The opening day of 2013 kick-off was better than I expected. Those approximately 21-22 players, (17 returners from last year, 2 former players and one new player) who braved the early chilly temperatures made the best of a less than ideal baseball day. But as the activities progressed, everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to field some flies and grounders, swing at some pitches and see their fellow H.D.L. enthusiasts.
Several players who stood out were:
Tim Wallenstrom was diving for line drives and making several running catches in the outfield. At bat, he took Nick Harris to deep left field and stung the baseball with authority. Tim is “baseball ready.”
Overall, the most impressive hitter was DJ Clark. DJ was putting on an exhibition of how to stroke the baseball. Numerous line drives and deep crushes to RIGHT field. In the field, DJ snared a vicious line drive off the bat of Andrew Waddell that DJ speared with nonchalance. Da-duh Dant, Da-duh Dant!
James Skinner was late arriving but quickly showed how a veteran and talented baseball player makes the most of his time on the field. At B.P., James hit “gappers” to left and right that could have easily become doubles, if we were running out each hit. James also toed the rubber to get some work to loosen up his arm for next week.
Former H.D.L. players, Mark Jackson and Chris Hughes showed their love of baseball was as strong as ever. However, both showed the need to knock off the rust to be ready for the level of baseball the H.D.L. is currently playing. But these talented veterans love a challenge and are expected to make some H.D.L. team a lot better when they are available to play weekly games.
New player, Cleve McClendon, friend of Nick Harris, showed he has good skills to become a good H.D.L. player, once he re-adjusts to playing baseball. Like many of us, Cleve has stayed in shape playing softball but knows hitting a baseball has it’s challenges. During Cleve’s second round of batting practice he showed how quickly he adjusted as he 2 out of 3 shots to the outfield that showed he was quickly starting to time the ball better.
We kept the practice short to avoid any extra strain to players arms and legs that may have fatigued by the cool temperatures. I know for myself, that as the practice lingered on, I started to feel soreness in my arm. I stressed to all players prior to the work-out that all players should concentrate on only using 50% – 70% of their best efforts. (Of course, Tim Wallenstrom was “balls to the walls” in his actions. I am just glad he didn’t leave injured today.)
Next week we will do more of the same. Anticipating many more players showing up, who did not show today, we will split into 3 or 4 squads and rotate between: At Bat, In the Field, of In the Batting Cage, to keep the flow moving and allowing players to work on their individual skills.
If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment on the Blog.
Note: Next week I am (LR) leaving for Spring Break with my family and will not be at practice. I will return before next Sunday’s pre-draft practice on March 17th. Jocko,and Bo will handle organizational duties for next Sunday’s workout. We ask all “NEW” players to sign-in on our sign-up sheet to give us their: Name, Phone Number and Email address.
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