WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — We continue our exclusive interview with Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter, whose Deacs are coming off a 35-27 season accentuated by their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament under his direction.
Continuing on pitching depth in 2017
Walter: “Yep. We have (Rayne) Supple, (Griffin) Roberts, (John) McCarren, (Donnie) Sellers, (Parker) Dunshee, (Drew) Loepprich and (Connor) Johnstone. That’s seven guys right there without talking about any of the freshmen. There’s six freshmen that all have a legitimate chance to be good, and I think will bump a couple of those guys out of the top seven. If we can have those guys who pitched in our top seven last year to outside the top seven because we have three guys who are better, that’s going to make us a good pitching staff.”
On Chris Farish
Walter: “Chris Farish is a guy I haven’t even mentioned yet, and he had a great summer. He threw a ton of strikes this summer. We’ll see what happens this year, but there were games where he went out in the summer and threw seven innings while walking one. It happened more than once. He’s somebody who could be a Sunday starter. He’s got Friday night stuff and maybe it’s Chris’ time to put it together and become a guy. Now you’re talking about 14 arms competing for eight spots, and there’s three left handers in that group, which is exciting. We’ll have a chance to throw some different looks at people.”
On what is on the itinerary this time of year for the Deacs
Walter: “We have about six weeks of practice. We’ll scrimmage on the weekends. We want to see them compete in the scrimmages. We want to see these freshmen pitchers. Baseball is a sport of repetition. We want as much repetition and as much information now as possible, so when the spring comes it will slow the game down to allow them to make good decisions. The hard part of our sport is that you have to play at a comfortable level. You have to get after it and compete, but you can’t go out there out of control. You have to be in control at all times.
"As we say to our guys: The two things you have to be able deal with are adversity and adrenaline. You have to be able to deal with those things, and that’s what we talk about. We try to put them in those situations where they face adversity. We put them in the Fall World Series, where they’re dealing with adrenaline and get them to understand that we don’t need them to do more, we just need them to do what we’ve trained them to do. To me, that’s the difference and it comes with experience. You see guys like Parker Dunshee, and no stage is too big for that guy. He’s going to make pitches in big situations, then you see other guys who can’t do it. It’s something they have the ability to do, it’s just mentally they aren’t there yet. We take the fall and try to get them there mentally. That’s what the fall is all about."