Baseball Toppers back with new playing style

Coach Chris Finwood said during Friday’s baseball media day that the Toppers will be more of a small ball team this season when compared to last year’s power-hitting lineup.

“We will bunt more than we did last year, and we will run more than we did last year,” he said. “We are capable of doing those two very well.”

Finwood, who said he’d take a 3-1 game any day, expects Western to run and play defense well again this season, although Finwood said he doesn’t expect anyone in the order to top 20 homeruns.

Some other notes from Friday:

  • Finwood said the Toppers will move into the new Paul Orberson Baseball Clubhouse on Saturday. The clubhouse features a 250-square-foot equipment room, locker room and a players lounge.
  • The Toppers will get back closer Rye Davis to start the season after Davis was hit in the eye by a ball in a Fall 2008 practice, forcing him to miss the entirety of the Toppers’ 2009 season. Finwood said he hopes to play Davis sometime throughout the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings next Friday against Kent State. “He’s going to be pumped up,” Finwood said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if a couple go to the backstop for him.”
  • Finwood said the batting order for next Friday’s game is not yet finalized. The top half is pretty much set, and the bottom half is on its way, Finwood said, adding that the bottom half of the order will depend greatly on who the opposition decides to pitch.
  • The Toppers will have a big newcomer from the football team this season. Finwood said junior linebacker Chris Bullard has been on the team since December and has impressed with his bat enough that Finwood might play him next weekend. “I would expect him to be a guy in the mix for a (designated hitter) spot to start the season,” Finwood said.  “Hopefully after spring football gets out and he can spend a little more time on the defensive side of the ball, maybe we can get him in the left field spot.”
  • The only injury of note heading into opening day is to junior outfielder Kory Petri.  Petri is a junior college transfer who had labrum surgery on his left shoulder in the fall.  Finwood said Petri is coming back slowly from the surgery. “We are hopeful that he can be a guy that can jump in there at least by midseason and get us some quality at bats,” Finwood said.

Mike Stunson

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