College Baseball Destinations Coached by Ed Konopka
2012: Mike Ruffing - St. Ignatius HS, Washington & Jefferson University
2012: Nate Ferster - Olmsted Falls HS, Baldwin Wallace University
2012: Zach Browning - Cuyahoga Heights HS, Notre Dame College
2012: Joey Stoll - St. Edward HS, Ohio State University
2012: Matt Hoyer - St. Ignatius HS, Mercyhurst University/University of Akron
2012: Matt Eckhardt - Avon HS, Toledo/Ohio State University
2012: Anders Mahon - Avon HS, Cuyahoga Community College
2012: Zach Dennison - Fairport Harbor HS, Notre Dame College
2012: Derek Westerfield - Olmsted Falls HS, Alderson-Broaddus University
2012: Scott Chase - St. Ignatius HS, Mount Union University
2012: Kyle Toma - Strongsville HS, Mount Union University
2012: Robbie Rising - Bay Village HS, Baldwin Wallace University
2012: Kyle Ward - Padua HS, Walsh University
2013: Ben Szymcak - Strongsville HS, Cuyahoga Community College
2013: JP Sorma - Independence HS, Ohio State University/Ashland University
2013: Chris Tomshack - Elyria Catholic, Lake Erie College
2013: Garrett Koutsopoulos - Vermillion HS, Tiffin University
|2013: Tyler Stephenson - Midview HS, Bethany College|
2013: Jamie Lackner - Westlake HS, Wooster College
2013: Wayne Naida - Lakewood HS, Lakeland CC
2013: Danny Strodtbeck - Heidelberg College/Lakeland CC
2013: Patrick Higley - Midview HS, Ohio Dominican University
2013: Derrick Stephenson - Midview HS, Walsh University
2013: Alex Zander - Cuyahoga Heights HS, Walsh University
2013: Derek Stephenson - Midview HS, Walsh University
2014: Caleb Potter - Mentor HS, West Virginia University
2014: Kent Axcell - Westlake HS, Ohio State University
2014: Eli Kraus - Buckeye HS, Kent State University
2014: Mike Martin - Independence HS, Mount Union College
2014: Marty Schuerger - Bay Village HS, Mount Union College
2014: Joe Begany - Elyria Catholic HS, Marietta College
2014: Joe Keleman - North Olmsted HS, Mount Union College
2014: Matt Feierabend - North Ridgeville HS, Tiffin University
2014: Darren Krolikowski - Independence HS, Mount Union
2014: Brett St. Clair - Sandusky St. Mary HS, Walsh University
2014: Zach Souter - Huron HS, Owens Community College
2014: Noah Skladan - Amherst HS, Mount Union College
2014: Jacob Czsmidia - Elyria HS, Lake Erie College.
2015: Nick Bebout - Wadsworth HS, Walsh University
2015: Max Lavisky - Lakewood HS, Cuyahoga Community College
2015: Griffin Watterson - Bay Village HS, Marietta College
2015: Kenny Pierson - Brookside HS, Notre Dame College
2015: Garrett Kordish - Avon Lake HS, Notre Dame College
2015: Jeremiah Campo - Avon Lake HS, Walsh University
2015: Mason DeAnna - St. Edward HS, University of Cincinnati
2015: Kyle Hegedus - St. Edward HS, Youngstown State University
2015: Sam Sustersic - Revere HS, University of Dayton
2015: Mullen Socha - St. Ignatius HS, Washington & Jefferson
|2015: Matt Starcovic-North Olmsted HS, Cuyahoga Community College|
2015: Joe Sciarappa - St. Edward HS, Marietta College
|2015: Noah Bland - Elyria Catholic HS, Ohio Dominican University|
2015: Scott Barnum - Avon HS, Notre Dame College
2015: Anthony Savarino - Olmsted Falls HS, Marietta College
2015: Adam Dennison - Wadsworth HS, Wheeling Jesuit, Pa University
2015: Alex Lopiccolo - Mayfield HS, Ohio University
2016: Ben Bulchik - Lakewood HS, Walsh University
ALL-OHIO PLAYERS FROM THE T3 RAYS 18U TEAM
D2: 1st Team - Joe Begany (Junior) Elyria Catholic - 1B/LHP - Committed to Marietta University
D3: 1st Team - J.P. Sorma (Senior) Independence - SS/3B - Committed to Ohio State University
D1: 2nd Team - Kyle Hegedus (Junior) St. Edward - OF - Youngstown State University
D1: 2nd Team - Kent Axcell (Senior) Westlake - C - Committed to Ohio State University
D1: Honorable Mention - Max Lavisky (Junior) Lakewood - INF/P - Cuyahoga Community College
D2: Honorable Mention - Eli Kraus (Senior) Buckeye - P - Committed to Kent State University
D3: 1st Team - Mike Martin (Senior) Independence - P - Committed to Mount Union University
D3: 2nd Team - Joe Begany (Senior) Elyria Catholic - 1B - Committed to Marietta University
D1: 2nd Team - Max Lavisky (Senior) Lakewood - 1B - Committed to Cuyahoga Community College
D1: Honorable Mention - Nick BeBout (Senior) Wadsworth - P - Commmitted to Walsh University
D2: 1st Team - Sam Sustersic (Senior) Revere - OF - Committed to Dayton University
D3: Honorable Mention (Senior) Elyria Catholic - OF - Committed to Ohio Dominican University
2015 T3 Rays 18u (31-8) OPL Champion, Midwest Challenge Champion, Palomino Super Region Champion
2014 T3 Rays 18U (22-14) Diamond League-Tied 1st Place
2013 T3 Rays 18U (25-12-1) OPL 18U Champion; Freedom Classic Runner-Up
2012 UTB Titans 18U (26-13) Diamond League Champions
2011 UTB Titans 17U (28-14-2); Diamond League 18U Runner-Up
2010 UTB Titans 16U (33-9)
HITTING TO THE OPPOSITE FIELD
The ability of a hitter to hit the ball the other way will have a dramatic impact his batting average. For the most part, all major league batting champions have had the ability to hit the ball all over the yard and especially to the opposite side of the field. Hitting to the opposite field should be the easiest task in hitting. To be effective in hitting the ball to the opposite field the only trait the hitter will need is patience. The ability to let the ball get deep into the hitting zone will also afford you more time to decide whether the pitch is a strike or not. You won't be fooled on a curve ball because the object is not to get the bat head out as quick. A hitter who hits to the other way is a mature hitter.
Most high school and some college hitters have a hard time hitting the ball to the opposite side of the field. This is because the amateur player will try and hit the ball out in front of the plate. This will lead to the hitter dropping the bat head and trying to push the baseball to the opposite side of the field. This is next to impossible to do. The result of this swing will lead to numerous foul balls and little pop ups over the first baseman's head. You see this all the time in the game, especially from the hitters who have difficulty hitting the ball hard to the opposite field.
In order to successfully hit the ball hard to the opposite field, the hitter must let the ball get deep into the hitting zone. This will require the player to hit the ball at the back, outside corner of the plate. Ideally, when the hitter is going to try to hit the ball to the opposite field, this should be done so that contact is made just at the leveling out process of the swing. Another good cue is that the hitter should hit the ball off his back groin. This will ensure that contact is made deep. The bat head should remain behind the hands when contact is made. A good reference point is 35 degree angle.
By hitting the ball deep in the hitting zone, the hitter will give himself the best opportunity to hit the ball hard to the opposite side gap. All great hitters can hit the ball hard to the opposite side gap. This will increase the number of doubles and triples throughout the season.
Hitting the ball the other way is the easiest place to hit the ball hard. Most amateur players don't think so but what is happening is that you are letting yourself see the ball for a longer period of time. Also, since you are seeing the ball longer, there is no need to get the barrel of the bat out as fast. So everything in your swing process will slow down and make the hitter more relaxed.
2008 Major Division Puritas League Champions - Photo @ Pipe Yard in Lorain, Ohio.
The Cleveland Mosquitoes (43-9) in 2006 captured the NABF Major Division World Series Championship and was named as the #1 team in the country by the National Semi Pro Baseball Association coached by Ed Konopka.
In this picture at Louisville Kentucky the Mosquitoes defeated Detroit Jet Box 8-3. Jet Box would come back the next year and win the 2007 NABF World Series and again in the Summer of 2009 win it again. The Mosquitoes were a special group and several pro players are missing along with some other key guys. In this picture you can find 10 current or former professional players. Also 5 current or former UTB instructors can also be found. See if you can name the pro's and UTB guys in the team photo.
Hitting by the Numbers
The purpose of the following information is to provide some basic ideas and guidelines as to what a batter should be thinking and looking for, depending on what the count is. The term "their pitch" refers to the area of the strike zone where the hitter feels most comfortable hitting the ball.
While these guidelines are not hard and fast, they certainly will give you a place to start, especially with young batters. I've tried to make the title of each situation memorable so that they can easily be memorized.
0-0 Pitcher's best pitch
The first pitch is usually the pitcher's best pitch. Why? Because they want to get ahead in the count. This pitch is usually a fastball in the strike zone. The batter should be looking for "their pitch". Never swing at an off speed pitch or breaking ball. If the pitch is in the strike zone, but is not "their pitch", or will have trouble with the pitch, they should take it.
0-1 Why did I miss?
The batter needs to determine why they missed the ball and think about what adjustments need to be made. If the pitch was a called strike, then the batter may need to open up their strike zone. There's a very good chance the next pitch will be a fastball. Second choice would be an off speed pitch.
1-0 Look to drive it hard
The pitcher has fallen behind and therefore will usually throw their best pitch, probably a fastball in the strike zone. Again, the batter should be looking for "their pitch" so they can drive the ball as hard as possible. If the pitch however, is not "their pitch", they should take the pitch, even if it's in the strike zone.
1-1 Don't get behind
This is a possible change-up or curve ball situation. Second choice would probably be a fastball. The batter does not want to get behind here so they should look for a good hittable pitch, but not necessarily "their pitch". Keep the hands back in anticipation of a change up or curve ball.
2-0 Hitter's count
This will almost always be a fastball, belt high, down the middle. Why? Because the pitcher must get a strike. If this pitch is not in the hitter's zone ("their pitch"), take the pitch.
2-1 Two's a crowd
The pitcher will probably throw a fastball or fastball with just a little taken off. The pitcher can't afford to take a chance on a change up or junk pitch and get a ball 3 count. He's go to get it over the plate so this can be a good time to crowd it. Or break the pitchers concentration (possible fake bunt). A pitch in the "batters zone" should be driven up the middle.
3-0 Automatic take
If the batter is an exceptional hitter, they should swing at anything hittable in the strike zone, otherwise, let it go.
3-1 The perfect pitch- NO FLY BALLS
This pitch must be the perfect pitch ("their pitch"). If the pitch is perfect, drive it hard up the middle, otherwise let it go. Do not swing at a so-so pitch and fly out or you risk a very upset coach.
3-2 Don't crowd the plate
Don't get jammed by the pitcher throwing to the inside. The batter should be thinking medium strike zone and that a walk is acceptable.
0-2,1-2, 2-2 Stay alive-The BIG strike zone
On any of these counts, the batter should be going after anything that remotely looks like a strike and should foul off any pitch he can't put into play.