Broyles battling for playing time

This past summer was littered with quality showings from Ole Miss baseball players, and Wade Broyles had arguably the best of the group. The trick is to now keep that momentum once back in Oxford.

The redshirt sophomore spent his offseason in the Coastal Plain League with the Thomasville HiToms. Broyles where he tossed 25 scoreless innings before allowing a run and finished with a 0.24 ERA through 37.2 innings. He struck out 57 and walked 17 on the summer.

"I was able to get more experience and see that things were working for me," Broyles said. "With your confidence up and your stuff working, it is hard to fail."

The Madison Central product's "stuff" has improved with his fastball now occasionally hitting 90 and his offspeed pitch hovering in the high 70s and low 80s.

"I feel good about the fall," Broyles said. "My fastball and curveball are working, and the velocity and command are good. I'm definitely excited about the possibilities ahead. I'm taking everything from this summer and applying it this fall. Coming out here with a lot of intensity and bringing the same things that I was able to develop. It is all about being around the zone and attacking the zone with every pitch."

This biggest thing from the summer for Broyles was adding confidence thanks to somewhat of a routine and regular outings. After being redshirted in 2006 and only throwing two innings in 2007, the multiple appearances were a welcome change.

"It is always a good thing and a good feeling to come out and throw on a consistent basis," Broyles noted. "Your confidence gets built up, and that is so important on the mound. Confidence makes you think nobody can hit you, and good streaks are the result."

Expectations are accompanying Broyles this fall, but the first couple weeks have been slowed by injury. He has experienced muscle spasms and missed a pitching session because of it. Broyles did get in an outing over the weekend but was roughed up to the tune of nine hits and five runs in three innings pitched.

Even so, it is only October, and Broyles has his goals identified for the season.

"My goal this year is to contribute to the team any way possible. To come out here in a tight situation, hold runners and get off the field, that is what I feel my role should be. It shouldn't be anything less. Just play well and see what happens."

The excitement isn't just on an individual level, but also the prospects of the team as a whole. Competition is all around, and that makes for a deeper, better team when the season begins.

"The chemistry is great, and the thing is, there may not be a set position on this team," Broyles said. "We are intrasquading 10 on 10, and there are possible starters are positions on both sides.

"Competition is so important because a guy isn't just sitting there with the job in hand. They have to work hard, and that will make them better."

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