Rockville bats showing mid-season power

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Apr. 29, 2011
Rockville shortstop Taylor Botterton grabs a hot grounder in the game vs. Tolland on April 27, which the Rams won 15-5. Photos by Steve Smith.
Rockville shortstop Taylor Botterton grabs a hot grounder in the game vs. Tolland on April 27, which the Rams won 15-5. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Rockville High School baseball squad has been flashing the lumber in the first half of the season. The Rams are 6-3 and have won five straight, including a 16-0 romp over Bloomfield and a 15-5 win at Tolland on April 27.

After the Tolland game, in which the Rams were up 6-0 after the first frame, coach Art Wheelock said he was pleasantly surprised at his team's offense.

“I felt we were going to score runs,” Wheelock said. “Do you expect to score that many at once? No.”

Wheelock said his team's pitching worried him in the early games, but has come around adequately, to go with the offensive firepower.

“We're scoring enough runs and we're playing good defense,” he said. “It's just timely hitting. It’s baseball - you outscore the other team, sit back and play a little defense and you're fine.”

Wheelock said senior captains Pat Witham and Alex Mann have been among those helping form the core of the batting order.

“Pat's been hitting in the upper .300s,” Wheelock said. “He handles the pitchers really well, and although it doesn't look like he has a rocket for an arm, he gets rid of it quick and he's pretty accurate, so he's throwing runners out.”

“Alex has been hitting the ball real well,” Wheelock said. “He's in the .300s, too. When he's not playing first base, he's usually our DH.”

Wheelock said Kevin Babcock has been great in the outfield.

“He's a centerfielder that can cover foul line to foul line,” he said. “He's that quick.”

Although Rockville has seven seniors, Wheelock said many of them are relatively inexperienced.

“We lost a lot of guys last year,” he said. “Most of these seniors are first-time varsity players. We lost all of our starting pitching last year. It's just a matter of the young guys throwing the ball well, and not walking people.”

Wheelock, in his 33rd year as coach, said he enjoys his work.

“I get to come out, be around these kids playing baseball,” he said. “The hardest thing I do some days is remember to eat lunch.”


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