GREENSBORO - The North Carolina A&T baseball team got a chance to see where they stand in November, competing in a number of intrasquad games for their fall ball season.
"We had a good fall, I think," said A&T head coach Joel Sanchez, who is embarking on his second season in 2013. "There were a lot of new faces, along with the returning guys, and we had a new addition to the coaching staff, so there was a lot of new information introduced. It was a big learning fall for everybody, trying to get everybody on the same page."
The Aggies return 21 players, including first baseman Kelvin Freeman, the 2010 MEAC Rookie of the Year and 2012 All-MEAC second-team selection; Luke Tendler, the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and two-time All-MEAC selection; Andre McKoy, an All-MEAC second-team outfielder and Brandon Wilkerson, a two-time selection for MEAC Rookie of the Week. They also welcomed 13 new players, including nine pitchers, three infielders and an outfielder.
The Aggies played intrasquad games every weekend, and competed in a Blue vs. Gold three-game series to cap off the fall practice season. This fall, the team worked on implementing new defensive strategies, and instilling a new offensive philosophy.
"We worked on a new approach to overall offense," Sanchez said. "Trying to establish and to understand what type of hitter each individual is, and try to help the kids understand what type of hitter they were and try to maximize each individual's potential, instead of trying to cookie-cut and make everybody a certain way. That was like the main focus of the offense."
On the defensive end, Sanchez also focused on getting his 17 pitchers to do one thing-throw strikes.
"It doesn't matter how hard you throw, you've got to throw strikes. We worked on how to maximize your outing," he said.
His pitchers were kept to just a pitch count of 80 and a maximum of five innings in the fall season as they worked on their mechanics and precision in preparation for another exciting and competitive season.
"We're looking forward to the spring," Sanchez said.