Upton fights through slump with Hinds CCPublished 12:06am Tuesday, March 26, 2013
NATCHEZ — After a strong start to the season, former Cathedral High School catcher Caleb Upton hit a bit of a rough patch.
In a doubleheader, Upton went 4-for-6 in his Hinds Community College debut Feb. 15. After going strong for a few more games, Upton said he hit a stretch of a week and a half where he wasn’t hitting well.
“Here lately I’ve picked it back up,” Upton said. “Right now I’d guess I’m hitting above .300, though I don’t have my exact stats. As far as catching goes, everything has been good.”
Upton blamed a hitch in his swing for the offensive drought.
“I figured it out and worked it out,” Upton said. “The hardest thing about baseball is staying confident when you’re going through a rough stretch. You have to analyze your swing, pick out the thing that feels wrong and focus on that.”
Catching in college isn’t too different than in high school, since most of Hinds’ games go seven innings. But Upton said doubleheaders begin to wear him out after a while when he catches both.
“I have to keep my mental focus (when that happens),” Upton said. “The next day, I’m sore, and I’ve never felt that with baseball before. I feel like it’s been a football game.”
The biggest difference Upton said he’s noticed going from high school to college is the game speed. This often proves true when trying to pick off runners as a catcher.
“I know I have to be on my A-game with every pitch,” Upton said.
At the same time, Upton said he enjoys the college life, which has allowed him to focus more on baseball.
“The great thing about college is, you can go to class at 8 or 9 and be done by 12,” Upton said. “You have more time to work on baseball. I think that’s what’s helped me get a lot better this year.”
With a new school comes a new set of teammates, a far cry from what Upton saw at Cathedral, where he was playing with athletes he grew up around. But Upton said he’s used to getting to know new people when it comes to baseball, and he credited playing travel ball as a child for making the adjustment easy.
“At first, you don’t really know anyone, but after a couple of weeks they’re like your best friends,” Upton said. “Baseball is your common ground, and you kind of connect after that.”
If there’s one thing Upton misses about high school, it’s throwing the ball — whether it’s as a pitcher or a quarterback.
“I do miss pitching,” Upton said. “I feel like I’m in complete control of the game (when I pitch). I was competitive out there, but I know my place is not on the mound in college.”
“I miss (football) all the time. I miss the Friday nights.”
Upton is the son of Jeff and Sonya Upton.