Thursday, May 12, 2011
Player Perspective: Matt Walsh
By Brendan Hall
What stands out more about Plymouth North senior catcher Matt Walsh: that he's throwing guys out at second at an 80 percent clip this season, or that he's 4 for 5?
That's right, the Franklin Pierce-bound catcher, an ESPNBoston Preseason All-State selection, has allowed just one stolen base all season -- and at that, runners have tested his live arm just five times through 14 games for the 13-1 Eagles. The 6-foot, 215-pounder can also rake; headed into this week, he was leading the Atlantic Coast League in batting average (.595) and RBI (24), and had pelted two home runs. In today's 4-3 win over Dennis-Yarmouth, he hit a deep bomb to left field for a stand-up double in his only hit of the day.
Behind Walsh and a steady stable of pitchers, the Eagles came into the season as a favorite to make their third appearance in the Division 2 state championship game in four seasons. And so far, they've lived up to the hype. Walsh sat down with ESPNBoston.com following the win in South Yarmouth -- which clinched a share of the ACL for the Eagles -- to discuss his play so far this season.
In addition to garnering respect on the base path (just five steal attempts), Plymouth North's Matt Walsh is crushing the ball (.595, 24 RBIs).
Q: Where do you credit your arm strength? A: "I've worked a lot in the offseason on my arm strength, but a lot of that goes to my pitchers. They work really hard at keeping the runners close to the bag, and that helps me out a ton. They do a good job."
Q: What kind of goals did you set for the team and yourself this season? A: "Our team goals, we have three: beat [Plymouth] South, which we did twice; win the ACL, we just did that, we win Monday it'll be outright; and win the state championship, definitely...Individually? None really. I just want to win. That's all I really care about."
Q: You're swinging the bat pretty well at that plate. How much attention have you put into that? A: "In the offseason, I work out putting in swings every day at my dad's place. My dad [Tim Walsh] owns a hitting facility [Gorilla Baseball, at the JunglePlex in Plymouth] with Scott Savastano. He's helped me out a lot this offseason, and he plays for the Seattle Mariners [NOTE: Savastano is currently with the Double-A Jackson Generals]. He taught me a lot about swings and stances, and everything like that."
Q: One of your old teammates, Joey Flynn, is already at Franklin Pierce and plays not too far from here during the summer for the Wareham Gatemen, in the Cape Cod League. Is that a goal of yours to play with him on the Cape? A: "Oh yeah, absolutely. I've set my limits as high as they can go, so absolutely. I plan on watching a lot of his games this summer."
Q: Take Me through your pregame routine. What are you doing to get ready? A: "We'll get off the bus, and I'll usually go to the field and stretch. We'll take BP as a team, then I'll come over and get all my stuff ready, then stretch again, run a little bit, then throw with the team in the outfield. I'll go catch some out of the bullpen, then I'm ready to play."
Q: When you throw a guy out at second, how does it feel? A: "Obviously happy, pumped up I guess (laughs). But it's my job, and it has to be done, so I don't really stay on it too long. It's over with right after, you've got to look beyond that."
Q: Best moment of your career so far? A: "Winning the state championship my freshman year (2008), definitely. Hopefully, we'll get another one (smiles)."