On the Bump: Layton Tromba
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello Gents fans and welcome back to “On the Bump”.  It has been a good first week of practice and we are busy preparing daily in anticipation for our season opener against UT-Tyler on February 6th.  I feel like the team is really starting to home in on the opener and the goals that we want to accomplish as a team this season.  I really like the close-knit feel of this team and the fact that I feel like we are working hard and getting better each and every day.  I want to talk briefly about our first week of practice and give a preview of the 2015 Gents infield, which has a ton of promise.

We began practice this past Thursday and really focused on getting two good days of practice in before our first intersquad of the spring.  We were focusing in on really just coming out and trying to be mentally prepared and stay into it.  One thing I’ve loved to see over the fall and now the start of the spring with the group of guys we have is that competitive edge being displayed.  I think it is easy to see that the people on this team are really buying into the system and really care and want to make every play possible.  I feel that this is huge because it is never time in this humbling game to take a play, much less a game off.  It’s awesome to look at everyone grinding for the same goal and pushing one another because it makes our whole team better day in and day out. 

The first intersquad was on Saturday and I felt as though it went pretty well for the most part.  Obviously, not everything is going to be picture-perfect the first time out, but I feel like the hitters did a nice job of making solid contact and applying pressure on the defense.  I also thought the pitchers commanded the strike zone pretty well.  The important thing to remember is to come up with a plan and know yourself so you know where you need to be by the time February 6th rolls around and I think our guys are doing a solid job.  Overall, it was a solid first 3 days of practice.  There is work to be done, but I definitely feel like we are headed in the right direction.

Now, I want to talk about the infielders we have on this year’s squad.  As of right now, we only have one solidified starter that we know of, but it’s important to point out this really isn’t a bad problem to have at all.  I think it speaks volumes to the amount of depth we have on the team, even after moving our all-conference third baseman Michael Shimpf to the outfield.  The important thing to remember is that the majority of our infielders play just about any spot on the infield. The one starter that we have solidified on the infield is our shorstop Aaron Quintanilla, or as we like to call him, Q.  Q was a solid ballplayer for us at the dish and in the field last year and is a real game changer.  He is a great dude with a ton of skill and we are lucky to have him up the middle.  He was another of our first team all-conference guys, and I can’t wait to get back on the field and compete with Q. 

We have Cade Henry, Kameron Davis, Ian Graham, Taylor Reed, and Cody Chalmers that all play the infield positions besides first base. They have all done a really nice job this year and battled against each other for spots, and I’m excited to see who we roll out there game 1, but bear in mind that may not be the position they play in game 2. They each possess different skills that they are really good at.  Brooks Williams is another one of our infielders that can play any of the 4 positions.  He is a gritty ballplayer with a lot of confidence, which contributes to his play on the field.  Cade and Ian are both newcomers but have been really solid defensively and swung a nice bat for us thus far.  Taylor Reed was our starting second baseman this year and is returning to practice after having surgery this past offseason.  He was a key contributor to our offense last year.  Kam Davis is also a newcomer that really cares about the game and plays it the right way.  Cody Chalmers is another returner who is a scrappy player and plays 2nd base the majority of the time. He is one of the hardest working guys.  He also had some at-bats for us last year.  As far as our first basemen go, we have had Brooks Williams over there battling along with returning Senior Kody Carson and newcomer Cole Lavergne.  I feel like they’ve done an awesome job battling it out with one another, and I can honestly say no matter whom we go with, I know they will get the job done.  They have good sticks at the plate and are really good field generals, meaning they usually are vocal in directing people to the right spots, which is an underrated part of the game that is extremely vital to our success.

I can’t wait to get a second great week of practice in going into our intersquads on Friday and Saturday of this upcoming weekend.  Monday is MLK Day so we get to just wake up and go to the field to get some good work in.  I love all of the competition going on with these Gents because most of the time, it brings out the most in everyone.  It becomes a little more of a game-like situation when you come to the field every day knowing you got to bring your all because if not, someone else may jump over you.  Next week, I am going to preview our 2015 Gents pitchers and catchers. The days are itching closer to the start of the year again, and I can’t wait to take the field with these guys and go to battle again.  It’s been entirely too long, and its time to get in between the white lines to see what we can do about getting fitted for a ring by the end of the year.  Until next time, go Gents!!!