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Catching up with Hoosier ballplayers competing in summer leagues

POSTED AT 08:35 PM ON Jul. 4, 2012  (UPDATED AT 03:24 PM ON Jul. 5, 2012)

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While Americans across the country took the day off to celebrate our nation’s independence Wednesday, 24 current IU baseball players suited up for a summer league team hoping to make some fireworks of their own.

Below is a list of 2012 starters who are competing this summer while they refine their skills for the 2013 season.

For a full list of current IU ballplayers competing for a summer league team, visit http://www.iuhoosiers.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/summer-league-baseball.html.

Cape Cod League

Dustin DeMuth
, third base
Year: Junior
Team: Wareham Gateman
2012 IU Stats (59 games): .263 BA, 60 H, 25 R, 11 2B, 1 HR, 18 RBI, .934 FLD%
Cape Cod Stats (5 games): .333 BA, 5 H, 2 R, 1 2B, 0 HR, 3 RBI, .938 FLD%
News and Notes:News and Notes: DeMuth is being worked out at shortstop this summer after starting at third base his first two seasons at IU. He must work on his hitting more than anything though, as his batting average in 2012 was nearly 100 points lower than in 2011, when he hit .360 in 55 games.

DeMuth tends to chase balls out of the zone when he is down in the count, and struck out approximately once every six at-bats in 2012. As a player with only one home run in two seasons, DeMuth has established himself as a contact hitter. To return to form, he must improve his ability to work the count and make contact more consistently, reducing his strikeout rate in the process.

Kyle Schwarber, catcher
Year: Sophomore
Team: Wareham Gateman
2012 IU Stats (60 games): .300 BA, 51 R, 15 2B, 8 HR, 47 RBI, .973 FLD%
Cape Cod Stats (16 games): .365 BA, 11 R, 5 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI,  .957 FLD%
News and Notes: News and Notes: Schwarber’s 23 hits through 16 games for the Gateman puts him on pace for 63 hits over the 44-game schedule. The 63 hits would be just six shy of his 2012 total with IU (69), which he amassed over 60 games and helped him earn Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors. Schwarber’s current torrid hitting pace projects to a whopping 86 hits over 60 games. Like DeMuth, Schwarber is experimenting with a different position as an outfielder for the Gateman.

Joey DeNato, starting pitcher
Year: Junior
Team: Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
2012 IU Stats (15 APP): 7-3, 15 GS, 92.1 IP, 96 H, 3.22 ERA, 76 SO, 31 BB, .275 BAA
Cape Cod Stats (2 APP): 0-1, 0 GS, 3.2 IP, 2.46 ERA, 5 SO, 2 BB
News and Notes: DeNato, the undisputed staff ace, is also an accomplished outfielder. IU Head Coach Tracy Smith’s used DeNato as a defensive replacement several times during the 2012 season, and DeNat's final appearance in the outfield in 2012 was a big one.

DeNato was inserted in the bottom of the ninth inning during IU’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal game against Michigan State to play left field, and promptly made a diving, game-saving catch of a Joel Fisher blooper with the winning run on third. The catch preserved a 3-3 tie and sent the game to extras. IU eventually prevailed 4-3 in 11 innings.

Jonny Hoffman
, relief pitcher
Year: Senior
Team: Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
2012 IU Stats (29 APP): 8-2, 63.1 IP, 57 H, 2.27 ERA, 35 SO, 17 BB, .243 BAA
Cape Cod Stats
(6 APP): 1-1, 7.2 IP, 9 H, 8.22 ERA, 5 SO, 3 BB
News and Notes: Hoffman retooled his delivery between his sophomore and junior seasons after struggling mighty in his first two seasons. After posting an ERA of 8.80 in 2010 and a 6.23 ERA in 2011, Hoffman changed his delivery to a sidewinder, “submarine”-style delivery for his junior season. The change paid off as Hoffman’s new delivery confused hitters all season, leading to his sparkling 2.27 ERA in 2012 and All-Big Ten First Team selection.

Sam Travis, first base
Year: Sophomore
Team: Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox
2012 IU Stats (60 games): .319 BA, 41 R, 17 2B, 9 HR, 50 RBI, .975 FLD%
Cape Cod Stats (16 games): .339 BA, 12 R, 6 2B, 1 HR, 13 RBI, .978 FLD%
News and Notes: Fitting the trend of IU baseball players playing a different position this summer than their primary position for the 2012 season, Travis is playing third for the Y-D Red Sox. Travis started the 2012 season at third but struggled. He made a smooth transition to first and did most of his damage with the bat, earning him Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors.

Florida Collegiate League

Michael Basil, shortstop
Year: Senior
Team: Winter Park Diamond Dogs
2012 IU stats (60 games): .286 BA, 32 R, 11 2B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, .932 FLD%
Cape Cod Stats (18 games) .269 BA, 8 R, 4 2B, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .888 FLD%
News and Notes: Basil is only one of two seniors that figure to be in next season’s starting lineup (not including pitchers). He and center fielder Justin Cureton are the only senior position players who saw regular playing time last season.     

New England Collegiate Baseball League

Matt Dearden, relief pitcher
Year: Junior
Team: Vermont Mountaineers  
2012 IU stats (24 APP): 1-6, 2 GS, 42 IP, 42 H, 4.29 ERA, 33 SO, 16 BB, .294 BAA
Mountaineers Stats (6 APP) 0-1, 6.2 IP, 9 H, 13.50 ERA, 8 SO, 6 BB
News and Notes: Dearden significantly improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2012, after posting a ratio of 1.04 (24 SO, 23 BB) in 2011. For the 2012 season at IU, Dearden finished with a ratio of 2.065. Control has been Dearden’s biggest issue in his collegiate career, and in limited work with the Mountaineers, Dearden is allowing nearly one walk per inning. He will have to buck that trend if he wants to make regular appearances out of the Hoosier bullpen in 2013.

Ryan Hallstead, relief pitcher
Year: Junior
Team: Newport Gulls
2012 IU Stats (22 APP): 4-2, 4 GS, 46.2 IP, 47 H, 5.01 ERA, 28 SO, 17 BB, .258 BAA
Mountaineers Stats (5 APP): 1-1, 9.2 IP, 8 H, 2.79 ERA, 9 SO, 3 BB  
News and Notes: Hallstead was hit hard in 2012, especially considering he posted a much better ERA (3.16) in 2011. He is off to a nice start with the Mountaineers this summer and hopes to rediscover what made him successful his freshman season. If Hallstead can return to form in 2013, it will take some of the load off of Jonny Hoffman, who pitched 63.1 innings in 2012, by far the most of any IU reliever.


Great Lakes League
Kyle Hart, starting pitcher
Year: Sophomore
Team: Cincinnati Steam
2012 IU Stats (15 APP) 5-5, 15 GS, 84 IP, 91 H, 3.21 ERA, 53 SO, 30 BB, .281 BAA
Great Lakes Stats (2 APP) 1-0, 2 GS, 10 IP, 11 H, 4.50 ERA, 10 SO, 7 BB
News and Notes: Hart helped IU have one of the best 1-2 punches amongst starting rotations in the Big Ten, as the freshman consistently got up for big games and followed the lead of staff ace Joey DeNato. Like Hallstead, Hart needs to work on his control. He must walk less batters and control his breaking ball as he surrendered six wild pitches in 2012. Nonetheless, Hart’s strong freshman season earned him Big Ten All-Freshman honors.

Northwoods League

Chris Sujka, outfielder
Year: Sophomore
Team: Battle Creek Bombers
2012 IU Stats (56 games): .269 BA, 28 R, 8 2B, 5 HR, 35 RBI, .928 FLD%
Battle Creek Stats (8 games): .242 BA, 7 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .955 FLD%
News and Notes: Sujka’s fielding percentage through eight games is an encouraging signs given his struggles in right during the 2012 season. Head Coach Tracy Smith described backup outfielder Tim O’Connor as the team’s best defensive outfielder, but Smith likes the way Sujka and Will Nolden hit.

Nolden also struggled in the field at times, but posted a much better fielding percentage than Sujka, at .974. Nolden appeared in 50 games, 38 of them starts. It Sujka cannot shore up his defense next year, Nolden may overtake him in the lineup. Nolden can also break up a string of right-handed hitters in the lineup because he is a lefty, while Sujka bats from the right side. Nolden’s energy and left-handed bat may eventually give him the edge over Sujka. 

 

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