Oct. 14, 2007
Notre Dame assistant coach Sherard Clinkscales has filed his fall baseball practice report, detailing the recent progress of the Notre Dame pitching staff:
NOTRE DAME BASEBALL 2007 FALL PRACTICE REPORT #3 (Sherard Clinkscales; Oct. 14)
"Greetings Irish baseball fans. I hope all of you are well and getting geared up to follow this year's team. This fall is a bit different in that our pitching staff had a focus on what I call the "Big Five." These are specific areas that will be imperative to our staff's success: 1. fastball location and movements (run and cut); 2. developing breaking ball or slider that can be thrown behind in the count; 3. a changeup that can be thrown behind in the count; 4. controlling the running game; and 5. fielding your position. There also are subcategories to each area that I will not bore you with - however, with the influx of newcomers mingled with a mix of sophomores and juniors and one senior, it is important that we all be on the same page.
"This fall has been solid all around. All of our upperclassmen set the tone early by their work ethic. The vigor with which they grasped onto the "Big Five" and other aspects of practice has been outstanding. The older pitchers have been led by senior Wade Korpi, who has been flawless this spring. All I can say is that the form Wade prominently showcased as a sophomore is back and I anticipate that he will have a strong year.
"David Phelps is healthy and has had a solid fall. He has been developing his change and refining his delivery. David is primed to follow his strong sophomore campaign with another impressive season in '08.
"Kyle Weiland has looked much better this fall, due in part to his success in the Cape and the adjustments to his mechanics that he diligently worked through this summer. Couple that with his return to the closer's role and Kyle is ready to shut them down this spring.
"Brett Graffy also had a solid summer in the Cape and pitched well this fall with the limited time he was able to participate, as he came down with mononucleosis. He is expected to get back to work after fall break.
Tony Langford is rejuvenated, as he has shown a fastball that has reached the upper-80s on his fastball along with a consistent slider and a changeup that has been a pleasant surprise. Tony will be a solid contributor this spring.
"Sam Elam once again is the master of his own destiny. He has shown signs of consistency but needs to do it with more frequency. Sam has been diligent in working on aspects of his delivery and approach. I believe it will pay off, as Sam may play a vital role in '08.
"The sophomore class is highlighted by Steven Mazur's emergence this fall. Steven has worked on pitching more north and south, instead of east and west, as well as shortening up his arm circle. The early reports are good. He is throwing with better leverage and a sharper slider and Steven certainly looks to be able to contribute this spring.
"Andrew Scheid also has worked hard this fall on creating better leverage and arm speed through the acceleration zone. The results have been encouraging. Andrew will need to keep working to contribute this spring.
"David Mills has stepped forward in making an impression as a lefthanded specialist. He has attacked the zone with a solid slider and breaking ball, along with a tough two-seam fastball.
"The freshmen have been solidifying elements of what will be a strong staff. Brian Dupra and Cole Johnson have been consistent all fall. They both have shown good poise, with Brian showing command of three good pitches whie Cole has featured a hard, boring fastball and a solid slider. Both should play prominent roles this spring.
"Evan Danieli has thrown well this fall, featuring an above-avgerage fastball and plus breaking ball. He just needs to let his natural ability take over and try not to overpitch. Evan will be a strong contributor this spring.
"Ryan Sharpley has shown good aptitude, as we have revamped his delivery so that it is more efficient and creates more natural leverage on his fastball and slider. The results have been good and I expect them only to get better. Ryan also will will also be a solid contributor.
"Todd Miller has been a quiet force - he just goes about his business and gets it done. His deceptive fastball and tight slider are a welcomed dynamic that further strengthens our bullpen.
"Fans, as many of you may know, I am an openly optimistic person but I also am realistic and I can say that our depth is much better than last year's pitching staff. This should give us more options as we get into our season.
"Lastly, since I don't believe in philosophies because it implies that I have some insight that no one else has, I have adopted mottos of sorts that that will serve as a theme for all of the upcoming staffs now and the future 'Willing to Win.' The basic theme is nurturing the ability of our staff to throw any pitch with commitment, confidence and assertiveness, knowing that it will be an out. Our staff will embody this spirit.
"Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you all at the ballpark!"