The junior catcher turned his solid late weekend offense into a certifiable torrid streak on Tuesday with a 3-4 day, including a double that broke open the floodgates in a 15-4 Rebel victory over Northwestern State.
Basham began the season 0-7, but the Knoxville Tenn., native has rebounded quite nicely with a 6-8 clip that was catapulted by a grand slam Saturday against Minnesota. During the cold streak, Basham and Reinstetle, the Ole Miss hitting coach, discussed pitch selection, and how waiting for fastballs is the way to go.
"I am just trying to swing at a lot better pitches," Basham said. "I diagnosed the problem with Coach Rob during the slow start. I was swinging at breaking balls in the dirt and just really didn't have a clue what I was doing up there.
"Your chances of getting hits are better when dealing with fastballs. He told me to leave the breaking ball alone."
While the coaching paid dividends, Basham also resorted to a little artificial help before the season. The results thus far would make for a first-rate commercial campaign.
Basham acquired a set of MAXSIGHT contact lenses last season that are developed by Nike and Bausch & Lomb to increase contrast and eliminate glare. The contacts allow hitters to pick up the type of pitch headed their way. After not using them until the summer, Basham is now comfortable with the optical assistance.
"I had them last year and never wore them. I didn't like them at the time but wore them over the summer and got used to them. I wear them all the time now. You can see the ball. It turns the sky yellow, but the ball stays lighter somehow. It really helps in picking up pitches."
The climax of this turnaround was the grand slam, the second home run of his career, which picked up his spirits and served as a definitive step in the right direction.
"That hit really gave me a lot of confidence," Basham said. "It was something I really needed and got me over the hump."
Against the Demons, Basham laced a second-inning double down the left-field line that was the largest blow of the Rebels' 6-run second inning. He finished with two runs and a pair of RBI.
"Basham had a great day at the plate, including the double that was the big hit to break it open. He has shortened his swing and is seeing the ball well."
Seeing it well.
With some help from his coaches and a set of contacts.
Contacts Improve Contact for Catcher
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