|Hayes again set for UC mound debut |
There’s no ifs ands or buts about it.
Drew Hayes will pitch tonight for the Union City Greyhounds.
The McKenzie High School graduate and current Vanderbilt hurler will make his mound debut tonight (weather permitting) when UC entertains the first-place Owensboro Oilers in Kitty League action.
It is the third time this week that Hayes has been the projected starting pitcher for the Greyhounds. The 6-foot-1 fireballer was tabbed to pitch Tuesday against Fulton before a personal issue arose that had to be attended to.
It was also told that he would pitch Thursday evening, but Greyhounds’ manager Jonathan Estes elected to start Jud Stoltz on the hill and use Hayes as a designated hitter.
Still, Hayes is ready for his opportunity to take to the mound and give the Union City faithful a glimpse of the arm that made him the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association’s Player of the Year in 2006 and the 2005 Class A Mr. Football.
“Drew has what it takes to be one of the best pitchers in this league,” Estes said. “With the talent he has already faced in the SEC and how hard he throws, he can be very successful here.”
However, there will be a transition for the star pitcher, who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 29th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft but chose not to sign.
Hayes made only three starts in 21 outings with Vandy this season, during which he pitched out of the bullpen and thrived with a 2-1 record, a 3.51 earned run average and two saves in 41 innings pitched.
“I’ve been doing some conditioning and sprint workouts at home to make sure my arm is in shape and I’m in condition to be a starter again,” Hayes said after Thursday’s victory. “I may not be up to the pitch counts that I was in high school or at Bethel during my first year in college in my first two or three starts, but I think I will be able to work up to that mark.”
Hayes could also factor as an offensive threat with his college coach Tim Corbin wanting him to get some at-bats this summer in the hopes of using him possibly in the infield when needed next season.
“My coach at Vandy told me to hit and get some at-bats this summer,” Hayes said. “Hopefully, I can find my swing and be able to post numbers like I did when I was at Bethel.”
At Bethel in 2007, Hayes feasted on NAIA pitching with a .320 batting average, seven home runs and 38 RBI.
Sports reporter Kenneth Coker can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.