With all that went on last week, it was nice to have a week of workouts and practice that was more business as usual.
Our practices worked like they have been since we got back from Christmas break in January. We were able to get outside for about a half an hour on Wednesday. The temperature went up to a “scorching” 38 degrees which was good enough for us to plow off part of the football field and get some outdoor work in. Infielders and outfielders were able to field fly balls and get reads off the bat which was something they really have not been able to do in our indoor practices.
Since we leave this week for our first games, off the field preparation is becoming more and more important. Things like creating scouting reports and finalizing hotel reservations makes the start of the season seem more real. This friday we head to Louisville, Kentucky to play four games, two against Davis and Elkins College on saturday and two against Alderson-Broaddus University. Both teams are from West Virginia and play in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
When we create scouting reports for teams, we do not have the luxury of having our opponents on tape like MLB teams do. Instead we have to go off of game reports, box scores, and past experience if we have played them before. When we play games, guys who are not playing are staying mentally active by keeping charts on the other team. We keep charts on everything such as catchers’ pop times, pitchers’ times to the plate, what kind of pick off plays they run, how often they run them, etc. It is also easier to do spray charts and observations on how teams play defensively and where their strong arms are in the field when you can watch first hand.
If we are playing a team we have never faced before, which is the case when we play Davis and Elkins on saturday, we have to rely on information that we find online or other teams’ scouting reports if they are willing to share that information. Even though we cannot see some teams play in person we can still get a pretty good idea of their strengths and weaknesses offensively and defensively. We can still create spray charts, figure out if pitchers are strike throwers or not, get a gauge of team speed based on how much they bunt or steal, etc.
It is awesome having all of this information on the other team going into a game as a pitcher. To me it’s a relief knowing that the coaches and the catcher know the scouting report and have a good idea on what pitches to call to guys in their lineup. It takes a lot of stress off the pitcher and allows us to focus on throwing our pitches with a purpose and holding runners. This week we will be doing the scouting reports for the teams we play this weekend in order to be totally prepared for them.
Be sure to check in next week on Monday to read how the first games of the season went!
To catch up with Shane’s journal on Hillsdale College’s baseball team and their preparation for the upcoming season, you can now!