Thursday, August 16, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: JD Ingalls

JD Ingalls (@JDIngallsis entering his fifth season in the Storm baseball program. JD is in a slightly different situation from his baseball brethren. JD graduated this past spring with his business degree and has already begun taking Master's classes. After redshirting his freshman season, JD returns with a wealth of knowledge of how Storm baseball operates. With 12 players leaving the program due to graduation, the Storm is looking for leadership this season. Fortunately, JD is in his second year as team captain, an honor bestowed upon him at the beginning of last season. JD earned his stripes through a relentless work ethic and his dedication to his team and the game, but most importantly, the manner in which he communicates with both teammates and coaching staff. I caught up with JD this week to see how his summer went.

Where did you play summer ball?
I played for Shannon Fence located out of Eastlake, OH.

Did you do anything exciting off the field this summer?
This summer I started my graduate classes. They were very time consuming but the change in scenery was nice compared to undergrad classes from the past four years.

Did you keep in touch with or hang out with any teammates?
I was able to keep in touch with the local guys, especially with the guys playing in the same league (Tri-State League), and a couple of guys who played on Shannon Fence as well.

What are you looking forward to most during the upcoming season?
I cannot wait to get back on the field and build on what we accomplished last year. Now that we had a taste of the playoffs and some success, I hope all of my teammates share my mindset in being hungrier than ever. The worst feeling is not ever being good, but reaching something good and never getting it again.

What did you learn from last season?
Last year was a learning experience from an individual and team perspective. Individually, coming back from injury I learned the smaller things that needed to be done to take care of your arm and body more properly. The things you do off the field are just as important as on the field. From a team standpoint, I learned that we have the guys and tools to be successful in the GLIAC. It is just a matter of doing our job day in and day out that is what is going to be the determining factor of our success.

What are some specific drills or parts of your game you focused on this summer?
This summer I really worked on two main parts of my game. First was my overall stamina and arm strength. I played a lot of long toss and band work to build my arm strength. I was able to throw up to 100 pitches for the first time since my surgery. I also worked on my off-speed pitches by playing catch with a change-up grip and focusing on specific spots to throw certain pitches during bullpens and flat grounds.

What are some personal goals heading into fall ball?
I want to come into fall ball and make an impact right away. Having not played (during the) fall last year, I feel like this is going to be a great opportunity to show the coaching staff what I have improved on this summer and rightfully earn a spot that will help the team the most.

How did the end of the team's 2012 season change your approach this summer and heading into fall ball?
The end of the season made me more hungry and determined than ever. We now know what it takes and that we can compete with anyone. We just need to put in the work and do our jobs.

You missed a significant amount of time the past two seasons due to arm injuries but appeared in four of the team's final seven games. How important were those innings for you at the end of 2012?
They were extremely important to me. I was chomping at the bit all season to help the team out in any situation possible. Pitching at the end of the season and in the playoffs reassured me that I could make an impact on this team and be a part of the success. Even though it did not end the way anyone would have liked, the last inning has left a bad taste in my mouth that I look to change this year.

How did your arm hold up this summer?
My arm reacted great this summer. It was the most innings I have thrown in a long time and I showed zero signs of fatigue as the season went on. I feel this is one of the best I have been prepared going into fall ball in terms of arm strength and stamina in a long time.

Stay tuned for the next installment of How I Spent My Summer Vacation. In the meantime, stay up-to-date on Storm baseball on Twitter and the Lake Erie College official athletic website.

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