HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Low Single-A Hagerstown Suns third baseman Matt Skole turned in an impressive performance last week, going 4-for-4 with two homers, four runs and five RBIs in a win over Hickory on May 15.
That highlight game emphasized how well Skole has been performing at the plate so far this season, hitting .303 with seven doubles, eight homers and 41 RBIs in 35 games.
Skole said the 4-for-4 performance was a big change for him after a recent 2-for-15 streak.
“It was nice because I have been struggling here a little bit,” Skole said. “To finally break out of a slump with a big game like that is a confidence booster for me. It really helped just working every day in the cage trying to get out of it (was nice).
“It was a little bittersweet doing it back where my brother (Jake) used to play in Hickory, so those guys got to see what the other Skole was about.”
Skole’s brother Jake plays for the high Single-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, and they constantly check in with each other to see how they are progressing each game.
“Me and my brother Jake are best friends,” Skole said. “We live together in the offseason. We call each other every night, unless he doesn’t have a very good night. Just kidding. We help each other through stuff. We know each other’s swings better than anybody. It is really good to have a partner like that when you are going through the pro ball lifestyle to reassure you that everything is going to be okay throughout the process.”
Skole said the coaching from Gary Cathcart at short-season Auburn and now from Hagerstown manager Brian Daubach and hitting coach Mark Harris has accelerated his progress in the pros.
“I learned something new every day,” Skole said. “These guys in our system are amazing coaches, and the way they teach the game is just really mind-blowing. You take that all in and make adjustments.
Skole knows that implementing teaching points into your approach don’t happen overnight. It takes constant repetition, at-bat after at-bat to get to where it becomes second nature.
“It is a long season,” Skole said. “There will be times where you are not doing the exact right things. These guys help you get through those points and keep you on a mental aspect of it as well. They have been a huge help to me and my success the last two years.”
Skole said he has also worked on his defensive skills at third base under the tutelage of infield coordinator Jeff Garber.
“We work on fundamentals every day and it’s been getting better and better,” Skole said. “It is a work in progress. I came in at third base a little rusty, and it is the same thing with hitting. It is every day. It is working, working and working to get to a certain point where I am not at yet. Jeff is working with me a lot, first at instructs, spring training and now.”