Pinch-hitting isn’t for everyone. But for Taylor Sparks, the role comes natural to him.
Last Monday’s game against the Mississippi Braves provided perhaps the best example of just how much the Pensacola Blue Wahoos infielder loves hitting in those types of situations.
With one out and the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Sparks stepped up to the plate and delivered under pressure, smashing the ball over the wall in left-center to lift the Blue Wahoos to a 4-3 victory at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
“I went up to the plate trying to smash one,” Sparks said. “Jogging around the bases, I was ecstatic. It was a lot of fun, especially with those guys coming out to home plate.”
To say Sparks loves the moment is an understatement. He has been a pinch-hitter three times this season. In each one, he has come through with a hit, including two home runs.
“I don’t know what it is,” Sparks said. “You don’t really have time to think. You just go up there and swing a bat. There really isn’t any science to it. I’m just trying to crush one and I’ve been able to do that a couple of times.”
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly trusts Sparks in those situations and is confident he’ll deliver more often than not.
And while he has only been at the Double-A level since mid-June, the potential the third baseman out of California-Irvine has is impressive.
“He is a good-looking player, a really good defensive player,” Kelly said. “And he obviously has power. He just has to get a little more consistent with making contact. There are things mechanically he is trying to make adjustments to. Once he gets that down, he’ll be a really good hitter.”
Read more in the Aug. 11 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.