Tonawanda News — On the mound the Jacks have a one-two punch in senior captain Matt Noakes and sophomore lefty Taylor Mellott.
Noakes has a fastball that shoots hard and down at the knees and has been working on improving his breaking ball, Partnell said. “He probably has one of the nicer curve balls on the roster. We did a couple drills the other day and we all said, ‘Watch Matt, he does it right.’ “
Noakes has already noticed a difference since Partnell took over.
“We definitely have a lot more organization,” Noakes said. “We have more coaches for more positions. It was hard last year with only the one or two coaches we had. We have three coaches now. I feel like all of us have gotten better.”
Mellott played last year as a freshman and was the only player Partnell let come out for the varsity team.
“You can tell he just fits in,” Partnell said. “His arm strength is incredible for a sophomore. He has a nice breaking pitch going and he’s even working on some new stuff. He could have four or five pitches in the repertoire by the end here.”
Tom O’Connor will man the middle at shortstop with Chris Jurzcak at second base. Nick Baron and Curtis Swan join Brosius in the outfield, and senior Jacob Clare will move between first and third.
Partnell said that the change he is looking to see in the program begins with preparation. After being cooped up in the gym for weeks working on fundamentals, he’s hoping the team will be able to put some of what’s been taught into action on the diamond.
“We’ve tried to get the fundamentals in while we’re inside so when we get outside we’re ready to go,” he said. “We’ve tried to fine-tune some things like situational hitting, hitting your spots from the mound and just starting with the basics.