Chico State Assistant baseball Coach Joe Garcia talks hitters’ approach


Third base coach Jose Garcia looks at one of his players on first base to give him a sign. Photo Credit: Alex Grant

Austin Schreiber

Anyone who has played baseball before knows that hitting is no easy task. Making contact with a 90 mph fastball is already difficult enough. Throw in pitchers who throw 75 mph change-ups, curveballs and sliders that sweep across the plate and hitting the ball becomes even more complicated.

That’s why having an approach at the plate is one of the most important things in the game of baseball. Chico State baseball Assistant Coach Jose Garcia, who has worked closely with the Chico State baseball team’s hitters for the past six years, emphasized that his players should always have a clear plan when they are at the plate.

Garcia talked about how his team works on their approach at the plate in practice.

“The one thing that we take pride in is situational hitting,” Garcia said. “That is something we do on a daily basis. We work on sacrifice bunting, push bunts and drag bunting. We also get our hit and runs in and work on specific situations… (For example) Runner on third base with less than two outs. Whether it’s a ground ball up the middle or a fly ball to the outfield, we work on getting that runner in. That is why we have been so successful in the past. We find ways to get guys on and get them around.”

Manufacturing runs has definitely been a major part of the Wildcats game plan this season, and with power numbers down overall, this is how the ‘Cats have manufactured wins as well. Recently the team’s power has started to come back.

When asked if the team has worked on anything different in batting practice lately, Garcia said their approaches have stayed the same.

“We don’t go out there and work on hitting home runs, we work on hitting the gaps and hitting hard line drives,” Garcia said. “During the Sonoma series, we hit five balls that got caught at the fence and the wind was blowing straight in that day. Some days you have good conditions and the ball flies a little further. That’s when a lot of the home runs come, so it really just depends.”

One of the last things that Assistant Coach Garcia emphasizes is the importance of having a good two-strike approach. Being able to produce under pressure is one of the most difficult things to do in any sport and baseball is no different.

“When we go out and recruit guys, we look at their strikeout to walk numbers and find guys that have tough at bats and refuse to strikeout,” Garcia said. “We find guys that put pressure on the defense.”

Approach is everything at Chico State baseball and the team doesn’t plan on changing theirs anytime soon. Manufacturing runs has been a key part of their game thus far and will likely continue to be for the remainder of the season.

The Wildcats are currently sitting in second place in conference with a 13-5 record.

Garcia summed up how he works with hitters, recruitment and the hitters’ approach.

“The big thing for us to hone in on offense is continuing to get on base,” he said. “Find a way to get on base and we’ll find a way to manufacture a run. If we continue to stick to that approach, I think we’ll do great.”

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.