Coming off of an inconsistent 27-30 2015 campaign, K-State baseball rested, regrouped and got back to work as certain members traveled to different parts of the state and country to continue playing baseball.
Amateur summer leagues (also known as the wood bat leagues) provide the opportunity of summer baseball to college players of all levels looking to spend some more time improving their game when their regular season is over.
“Summer ball gives you a chance to work on some things (in your game),” senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple said. “You want to be the most productive when you play in the spring for K-State and so now I feel like I can work on all of my tools. I can bunt and I can run, but now I’m working on driving baseballs into the gaps and taking aggressive swings rather than just trying to get on base. It’s a kind of practice in a way, but it’s for a whole season.”
Dalrymple is one of 14 Wildcat players that have dedicated their summer to the sport of baseball by traveling anywhere from Rossville, Kansas to Palmer, Alaska.
Dalrymple so far has been one of the more successful Wildcats this far into the season, hitting .379 with a home run, six RBIs and a Jayhawk League leading six stolen bases for his El Dorado Broncos.
Meanwhile, in Tyler, Texas, senior catcher Tyler Moore is putting in work hitting .233 so far on the season for the East Texas Pump Jacks. The top hitter from last year’s team, Moore is looking better his offensive game over the summer.
“I definitely just want to focus on being more consistent with my offensive game,” Moore said. “My defense has been pretty solid so far, but my offense has been kind of off and on. So if I work to make consistent hard contact with the ball, I would consider this summer a success.”
While the extra reps certainly help the players’ development, sometimes fatigue becomes a factor as players go from the 50-plus game college schedule to anywhere from 30 to 50 more games over the summer. But K-State head coach Brad Hill said in order to keep up with the grueling professional schedule that may await future Major or Minor League Baseball players, summer league games are really beneficial.
“Kids are tired (and) worn-down, which is probably not a good thing,” Hill said. “But at the same time, if a young man wants to pursue a professional career, you’re going to have 160 games over 180 days. (In college), you play about 56 days and you’re going to triple that going to pro-ball. So it’s good for that. Even though it may be grinding and make you tired, it helps prepare them for professional baseball if that’s something they want to pursue.”
Also, in addition to the added wear and tear, players pretty much give up their entire summer as the season can sometimes run from as early as late May and as late as the end of July.
“The only downfall is that you don’t really get any time in the summer to do a internship for a future job, or take a week or two off and go hang out by the beach,” Dalrymple said. “The positives outweigh the negatives, because you get to play this wonderful game and I make sure to take advantage of every opportunity I get to play the game of baseball.”
According to Dalrymple, however, any lows associated with playing summer league baseball are washed away because he is getting to play the sport that he loves.
“You’re only going to get to play baseball for so long,” Dalrymple said. “So you have to take in those opportunities while you still have them, and that’s what I’m doing.”