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Skyhawk hurler soaks in Cape Cod experience

Skyhawk hurler soaks in Cape Cod experience

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 pm

It was quite a summer for UT Martin rising senior pitcher Dan Tobik.
He not only earned the chance to play in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, but his team captured the championship in the nation’s premier summer organization.
Tobik played for the Wareham Gatemen, who finished with a regular-season record of 21-23. However, the Gatemen played some of their best ball toward the end of the season, winning their final four games of the regular season before going 6-1 in the playoffs.
Wareham’s spectacular run was capped off with an 8-6 victory over Yarmouth-Dennis in the championship game on Aug. 17. It was Wareham’s first Cape Cod title since 2002.
Playing under head coach Cooper Farris, Tobik was one of the most relied upon pitchers this summer. He made 14 appearances (four starts), earning mound victories against Falmouth (June 16) and Chatham (July 29). He also earned a save on Aug. 5 at Falmouth.
In eight of Tobik’s 14 appearances, the hard-throwing right-hander recorded two or more strikeouts.
During one stretch in particular, Tobik’s mound presence turned some heads. In a three-game stretch from July 26 through Aug. 3, he struck out 15 batters over 5.2 innings, recording all but two outs via the strikeout. Overall, he fanned 39 batters in 30.1 innings for an 11.6 strikeout-per-nine-innings ratio.
Skyhawk head coach Bubba Cates paid Tobik a visit over the summer, when the Gatemen were holding a workout at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.
“I think this summer was an eye-opening experience for Dan,” Cates said. “One thing I noticed when I visited was his dedication — he was always in the weight room. He got into a spot where every other guy was a good player and it’s not just about talent at that level. It’s about work ethic and a desire to get better all the time. Talented players are out there all over the place, but the good ones work. That has to be the thing that separates them from the rest of the pack.”
Tobik has excelled in a variety of roles in his UT Martin career. He was the team’s dominant set-up man as a freshman when his 3.63 ERA ranked second in the Ohio Valley Conference. As a sophomore in 2011, he was the Skyhawks’ No. 1 starter – leading the OVC in games started (15) and innings pitched (91).
Plain and simple, Tobik was one of the league’s best relievers for the duration of the 2012 campaign. The 6-4 right-hander led the league in opponents batting average (.212), strikeouts per nine innings (10.80) and least home runs allowed (zero in 55 innings). He also ranked amongst the league leaders in least hits allowed per nine innings (7.20, second) and ERA (2.78, third).
The 6-4 Ballwin, Mo., native notched either a victory or a save in 86 percent of the Skyhawks’ OVC wins in 2012. Tobik racked up 17 multi-strikeout appearances (11 of three or more) and also did not allow an earned run in 17 of his appearances, as his ERA never rose above 3.44 all spring.
Published in The WCP 8.23.12

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