Another update on 17-year old collegiate baseball phenom Bryce Harper who is playing for the College of Southern Nevada. He is batting .323, 10-31 with 2 HRs and 9 RBI. The Coyotes are off to a very good start at 8-0.
Bryce's baseball coach Tim Chambers on the latest with Bryce and Southern Nevada:
"The team has done really well. It was pretty crazy the first week with 40 scouts in attendance for that first game."
In the opening week, "Bryce played good. His first game he hit a sac fly when they tried to intentionally walk him. Bryce noticed the pitcher wasn't throwing the pitches far enough outside and asked the home plate umpire if was good where his stance was so close to the plate. The umpire said he was good."
"There were men on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. Bryce reached out and hit the next pitch for a sac fly and almost got enough to hit it out."
With some early struggles for Bryce at the plate, Coach Chambers looked for a remedy:
"After Bryce went 0-14 versus Yavapai we noticed he was dropping down on the back side of his stance.
"The scouts were telling me he was jumpin' too much and he was nervous. I told them, 'no, he's not.'
We told him to squat down a little more overall in his stance, spread out a little at the plate, similar to his stance two years ago coming off the USA team. He stopped going to his back side and started to hit again."
What about his two home runs?
"He has 10 hits so far and most of them are for extra bases. His home run Friday was the first one I have seen over the center field wall, (Coach Chambers has been at CSN for 11 years) which is 400 feet to dead center and it's a 20 foot wall. It was a bomb."
How is he doing behind the plate?
"Defensively, he is catching and throwing well. He bailed us out of an inning in an earlier game. Last Sunday, we were in a jam. He back picked first base, but the guy got back. Then he picked a runner off of second base, hung the guy out from his knees."
And he can steal a base or two as well?
"He has a couple of stolen bases for us. But most of his hits have been for extra bases. His slugging is .677."
So what else did you tell Bryce when he was struggling early on?
"When he got into a little funk last week I told him to be himself. Someone had got to him and told him to stop wearing his war paint. I told him 'be Bryce'.
Wear your war paint. (If you haven't seen his eye black before, it basically goes from under his eyes to his chin). Slap your hands. Spit on your hands. Go through your entire at-bat ritual that you did when you were hitting well.
I think he is starting to turn a corner (at the plate). He hits our guys in scrimmages. Most of his problems were mechanical. We saw it on video of his at-bats. Again, Bryce is playing good."
And you are keeping Bryce away from the press right now?
"We are keeping him away from the media as much as possible. We want him to just be a college kid right now. Play baseball. And be a kid in college."