Dawgs Return To Diamond For Fall Practice
Sept. 16, 2012
SEATTLE - The Washington baseball team returned to the diamond Sunday for the first day of fall practice, which will run through the middle of October.
The 2013 Huskies, under fourth-year head coach Lindsay Meggs, welcome back a number of key returners, almost all of whom enjoyed terrific summer seasons.
With the start of full-team practices, the Husky coaching staff will look to fill a few of the spots left empty by departed players.
"We have to fill some holes this fall relative to guys who signed after last season and are no longer here," Meggs explained. "Jake Lamb was a three-year starter at third base. That's an issue for me, trying to figure out who best fits in to our plans defensively and offensively at third base. Behind the plate, it's the same thing. We lost both Chase Anselment and B.K. Santy. With that in mind, that will be an interesting battle with Ryan Wiggins and the new guys who have come in."
A highly-regarded class of newcomers joins the relatively long roster of returners.
"We have some exciting freshman who can make life interesting for us all over the field," Meggs said. "Braden Bishop, a center fielder from the Bay Area who can really run, is going to push Jayce Ray and everyone else in the outfield to improve their game. That's going to be exciting. Austin Rei, a catcher from Campolindo High School and a drafted guy, is someone who many think can play as a freshman.
"It's going to be a lot of fun for us to see how much the returning guys have improved and how good the young guys will be," Meggs concluded.
Numerous UW players earned all-star and all-league status in their summer leagues, a fact that Meggs believes can translate to success for the Huskies this season.
"I think it's a feeling of confidence," Meggs said of his players' summer successes. "We've talked about that and the difference that one year can make. It was our goal when we threw some of the younger guys into the fire during conference play last year that they'd really benefit from that in the end. I think that really showed in the summer time. They were battle-tested when they went to the Cape or the Northwoods League or the West Coast League. They all had really good summers and we can use that confidence. It helps us get off on the right foot."
Meggs says the Huskies' main area of emphasis in terms of continuing the type of progress the team showed last season is simple: score more runs.
"We have to improve offensively," he said. "We proved to everyone in this league that we have some arms on this club who can compete with anybody. We have a pretty competitive bullpen. I thought we played good defense. But we have to improve and be more consistent offensively. We have to score more runs. I think we're capable of that. When you talk about guys like Branden Berry, Robert Pehl and Trevor Mitsui coming back as returning starters who are all potential 3-4-5 guys in the order, we're expecting some big things out of them offensively."
Washington will practice four to five times a week for the next month. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29, the team will host its annual Alumni Weekend The fall culminates with a series of intra-squad games, currently scheduled for October 17, 18 and 20.