played defense to end the fall season and that's one of the areas we've been focusing on and obviously we have to keep working at it. Overall it's been a good fall."

Like Schrage said, the Irish kicked it around a bit on Sunday (five combined errors), but the team also displayed some power. For the Gold, freshman third baseman A.J. Pollock had three hits including a two-run homer to straight away centerfield, and four runs batted in en route to fall series MVP honors. In the three games, Pollock had five hits in eight at-bats with the home run and five RBIs.

Freshman catcher Ryan Smith also homered Sunday at Frank Eck Stadium, joining his classmate as the only two Irish players to leave the yard this fall.

Gold starter Brett Graffy threw pretty well in five innings of work. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out six, allowing two earned runs on two hits while walking four.

Blue starter Eric Maust, who also punts on the football team, was knocked around in two-plus innings of work. He gave up five runs, four earned on seven hits with two strikeouts. Pollock's homer in the third inning put the Gold up 5-2 and sent Maust to the showers. Splitting time with football, Maust hasn't been able to put in the same amount of work as the other pitchers and has lost velocity on his fastball.

The trio of Ryne Intlekofer, Danny Dressman and Pollock put the Gold in command and control for good.

Tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the third, the Gold batted around to take a 5-2 lead. Dressman doubled in the right-center field gap scoring Intlekofer who led off the inning with a single. Dressman scored on Pollock's bomb.

The following frame off pitcher Andrew Scheid, Dressman's triple scored Intlekofer who singled again to lead off the inning. Pollock singled in Dressman and was later plated by a Tony Langford single.

Kyle Weiland relieved Graffy and struck out four over the last two innings to secure the win.

Pollack's RBI single in the first started the scoring. Smith homered in the second.

The Blue got two back in the third when Billy Boockford's ground ball was booted by Intlekofer at second, allowing Will Hartford and David Mills to score.

In the top of the fourth, catcher Sean Gaston walked and came around later to score on a Graffy wild pitch in the fourth inning, making the score 5-3.

Schrage had a few pleasant surprises this fall.

"I think the emergence of A.J. Pollock, he's done a great job as a freshman," he said. "I think we have more pitching depth than I thought coming in. Some guys have really emerged, Graffy was one of them. (Joey) Williamson, (David) Phelps, (Sam) Elam have all thrown the ball really well."

The fall was also beneficial for putting in the baseball plays Schrage likes to run, and it also gave him and his staff an opportunity to get to know his players better.

"I still think it's an ongoing process and we still have work to do before we get into the spring time," Schrage said.

During the winter, the team can meet two hours a week to practice baseball related activities and can condition for another six hours.

"We will get in the weight room heavy and try to get our guys bigger and stronger coming into the spring."

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