Our weakest hitter in our starting lineup is 2nd team All SEC, excelled on a summer international all-star team, and was a 5th round draft pick = Grant Koch. His average is respectable at .250, just not as good as we all hoped he would hit this season or as good as he has the proven potential to hit. The fact that he appears to be coming out of his “slump” may be a big factor in Omaha. That is our “weakest link” which shows how strong this lineup really is. (I know Gates has a lower average but he has been hot lately, hotter than Koch.)
Despite the fact that our bullpen floundered in game 2, in the end we finished game 3 with our top three bullpen pitchers each throwing a token inning to just get ready for Omaha. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s bullpen was getting destroyed as they scraped the bottom of their pitching barrel. If we can get decent pitching from each of our three starters for 4-5 innings, that leads one to think we might be in good shape pitchingwise for the series.
I’m very optimistic about our chances in Omaha. I know all 8 teams have good chances & I know we probably face the tougher bracket. I also know we’ll need some good luck. Still, I think this team has a better shot at winning it all than any team we’ve sent to Omaha.
Yeah, the way the CWS is set up, it makes for a completely different dynamic than the regular season or any of the other post-season events. Pitching is still vitally important, but lack of depth can be overcome by the time between games. Like any of these double elimination events, we’ve got to win the first two games. We’ve beaten every team we’ll face on our side of the bracket, but we all know they’re quite capable of beating us.
An observation from last night: Bonfield spent less time adjusting his gloves and absolutely attacked the ball. He’s appeared passive much of the time but he became more aggressive in his approach and the box score reflects it !!!