Rockpile Rumblings Spring Training Days 14 & 15 – Live Batting Practice

     Two more days go by; pitchers facing hitters began to be a bit more of game like situations. Yesterday, pitchers were calling pitches so the hitters were aware of what was coming. Today the catchers called pitches and the hitters were on their own. The pitchers threw more strikes today. The first five pitches were fastballs then they had the option to mix in other pitches with a 35 pitch count. After three days of facing live pitching, the hitters are getting more comfortable at the plate. One more day of live batting practice and then games start on Wednesday.

    Our team fundamental yesterday was pickoffs and rundowns, plus catchers pickoffs at each base. A proper rundown if executed is performed preferably with one throw and tag. Today was cut offs and relays. The main focus today was proper alignment, making sure the two infielders are lined up accordingly to the correct base. It is important to understand the speed of the base runner as well as the speed of the batter running. There will be times when you will have to redirect the throw to a different base according to the speed of the runners and how the outfielder gets to the ball. Then, we had pop up priorities. Hitting pop ups all over the field with a situation in play. Understanding the high sky, sun and wind plays factor in this fundamental. Communication between the outfielders and infielders are so important. When calling for the ball, we practice in a loud manner, simulating a packed house in a big league stadium.

    We also had our individual defensive work. I worked with the outfielders today, hitting them fly balls so they can go back on the ball and at times having to take their eye off the ball and run to a spot where they feel the ball will end up.

   One more day of this and then we get to start games.  Until then, take time out to help someone today and don’t take any day for granted.  May God Bless and Never Surrender!!!

-Joe Mikulik

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