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Baseball, Player Profile | May 28, 2013

Baseball Spotlight for 2014 Season

The ReSporter will now attempt to put a Spotlight on who might be that player that could help get this Hawk team to the playoffs this coming season.

Once again, there might be a change of strategy, as stated in a previous article, on how many different skill sets is required with baseball.

The ReSporter would like to name three Spotlights based on three different aspects or ingredients needed to attempt in having a solid ball club.

As mentioned previously, a team could have the best pitcher in district but that would not matter if that team could not produce at the plate offensively or in a fielders case, can’t get those three outs needed.

So our three players to put a spotlight on will revolve around 1) Defense, 2) Offense and 3) Pitching.

DEFENSE:

Many baseball experts will always mention being strong up the middle is a key for having a good defensive unit.

The ReSporter would like to throw this spotlight on T. J. Jones.

Jones has been leading the troops these past two years and will now go into his senior season with a boat load of confidence.

Jones has been holding down 2nd base and stats are not as forthcoming, but other coaches from district have mentioned of how they admire this young man in the field.

In fact, Jones made First Team All-District 2nd Baseman and that was not based on his bat but his glove.

This is not to throw water on his batting but The ReSporter also feels Jones might start getting more at bats this coming season.

When asked during this year’s end of year banquet for Jones to stand by Coach Dunavant it was evident that this soon to be Senior has started his growth spurt and that gives more chances to see Jones being able to contribute in more areas besides just fielding.

Other players that The ReSporter gave consideration to was J. J. Nance.

Nance made All-District First Team in the outfield. This award just says outfield but Nance was the right fielder and he might be making a case for having an opportunity to play centerfield next year.

That would certainly put a spotlight on Nance as that position can save a lot of runs in a contest by having to chase down balls in a lot of real-estate.

How bout Peyton Sipila, who showed up and contributed in a big way in the infield. Sipila was recognized by the Hawks as best defensive player.

J. J. Nance at the Plate

J. J. Nance at the Plate

Injuries forced Coach Dunavant in having to move several players during this season and Sipila certainly helped glue down short stop for the Hawks.

Garrett Winters and Corey Shedrock were those two players that will be fun to see this next season as they will give Coach Dunavant more infield depth.

Defensively, Canyon Lake will have some important holes to fill in Centerfield and Catcher.

With Catcher being that position that will help balance how this team might fare this coming season.

So, another Defensive Spotlight is certainly on that player to take this position. However, The ReSporter knows that a fierce competition will commence after the bell rings for a player to take that position.

OFFENSE:

This becomes a little more of a number crunching decision as your major reason for picking who is in a lineup….based on how well a coach thinks this player will do with the bat.

Canyon Lake lost some power and average with seniors graduating.

The two more powerful hitters will not be in next year’s lineup and knowing that someone who

T.  J. Jones All-District Second Baseman

T. J. Jones All-District Second Baseman getting baserunner out at Third Bsse

can put a ball in a gap or over a fence will certainly be an important rally contributor.

This will be a year where many of those Sophomores will start to catch up to pitching. This past season, many of those younger players had been playing against pitchers that had been more physical simply based on being older.

Canyon Lake has been behind in this area for the past three years. The Hawks did catch up some this past season with enough seniors to give the pitching staff a few more runs to play with.

However, these past two seasons two district teams were playing with exclusively seniors on their team. Two years ago it was Bandera and you saw what happened to that team after all those players were gone.

Bandera did not win a district game. Were they just that bad, or was it a case of having so many young players that they were being beaten by older and players that had been around the bases a few times.

This year, Navarro had a roster filled with seniors and a Bandera fate could also befell the Panthers next season.

With nine spots to fill for a lineup you either have to place your players around or hope you don’t need an experience player to keep a rally going and garner runs for an eventual win.

Peyton Sipila getting it done.

Peyton Sipila getting it done.

Unfortunately for Canyon Lake, two seniors that had been having stellar careers picked this campaign as one they could not get a break at the plate and you saw what happened.

The ReSporter will put an Offensive Spotlight on J. J. Nance. Nance moved up in the lineup as this season was coming to a close and that was not the only thing to move up.

Nance’s batting average also was on the rise.

The game slowed down for Nance as you will see how often he contributed from the plate.

He reached base his final nine games while batting .450 and and an on base percentage of .577 for the Hawks.

Before the light turning on, Nance had batted .210 and his on base percentage was .285 during the first 2/3’s  of this season.

Can this continue into next season? Nance had a 23% chance of reaching base with a walk in those nine games also, telling you how he was taking control of his at bats. That might translate into a player that can set the table next season.

Not a lot of power for Nance but Canyon Lake will be happy with a player that can get on base.

If Nance can stay up in that batting order then that will also translate into more at bat appearances and you can’t complain about that.

Other players The ReSporter considered: There was too much of an incomplete grade on Corey Shedrock as his injury kept him out during the middle part of the year and he just looked rusty trying to get back into his groove.

But Shedrock did show some promise starting this year as well as waiting to see Garrett Winters for a whole campaign after his season ending injury.

Winters will give CL another good glove at third base but two years ago playing as a freshman did not do him any favors at the plate.

The ReSporter will now wait to see if two years will now have him facing pitchers as a Junior will be fun to watch.

Ryan Hutcheson looks like he could be that player to supply some power for your Hawks, but looking and performing in baseball will give you a ‘time will tell’ or ‘wait and see’ attitude when he reports back to the diamond in February.

Cody Powell batted .394 last year in limited action with 33 at bats. But, those at bats did produce 13 hits and two of those hits were triples. Another important aspect is having six walks and only five strikeouts.

It was that same aspect that helped Travis Walker, Michael Brady and J.J. Nance last season.

name                 at bats      walks     strikeouts     difference
Michael Brady          75           19          7             12
Travis Walker          76           15          3             12
J. J. Nance            58           10          8              2
Cody Powell            33            6          5              1

Tyler Vinson and Nick Cahill will also have another year of Mom’s cooking to grow into a more imposing batter.

Tyler Vinson making the Catch

Tyler Vinson making the Catch

Almost forgot, Peyton Sipila was nails last season with a .298 finishing act and that will also be a big bat for your Hawks as next year approaches.

Junior Varsity also has some players that could be immediate impacts in next year’s lineup.

Note that this year was the first time in several years that Coach Brian Owens had options on who to play and also with a chance to make a decision on a pinch hitter or relief pitcher.

The ReSporter did not have stats on all the JV games but with the 7 games that are in the books here are some samples of how some players performed.

Games were by luck of the lineup card if a player happened to be playing while The ReSporter was present. So, if you are not on the sheet, then you were a Freshman or happened to be odd player out.

 name             grade   ab  r  h  bi eb bb so  ave.
 Jonathan McGuire Soph     9  2  7  1  0  2  1  .778
 Jordan Weber     Soph     6  1  3  1  0  0  3  .500
 Hayden Dubois    Soph    15  6  7  2  2  7  1  .467
 William Volz     Soph    13  5  6  0  1  0  2  .462
 Bryce Dehlin     Junior   7  1  3  3  1  0  1  .429
 Nick Kissell     Soph    10  3  4  2  2  4  3  .400
 Austin Headrick  Junior  17  6  6  5  3  6  2  .353
 Kyle Krohn       Junior  21  5  6  2  0  1  3  .286
 Colton Avey      Soph     9  3  2  1  1  0  1  .222

Take with a grain of salt since there were a couple of games during their roller coaster season of not  faring well and The ReSporter being the homer it is,  just knew not many people would want to be rehashing those games.

Reducing those averages would help you take off the rose colored glasses….the ‘eb’ above stands for extra bases.

One item to deduce is that there are some players on that list that will be ready to contribute next season and that will take District 27-3A by storm.

PITCHING

This Spotlight will have a smaller list of prospects to evaluate.

Pitcher Ryan Hutcheson

Pitcher Ryan Hutcheson

Here are your major players concentrating on someone to spotlight.

Corey Shedrock, Ryan Hutcheson, Cody Powell and Tyler Vinson were the major athletes that had shown Coach Dunavant enough to put them on the mound.

Shedrock was injured after getting a short stint that did look decent but it was based on seeing him once or twice.

Grade would be incomplete.

Tyler Vinson will have a chance to face batters with another year to face some tough lineups.

Cody Powell being a southpaw will be an intriguing player as he will be going into his third season playing Varsity.

This should be a year of having more control. Seeing how he reduces his walks per inning will tell you if he will have success this next time out.

The ReSporter will Spotlight Ryan Hutcheson for how he will also reduce a troubling number of walks when he returns to the mound.

A better than expected 3.16 era certainly is impressive while also being able to lead the Hawks with one third of their victories.

A couple of gems are still fresh with his last time shutting out Navarro who needed a win to make the playoffs last year.

Throwing only 80 pitches or 11.4 per seven innings of work was impressive. Also, by walking one batter during that outing speaks volumes on how to win baseball games.

It is hard to play defense on a batter walking to first base. But CL’s defense did only commit one error this contest which will always be an important item during any game.

In his game with Austin Travis, Hutcheson had another impressive outing when he no-hit these Rebels.

Hutcheson was helped out by the offense when they run ruled Austin Travis which helped in not needing more than four innings to pitch.

He was once again close to those same numbers against Navarro with an 11 pitch per inning ratio and walking just two players.

Two shut out wins certainly can help your era and The ReSporter will be interested to see if Hutcheson can return for an encore.

Their will be some  Junior Varsity players coming with a chance to give Canyon Lake some depth.

Keep an eye on Austin Headrick and Nick Kissell as both of these players were called up to Varsity a couple of times during the season.

Overall, Canyon Lake looks poised to have a decent year as you now have a group of players that will be one year older and continuing adding to their baseball I. Q. and being smarter is the most important ingredient for next year’s team.