After hitting a respectable .289, with a solid 15 RBIs as a junior last year for , senior third baseman Blake Besancenez realized he needed to work on a few things if he was going to become the hitting star he always knew he could be.
Besancenez never really considered changing his stance or anything about his approach or what pitches to swing at.
What he did decide to change was his mannerisms and activity at the plate.
“I just knew I had to work on staying more calm at the plate, and not have so much motion,” Besancenez said. “The first thing I did, and really the only thing I did, was slow it down and try to see (the ball) deep. And that ended up working out for me.”
Boy, has it ever.
This season, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder came into this, the final week of the regular season, with an incredible .568 batting average, which is nearly 300 points higher than what he hit last year, and ranks as the second-highest hitting mark in the entire St. Louis area.
Needless to say, that’s why even with the fractured right wrist he’s been playing with for the last two weeks, Besancenez is the O’Fallon Patch Spotlight Athlete of the Week.
“Things have been going good,” Besancenez said. “I made the changes last summer, and they worked. So I decided to keep them for this year, and they still work.”
Factor in the 14 walks Besancenez has taken this season, and the .704 on-base percentage he had coming into the week, was the best in the area.
For those not totally in-tune with what baseball stats mean, Besancenez’s .704 OBA means that by basehit or walk, he gets on base 70 percent of the team.
That basically means seven out of every 10 times head coach Jason Theodorakos sends Besancenez to the plate, the coach might as well send the next guy up too, because unless something unique happens, the Southeast Missouri State University-recruit is going to get on base.
“I’m just seeing the ball real well,” Besancenez said.
At the rate he’s hitting, many are speculating that Besancenez would be the easy choice for Most Improved Player in the area this year.
That selection almost seems like a moot point now. The new talk is if he can keep hitting at a near .570 clip, and keep reaching base at a .700 pace, Besancenez could put himself into the Area Player of the Year discussion.
“I’d be completely surprised,” Besancenez said. “I’m not really expecting any awards.”
What Besancenez clearly has concerned himself with is getting his team ready for the district playoffs, which begin for Barat on Saturday, when the Eagles (13-8) will take on Crossroads College Prep, at 2 p.m., at Brentwood High.
Should the second-seeded Eagles win that game, they would advance to the district semifinals, again at Brentwood, on Monday, May 16, against the winner of Saturday’s Maplewood Richmond Heights-Cleveland NJROTC first-round game.
The winner of that district semifinal will advance to the district championship game, Thursday, May 17 at 5 p.m., at Brentwood.
“The way it’s turning out right now, I feel real good,” Besancenez said. “The way we’re hitting the ball, fielding the ball, we’re doing everything right. We’re executing, and that’s what it takes.”