Ethan Yazzie's confidence at the plate and on the base paths is swelling
KIRTLAND — Ethan Yazzie's finally in a nice groove on the hitting end. All it took was that first multi-hit game of the season, and to keep stringing them together.
The Kirtland Central second baseman's now batting a team-high .556 with one home run, 15 RBIs and 16 runs scored, and his on-base percentage is up to .667.
"I'm just trying to hit the ball good on the bat and then put it in play every time I go up to bat," Yazzie said.
After Yazzie had his first multi-hit game of the season less than three weeks ago, knocking in two hits in Game 1 against Grants, he kept tallying such outings at the plate.
Three hits in Game 2 versus Grants. Three hits versus Navajo Prep. Two hits against Bloomfield. Two hits in each of his two games against Thoreau.
Yazzie kept getting on base, and his confidence swelled.
Yazzie said he's also trying to be more explosive bolting down the first base line in situations like when he makes contact off the tip of the bat for an infield single.
He’s also proactive on the base paths, looking to drive himself and teammates home – paying attention to even the slightest foot pivot by the opposing pitcher, and moments where their back may be turned.
"I'm just trying to get good jumps," Yazzie said, adding he’s trying to exploit any deviation in a pitcher's rhythm. "I'm starting to get more comfortable with baserunning and everything, being able to score on different hits, putting myself in position for my teammates to hit me in."
All six of Yazzie's stolen bases came in just the last three games.
“I think he’s really starting to really get into a groove right now,” Kirtland coach Joshua Nacki said. “The more at-bats he’s getting, the more consistent he’s remaining. I think he’s seeing the ball very well. He’s able to pick up on arm speed pretty well, he reads the pitch out of the pitcher’s hand really well. That allows him to go ahead, get a quality swing, just get good contact as well as drive through the ball.”
Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @MattH_717.
Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e