On Practice Effort
"The effort has been great. It really has. I couldn't be happier. I think we've had one subpar day out of 20, and I think that was a Monday. That's pretty good."
Alan Luckie: "Even on that day, they really only started off sluggish and we got them out of it in about 20 minutes. The effort and the tempo has been great. You sit down and plan out practice based on the amount of time it usually takes to go through drills. This fall, every time I look down we're five minutes ahead of schedule and that's because of the effort. They're getting all of their work in. They just get after it and get it done ahead of schedule."
"Everyone is so new, it's hard to have guys step up really, until the chemistry develops more. But we made a concerted effort in recruiting to bring in the right type of player, on and off the field. Players who are goal oriented, self motivated, dedicated, who want to work hard, get better and, above all, win. We have a couple of guys who can get vocal, but so far we haven't really needed anyone to step forward because as a team the effort has been so good."
Alan Luckie: "I was a little concerned about leadership because of all the roster turnover. It was the only thing I addressed in the first meeting. I told them we have so many new players, that no one has time to be the new guy and spend all fall getting settled in. And to their credit, they've all jumped right in and responded."
Junior pitcher Chris Doyle (Panhandle Conference Fireman of the Year Award winner in 2010) had minor shoulder surgery after his season and should be back this spring.
Junior pitcher Tyler Huffer had surgery to repair an abdominal injury.
Junior pitcher Jaron Cito has had some elbow inflammation, but he's throwing now and feels good.
Junior pitcher Dillon Buhrkul had Tommy John surgery last spring but will be back in the spring.
Freshman pitcher Josh McCarron was shutdown early this fall with shoulder soreness.
Returning Players Looking Good
"Brad Hook is swinging the bat well.
Phillip Byrd has been solid in every outing and has a 1.33 ERA in 12 innings.
Jordan Patterson did not pitch last year as a freshman, but he's between 88 and 91 mph and has pitched extremely well.
Nolan Early had a great summer in the Prospects League and works constantly on his hitting. He should have a big year."
"Reliever Jamie Dennis has allowed 1 run in 12 innings.
Dustin (Bones) Dalken is hitting .390 and has good at bat after good at bat. He's pretty good around the bag, too.
Freshman Colin Bray is hitting .360 and playing a good center field. He's an athlete. Between he and JP (Jordan Patterson) and Austin Curtis we have three guys who can get it done defensively in CF.
J.T Files and Drew Cofield are probably the best pair of catch and throw guys I've had in 18 years. They can both shut down the running game.
Juniors Payton Gardner (RHP), Kyle Bartsch (LHP) and Andrew Fonzi (LHP) have all pitched well.
Freshman lefty James Traylor has really held his own. He's given up 5 runs in 11 innings, but three of those can in one outing. His other outings have been quality."
Competition for Spots
Alan Luckie: "We have really good depth right now. Depth with solid players. Right now we have 3 guys who can play short, 2 guys who can play third, 2 guys who can play second and 3 guys who can play first. It's the best depth we've had in a while. We've had some situations in the past where one guy goes down and we have to shuffle a couple of guys around, or bring in a bullpen pitcher to play third. Right now, we're in a much better position."
Pitching Staff Roles
"I have pretty good idea of who can be starters. We have some guys who can control the zone and manage the (other team's) line-up to get us 5 or 6 innings. The key innings are 7-8-9. Of course, 7-8-9 don't mean anything if you don't get to them, but if you have the lead you have to be able to close the last couple of innings. We have some arms and I'm starting to get a feel for those guys. We'll get those late inning roles figured out. JD (Jamie Dennis) will be one of those late inning guys. 16 saves is 16 saves. It doesn't matter what league you're in or if you throw 96 or 82, as long as you get it done. JD is one of those guys who just gets it done. He's mid 80's with some deception and some movement and he's a bulldog."
Alan Luckie: "He also fields his position well and controls the running game."
Mark Calvi: "As a staff, our strikeout-to-walk ratio this fall has been really good."
Alan Luckie: "And we're getting the leadoff hitter out. With these bats, if you can get the leadoff hitter and control the running game late in the ball game, you're going to be tough."
*You can catch the 3-game Fall World Series at Stanky Field*
Friday, October 28th, 3:30 pm
Saturday, October 29th, 11:00 am
Sunday, October 30th, 12:30 pm
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