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NOTE: Taylor Sandefur's blog today is the first of our Taylor vs. Taylor segment this spring as we will have dueling blogs with Sandefur and softball's Taylor Sigmon. This should be fun. Sigmon's blog is scheduled to post Thursday night.


Why, hello there Catamount Baseball lovers. Taylor Sandefur from your WCU baseball team here.

At the time I write this, we are just three days away from Friday - also known as Opening Day. "Fortress Cullowhee" will be in full effect. I am going to update you on how things are going with the baseball team and what we have been up to since last Wednesday.

On Thursday, Jan. 31st, we had weights at 7:30 am. Four of us, myself included, had class at 8:00 am, so we had to do our weight lifting after we got out of class. Later on we had a 30-minute practice and it was all defensive work. We were saving our hours up for the weekend intrasquads. It was similar to our individual work where the outfielders went off and did their fly ball communication and worked on getting reads of the bat while the catchers, infielders, and pitchers did our defensive work together.

Friday, we started the day off right getting strong in the weight room. In an unofficial poll that I did - with no scientific research and or surveys to back up this information - I found out that we are the strongest team in the country. We had practice at 2:45 that afternoon. We started with our team stretch, got loose, did our team defense, pick plays, first and thirds, bunt defense, and then took batting practice. During "BP," some of the pitchers got bullpens in and long toss to prepare for the upcoming weekend.

The weekend that was suppose to be full of us playing got interesting quick. We did our pre-game in-and-out and started playing. Sophomore Jeremy Null and junior Jordan Smith took the ball first. They were looking good out of the gate. I remember vividly: I was sitting in the dugout attempting to stay warm while doing my duty of foul ball manager - which consists of telling people to go get the foul balls while I sat by the heater - and looked over at one of my teammates, also known as Jonathan "the Flamingo" Nadale. I said, "Flamingo, is that snow?"

 He replied with, "I'm from California, ask someone else."

Sure enough, it was snow. It began coming down pretty hard and before you know it, we had to end practice because we couldn't see the ball. Believe it or not, a white ball in white snow is pretty tough to see. Sunday also was a wash because of the lovely blanket of snow that we received from Mother Nature.

Monday (Feb. 4) we hit the weight room as usual at 7:30 am. We had practice that afternoon. We got out to the field on our own, stretched and prepared for an upcoming intrasquad on our own. We had in-and-out at 4:15 pm and first pitch was at 4:30. As expected, we looked tremendous. A few standouts for me were Nadale and sophomore Tyler Powell on the bump. They had all their pitches working and filled up the zone getting guys out. From the offensive side, senior Tyler White hit a homerun which is impossible to defend; redshirt freshman Austin Neary hit the ball hard and collected a few knocks as usual; and junior Luke Gragg got a couple of hits, too.

Tuesday (Feb. 5) was similar to Monday. We stretched and threw, had a little meeting and had a situational intrasquad. Senior Preston Hatcher and I started the intrasquad, throwing an inning apiece. Transfer John McClure and sophomore William Frazier took the mound after us and threw two innings. Mound work continued with freshmen Jonathan Waszak and Thomas Young taking the ball last and throwing three innings.

The biggest thing that stuck out from Tuesday's intrasquad was that Waszak had a huge strikeout. He punched out Luke Gragg to end his unbelievable streak of 111 at bats through the fall and spring practices without a strikeout... Luke is an absolute stud. Reece Strong had a great day with a two RBI single and a double to center. Junior left-hander Dykota Spiess also hit the ball sound, too.

 Wednesday (Feb. 6) and Thursday (Feb. 7) consisted of normal practice days. We sharpened our skills defensively as a unit, hitters worked on their swings and we pitchers continued to strive to perfect our craft.

 Friday (Feb. 8) was scheduled to be another intrasquad day, but because of rain, we did field work to prepare the field to play on Saturday and Sunday. Post field work, we went out to the football field and did our defensive work as a team, our pick plays, run downs, first and third plays and bunt defense. We work hard on our defensive play because pitching and defense win championships... and three-run jacks don't hurt.

 Saturday (Feb. 9) and Sunday (Feb. 10) were intrasquad days. Jordan Smith, Powell, Hunter Brister and Hatcher threw the ball extremely well on Saturday. On Sunday, Morgan McKinney, Adam Curtis, and I continued that theme by pitching well.

 After I got done throwing on a cold Sunday afternoon, the sky opened up and we had to tarp the field and call it a day. Rain can really put a damper on your day (Get it? Rain...damper...). White hit really well this weekend, collecting two homeruns on Sunday. Sophomore Dale Urquhart hit a homerun as well and had four quality at bats.

 That's it for this week and don't forget, FRIDAY IS OPENING DAY. Come out; subscribe to watch the video online (Catamount All-Access - FREE PLUG); whatever you have to do to support your Catamounts!


Attention to all the Catamount baseball fans:


Taylor.jpgI, Taylor Kirkwood Sandefur, am back on my blogging game. I know it has been a while and y'all are probably dying to hear what has been going on with the Catamount baseball team.


First things first, I am going to tell you what I have been up to because that's why everyone reads my blogs...right?


Since my last blog, I have become a master of carpentry. I constructed a coffee table for the living room in my apartment and needless to say, it's the best quality this side of the Mississippi. I also have perfected the art of the jazz flute, and became a certified magician. Houdini who?


Now, let me inform you what the team has been doing since my last blog.


Team fall practice came to a close and we broke off into our small group segment. During this time, us pitchers - also known as the best athletes on the field - would go in four different groups and we would get our work in. We would long toss, throw flat ground, bullpens, work on our defense and go over our overall pitching system.


The hitters broke into groups based on the position they play in the field and they would go hit and do hitter/position player related activities. I never know what they do out there. They are swinging bats and all kinds of wild stuff.


Aside from working on perfecting our craft, we hit the weight room hard. Exam week arrived, we took our exams, and off to Christmas break we went. Over the break, our former strength coaches gave us a packet with all of the lifting and running we were suppose to accomplish while we were gone. Everyone seemed to have put in a good amount of work while they were away.


We have been back for a few weeks now. When we first got back to school, we resumed work in our small groups phase preparing for the season.


A small side note that relates to the season, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEASON. It has been entirely to long (536 days, or 1 year, 5 months, and 17 days, or 46,310,400 seconds) since I put on a uniform and pitched against someone other than my own teammates.


Back to the team, we were lifting Monday, Wednesday and Friday and conditioning Tuesdays and Thursdays. Our team works incredibly hard.


Now you are up to date with a summary of the past couple of months. Currently, we are in our team practice phase. Team practice is exciting. We are wearing baseball pants and are out there as a team; guys are diving, getting dirty, hitting bombs, and throwing cheese - all the good stuff that comes with a baseball game.


Our first official day of team practice got scratched due to bad weather. Instead, we started on Saturday, January 26th. The first practice was a refresher day. We touched on pick plays, first and thirds, bunt defenses and a great deal more. We split up and did individual defense as well. We, the pitchers, did our cords and participated in our throwing drills and had a light day of throwing. The infielders took groundballs and the outfielders caught fly balls. Subsequent to that, we took batting practice and we were off - a quality refresher day to get us back in the swing of things.


Sunday, January 27: we showed up to the field, stretched, threw, took infield and outfield and had an intrasquad scrimmage. Pitchers Jeremy Null, Jordan Smith and Danny Schneider looked really good on the mound. Freshman Reece Strong was protecting the culture and got hit by the pitch three times ... we don't move.


Senior Tyler White looked good at the plate delivering a big fly to left as well as Bryant "Boomer" Noteboom coming threw with a towering homerun. Intrasquads are always bitter sweet, but as a team, we looked excellent. We had a lot of energy and everyone was playing hard.


Monday morning rolls around and the Cats are in the weight room getting after it at 7:30 am. We got a high-quality lift in; some guys had to go to class and learn while Null, White, and myself enjoyed a nice nap because we don't have class on Monday's - just practice at 3:45 pm.


We met in the locker room and observed video from Sunday's intrasquad. There are always first-rate teaching points when watching video review. Once we polished off video review, we were in route to the field. We did our normal pre practice warm up and went straight into cuts and relays, combined with backing up the bases. Once coach felt we had a good grasp on cuts and relays, we moved into batting practice. We got to watch some bombs leave the yard, which is always a exhilarating. Post batting practice, we did fly ball communication and reviewed our priorities on the field and hit the showers.


Tuesday was another intrasquad day. As I write this on Wednesday, it has been pouring rain here all day and it's our off day... so it's a good thing that we got our intrasquad in on Tuesday.


Before starting the game, we did individual defense so our position players could get some more reps, we took infield and outfield, and then we played. Everyone threw in the game, just like on Sunday's game. Null and Smith started the game. Sophomore Tyler Powell, freshman Alex Barr, and senior Preston Hatcher were the three guys that stood out the most for me on the pitching side. On the position player side, Dykota Speiss hit an absolute missile of a homerun to right center field and Jacob Hoyle bounced a foul ball off of Highway 107 and later hit a homerun in the game.


Well, that's all for now. I hope y'all can hold out until my next blog. I would hate it if anyone started having withdraws or getting hives because they cant read my literary magic.

We meet again, Catamount Baseball fans! It's Monday, so in between mixing chemicals, discovering new forms of clean energy and tackling world hunger, you will be getting your weekly update on how the baseball team is doing.

This past week was a wholesome one.  Routinely, we had Monday off. We woke up for our 7:30 am "swole sesh" - aka workouts - and it was raining. That led to us getting Tuesday off as well. That gave our mammoth muscles time to recover and grow. It is a necessity. That night, took a little time to clean the apartment; it smells of rich mahogany. I have many leather bound books as well. I'm kind of a big deal... people know me.

Anyway, we got back on our grind Wednesday, getting back out on the field. We hit a quick summary of defensive work, and then partook in a brief intra-squad scrimmage. Senior leftie Hunter Brister, transfer John McClure, sophomore Jacob Hoyle, redshirt freshman Bryce Danielson, freshman Jonathan Waszack, and sophomore Danny Schneider all spent time on the mound. The pitch calling was pretty arduous. It was intended to get guys to work on the pitches that need some work and challenge us mentally. They executed some pitches, left some over the plate that got hit, but overall, accepted the challenge and did pretty well.

Thursday morning called for another lift. We got after it as usual - by now, that shouldn't come as a surprise considering we look like we are the cast of the movie "300." It's not easy, but it's sheer dedication. Later in the day, we had practice. It was a simple session as we worked on our pick plays, bunt defense, first and third situations, took batting practice, and hit the showers - figuratively, not literally. That would be bad if we literally hit the showers. It may hurt our hands.

Friday morning, the position players got their third lift of the week in. Us pitchers got loose, ran some 100-yard sprints, and then ran to Reid Gym to get a pool work out in. The pool workouts are difficult. First off, you can't breathe under water, which makes it hard on its own. Secondly, swimming isn't easy and is physically demanding. We all parted ways, hit the classroom, and then met back at the field for an intra-squad.

We had a crisp scrimmage. The hitters hit our (as pitchers) mistakes while on the flipside of that, we got the hitters out on some good pitches. Senior leftie Jonathan Nadale, sophomore Jeremy Null and sophomore William Frazier all toed the rubber against crafty senior left-hander Adam Curtis and freshman Colton Davis. Some of the stand outs at the plate - for me, at least - were redshirt freshman Austin Neary, junior Aaron Attaway, sophomore Bradley Strong and senior Tyler White. They looked very confident in the box and were squaring balls up.

Saturday, we got after it again with another tremendous intra-squad game. We gave A+  effort which ended with coach giving us off Sunday. Quick highlights from hitters and pitchers include right-handers junior Jordan Smith, senior Preston Hatcher, and sophomore Tyler Powell. They all really grabbed the bull by the horns and showed how good they really are. The hitters included again, Neary who is having a great fall, and Hoyle who hit a home run and a back side double off the wall.

That's it for this weeks update. We have fall break coming up so be prepared for a little bit of a delay. It's going to be hard and if you go through withdraws, it's ok; it's normal. Everything will be okay, I promise.


Why hello there, loyal Catamount Baseball followers and/or lovers. Sorry for the blog entry being a day later than normal, but in order for me to keep up my image as the perfect model for a student-athlete, I have to do my work.

It's not easy being such a virtuous student, constantly striving for perfection, while doing the exact same thing on the bump. Someone has to do it. Let's get to the heart of the matter and talk about this past week for the Catamounts.

As normal, we had Monday off. Tuesday and Wednesday, we got out on the field and had a noble, crisp practice. We are still in the process of teaching our system into the new players so we insure that every day. Once we have accomplished that, we then split into pitchers and position players.

Our position players get nice and limber for the robust activities that they are about to endure. The position players' work on their defense extremely hard because defense wins championships - and that's what the Cats are all about. Also, they have to perfect their swing because three-run jilly-jacksons (also known as homeruns) win games.

We pitchers break off as a unit and do our band work to protect the rocket like arms that we possess, get loose and start perfecting our craft of slicing and dicing the opposing hitters. Our guys get out there and long toss, throw flat ground bullpens, short boxes and scripted bullpens.

A short box is a bullpen that is off the mound, but the catcher isn't 60-feet, 6-inches away. A scripted pen is a bullpen that has every pitch we have to throw and when to throw it. Coach Moranda composes these and they are designed to be very challenging so that when the season rolls around, we can dominate.

Thursday, we improved our knowledge of our system briefly as we went over our pick plays, rundowns, and first and third situations. Then we had an abbreviated game.

John McClure, Hunter Brister, Adam Curtis and Jonathan Nadale toed the rubber for the pitchers. Intra-squad games are always bittersweet. If the hitters do well, that means the pitchers didn't do so hot and vice versa. McClure - or Peter LaFluer from Average Joes Gymnasium as we like to call him - looked good but was a little erratic and had some walks. No one hit him hard and he managed to battle through it without a lot of damage done. Seniors Adam Curtis and Hunter Brister both looked good with their pinpoint control.

Jonathan Nadale had to battle in the first. His stuff looked good, but he was up in the zone. Junior infielder Aaron Attaway hit an elevated change up down the right field line while a few other guys sprinkled some singles in here and there off the other guys as well. The second inning, Nadale came out and was very distinct. He was putting his fastball where he wanted and forcing guys to swing the bat. The one pitch that stuck out was a slider that he dropped his arm angle a little and it was filthy getting a swing and miss to end his outing.

Friday was a very short, hour and fifteen minute practice. We split up right off the bat and went over our individual defense work. We came back together, did our system as a team, then "27 outs" to end the practice. Twenty-seven outs are how many outs a team has to get to win a baseball game. Considering the fact that defense wins championships, we take this to heart. Sure enough, we dominated it and got 27 outs with ZERO errors. Our fielders are such studs.  

It was time to play ball on Saturday and Sunday.

We took our pregame infield outfield first thing on Saturday and then we started the game. We were split into two teams. Team Alpha Johnson was my team, naturally, hand-picked by our assistant coach, Bruce Johnson. Team Johnson was also hand- picked by our volunteer assistant coach - and former WCU pitcher - Brandon Johnson.

The two teams were picked via draft style. They went back and forth picking players. The hitters tore it up on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Austin Neary looked really upright, as he has all fall, scorching balls all over the field. Attaway followed suit by hitting a homerun. Bryant Noteboom squared the ball up a few times, as well as Bradley Strong.

On the mound, Jacob Hoyle, Danny Schneider, William Frazier, Dillion Bray, Colton Davis and Bryce Danielson all threw. Danielson and Davis looked the sharpest in my opinion. They were throwing a bushel of low strikes and getting the hitters to swing the bat furthermore getting outs. Team Alpha Johnson pulled out the victory.

Sunday was a different story. The pitchers did a really good job of limiting the hitters to mostly singles and a few doubles hear and there. Attaway again hit a homerun - the stud. Noteboom hit a double off the left center wall that was absolutely hammered and Neary continued to swing a hot bat. Jeremy Null, Jordan Smith, Waszack, Schneider, Alex Barr, Danielson and Preston Hatcher took the mound. Overall, everyone preformed exceedingly well. It was tremendous seeing both the position players and the pitchers have good days.

We are continuing to work hard and strive for excellence to bring home a ring to Fortress Cullowhee. The Left Field Lunatics would be so proud of us. That's it for now. Check in next week to catch up on what the Catamount Baseball team is getting into.

P.S. - Shout out to Ryan Kontra, a Mechanicsville native as well, for his inspiration and motivation. 

Baseball's Taylor Sandefur Blog No. 2


I am in the midst of preparing for a candle lit dinner that will include a lovely steak, with some mashed potatoes and other assorted side items you may see in a Five-Star restaurant. I'm such a good cook that I have been offered to go be a chef in France.

Instead, I will just eat my Five-Star meals and crawl into bed with the book "Fifty Shades of Grey," and slip off into dreamland. But before all of that can happen, I would like to give y'all an update on Catamount Baseball.

This past week, we got down and dirty. We had Monday off, and then turned around and had off on Tuesday due to rain. We still got into the weight room Tuesday morning, hit it hard and washed it down with a relaxing cup of chocolate milk, as per the usual.

Last Wednesday was a beautiful day for us to have scout day. We had a good turn out of Major League Baseball scouts come out to watch us play. We ran our 60-yard dash and let the scouts get the times. Juniors Julian Ridings and Aaron Attaway were our fastest two guys. We took infield and outfield practice to get ready for the game, then it was time to play ball. Our guys looked great.

The highlight of the day at the plate was junior Luke Gragg sending a ball to souvenir city. What a stud. Senior Tyler White hit a double down the right field line in his first at bat during scout day.

From the pitching side, we also looked sharp as well. We all know the best athletes on the field are pitchers - coming from a pitcher - so this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Our weekend rotation from last year looked sharp which includes junior Jordan Smith, redshirt senior Morgan McKinney and sophomore Jeremy Null. Senior RHP Preston Hatcher brought his filthy slider out to play while striking out the last batter he faced. Senior leftie Adam Curtis had pin point control while just filling up the bottom half of the zone.

On Thursday, we had weight training in the morning and a normal practice in the afternoon where we continued to implement our system to our new players and review it for our older guys. Then on Friday, the position players got another lift in and our pitchers, naturally, went above and beyond.

We got nice and loose then proceeded to run over to "Omaha Hill." This hill is an absolute beast. We had to run up half way up the hill, jog back down then we ran all the way to the top of the hill. We stopped and waited for everyone to get to the top, and then we ran back to the weight room to indulge in some chocolate milk and Gatorade. That afternoon, we had practice. For the first half, we went over our system again and the second half we had a mini intrasquad. We didn't get to finish it so we had to delay it until the start of practice Saturday morning.

At the start of practice Saturday, we got loose and then started right where we left off. A dimension triangle - which is you start at home, run to right field and back, centerfield and back, then left field and back - was on the line.

Team A was losing. Team B had Jonathan Waszak on the mound and Team A (my squad) had Julian Ridings up to bat. It was two outs with freshman catcher Danny Bermudez on first base. We had to have Bermudez score to win. Waszak fell behind in the count, 2-0. He proceeded to even the count at two balls and two strikes.

His next pitch is a ball... it is 3-2. On the pay-off pitch, Waszak throws a fastball on the outer half and Ridings smokes it in the right center gap. Bermudez got a good jump at first and starts to run his little heart out. He ends up scoring and Team A wins on a walk-off double. We were so pumped!

We then turned around and played another game right after that. We had most of our younger guys throw.  Thomas Young looked pretty good. He has a clean arm action and good life on his fastball. Null threw and looked superb.

Sunday, included another intrasquad. We hit BP (aka batting practice), took infield and outfield and then it was time to play ball.

On Saturday, out pitchers were the high note; Sunday, however, was the opposite. Our hitters went off. Junior Dakota Speiss hit an absolutely towering home run over the right field wall while redshirt freshman Austin Neary put some good swings on the ball and was on base frequently. Ridings again looked good, getting on base and getting a base hit or two. Max Linnville hit a double to right field - he plays extremely hard and I love it. It gets me fired up.

 Overall for the week of practicing and playing, we put up an A+ effort. The Cats are preparing to do big things. That's all for today. Hopefully this will hold you loyal followers over until the next one.

Baseball's Taylor Sandefur Blog No. 1


My name is Taylor Sandefur and I am a redshirt junior on the Western Carolina Catamount baseball team. I am from Mechanicsville, Va., and am majoring in communication. Entering this year, I am coming off of shoulder surgery and can't wait to get back out on the field after sitting out last season.

 After not being able to play last year, it hit me what my favorite thing about baseball is simply the ability to play the game. You don't realize how much something means to you until you lose it. I enjoy candle lit dinners, long walks on the beach and a good romance novel. I dabble in lots of different activities and to list them all would take you days to read.

It is the middle of September and we just had our first weekend of team practice. Leading up to that opening team practice, we have been working extremely hard to get ready for the fall. We have been running and conditioning, lifting and working on our skills individually to be as ready as possible for fall practice. We are a very dedicated group of guys and we love to play the game of baseball.

Our first weekend of team practice went extremely well. On Friday (Sept. 14), we had a good day of skills work focusing a lot on the defensive side of the ball. We introduced our new players to our system and tried to slow everything down so that they understand. At the end of practice, the hitters got to hit and the pitchers shagged some fly balls - all while staying out of the way of our stud outfielders, of course. Then we packed it in on a good first day and ready for the intrasquad scrimmages to start.

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15 and 16, we got to play. We hit some defensive notes really quick and took infield outfield practice before we dividing up and playing the game. All of our senior and junior pitchers threw on Saturday with the exception of myself so that I could have an extra day of rest to get ready.

Our older guys looked good; we did a good job of throwing strikes and keeping the hitters off balance. Sunday, the sophomores and freshman got to throw. The big surprise was how well our freshman pitchers did. They also filled up the strike zone and made the other guys swing the bat.

While the pitchers did a good job as a whole, so did the hitters. Most of our hitters haven't seen live pitching since this summer which makes it really hard to just jump back in the box and start hitting again. But overall, our hitters did just fine. We had two guys hit home runs.

Overall, the intrasquad games were good for both sides.

Collectively as a team, we are going to put in a good week of work for this up coming week and keep working hard to bring home a championship to "Fortress Cullowhee," as dubbed by our loyal fan group on the hill, the "Left Field Lunatics."

That it for my first blog entry and there will be more to come.


Recent Comments

    Preston Jacobsen said:

    Nice mention Taylor! Us Left Field Loonies will certainly be ready! We are working on a website as we speak and looking to get sponsored by a few local companies! Omaha! Omaha! Big goals.

    in post Baseball's Taylor Sandefur Blog No. 1