Difficult does it for SIUE outfielder Woodcock
Justin Woodcock is something of a contradiction.
The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville junior outfielder says his favorite past of baseball is overcoming its adversity and challenges.
Then he goes out and makes it look too easy.
Woodcock has been on a tear in the early season, hitting so well in four early April games that he earned the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Player of the Week Award.
“It was just an honor to get it,” Woodcock said.
In the span of those April 4-9 games, Woodcock hit a blistering .733 with a home run and five doubles to go with eight runs scored and five RBIs. In the weekend series against Eastern Kentucky, Woodcock had an on-base percentage of .800 and a slugging percentage of 1.545. The Cougars went 3-1 in those four games.
“It seemed like every pitch that came in — whether it was a curveball, fastball, changeup — looked like it was good to hit,” he said.
Woodcock's offensive outburst for the Cougars is a major improvement from last year.
In games through April 18 this year, Woodcock batted .351 — which ranked No. 17 in the OVC — with an on-base percentage of .448 and a slugging percentage of .522. Last season, his numbers in those categories were .286, .384 and .434, respectively.
“I didn't hit very well last year -- not as well as I would've liked to -- so it's kind of nice kind of bouncing back and hitting well this season,” he said. “Overall, in every category, it's been a lot better.”
Woodcock credited much his improvement to maturing mentally.
“I've gone through similar struggles, you know, same type of struggles that I did last year,” he said. “It's just this year, it's like I've been through it, so I kind of know how to get out of it and what kinds of things to focus on.”
Woodcock also made “small, mechanical adjustments” and took on some different drill work.
“I'd say the biggest thing is my approach at the plate, looking for certain pitches, certain locations and things like that, and just sticking with the process of the season instead of letting one mistake kind of carry over,” he said.
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Edwardsville, IL 62025