July 4, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Summer is a good time for college students to work internships in order to gain experience in what they hope is their future craft. Eric Jokisch is no different. The 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American is spending his summer on the East Coast playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). He'll be sharing his experiences with NUsports.com.
Well, the summer season is over for the Torrington Twisters. We were unable to make the playoffs, losing in the final game to force a tiebreaker with the Manchester Silkworms. The last few weeks were very exhausting traveling all over New England to make up every game from the rain-filled season. Ironically the last game with the North Shore Navigators was delayed three and a half hours due to a rainstorm. The game finished at 9:30 which was not too bad, but the Navigators still had to play another 9-inning game right after ours.
Another story of the Twisters' season showed up in the final game. We got a great pitching performance from Danny Beck: 0 runs through 9 innings, but unfortunately we could not put up a run. Danny went out for the 10th but gave up one run to lose the ballgame. The offense just never came together.
I started the game before against the Keene Swampbats on Fan Appreciation Night. Statistically I had my best performance of the year: 7 innings, 0 runs, and 8 strikeouts, but really didn't feel like I had my best stuff. I spotted fastballs on the corner and mixed in some sloppy off-speed. Overall I had a great summer on the field, just one bad game, one extremely bad game, but the rest I was very pleased with.
Summer baseball in the New England Collegiate League was a great learning experience. I met a great family in the McKennas and a solid group of teammates. Even though the team didn't finish on top, I would not call it a failure. Being able to play against competition at that level will only help me be prepared for the future, especially next year's Northwestern Wildcats season.
It's been awhile since my last blog, but not much has changed for the team. We are still struggling to steal even one win. With only a few games left in the season the postseason is still possible, but not likely. Players' desire to play is at a minimum, many already making plans for their trips home.
The last time I posted a blog I had possible my worst outing ever, giving up 11 runs in 3 innings. Since then I have had two starts and both were much better than that one. The first was against North Adams for the third time. I gave up 2 runs in 7 innings. I definitely needed that game to get my confidence back from the basement. The second was against Danbury and was probably my best game of the summer: 9 innings, 1 earned run and 8 strikeouts.
Outside of baseball I was able to make my first trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The town is amazing, as expected, and I would recommend it to any baseball fan. Other than that not much exciting has happened in Torrington. Summer baseball is coming to a close, that is unless we fight our way into the playoffs, where anything can happen.
This week for the Torrington Twisters was a record-breaking one, but not good ones. On the 4th of July, the team was struck out 19 times, an NECBL record. Then a few nights later we made 9 errors, also a record, and had 10 unearned runs. The times have been diffcult, and the wear off a long season is starting to show. We are currently on a long losing streak that we just can't seem to break. The crazy part
about it is we are still in line to make the playoffs.
I started against the same team as a week before, the North Adams Steeplecats. I pitched 7 innings giving up 2 runs. We ended up winning the game in extra innings. My start yesterday was not as successful. I pitched against the league-leading Newport Gulls, and I gave up 10 earned runs in 3 innings. Everything I threw up there was getting smacked around the ball park. I felt like I was making good pitches, but the team seemed to have me figured out from the start. I need to learn from the game, even though it was my most disappointing yet. Hopefully my next start will go a little smoother and get me back on the right track.
The travel over the last week has been very draining. We went to Vermont, which was a five-hour drive. Ten hours on the road is never any fun, and then getting a baseball game in between is mentally very difficult. The road is also in our near future with seven straight away games starting today.
Right now times are difficult. Players are aching and coaches are getting restless. Nothing seems to be going our way, but all we need is one spark turn it around. Baseball is a game of streaks; we have felt the losing one, now we need to find the winning one.
This is my first blog, so I figure I should bring you up to date on the summer. I am playing in Torrington, Connecticut for the Torrington Twisters of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The team itself has been having troubles putting runs on the board, while our pitching has been solid, but we are still slim in the bullpen. Right now we are around .500 but second in the league.
The players are definitely top notch. The pitchers on our team and most others all can touch 90, some getting into the 93-95 range. Hitters are very patient and find ways to put the best pitches somewhere in play, even with wooden bats. The experience I have gained so far has helped me become a better pitcher, even three weeks into playing.
As for life outside of baseball, there isn't much. Yesterday was the first day off in around three weeks, and between traveling and games, sleep takes up most of the time. I am staying with a host family who has been nothing short of amazing. They have made this my home away from home. They have two kids one going into high school the other starting college. They are both fun kids to be around, playing Rock Band, watching movies, and swimming. The Connecticut area has many hills, trees, beautiful golf courses, and mosquitos. Roads are never straight, and there is Dunkin Donuts on every corner.
As for myself I have had two starts. The first I struggled, giving up four earned runs in six innings. The second was better with one unearned run in eight innings. My next start should come either Saturday or Sunday depending on weather and the other pitchers.
My time in between starts involves running, weight rooms, and bullpens. Right now I am nursing a pair of ear infections, and getting ready to leave for a two-hour trip to Pittsfield, Mass. With a month left before the playoffs, the team is starting to come together, and hopefully we can make push during July and into August.