Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

Revealing Lansing’s unlikely power hitter

August 11, 2005

Take a quick glance in the Lansing Cavalry's dugout and try to pick out the team's top home run hitter.

Odds are you'd pick out Matt Mowery, Lansing's burly first baseman. He had the look of a power hitter, as well as the game. Mowery was known for smashing doubles to the fence, but his three home runs were only second on the team.

Unless you attended most games this summer, though, you likely wouldn't guess Jeff Terrill. After all, he's just 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds.

"Nobody's going to look at me as a power hitter, as small as I am," Terrill said. "But hey, I'll take whatever edge I can get."

Terrill's size may be deceiving, but his statistics aren't. He led the Cavalry with six home runs this summer. During the spring he led the Lansing High varsity baseball team with four homers. Not just a home run hitter, though, Terrill also gets his share of line-drive doubles in the gap.

"He gets his money's worth up there," Cavalry coach Jake Hanson said. "He takes some cuts."

The secret to Terrill's powerful swing doesn't come from supplements or heavy lifting.

"It's all in the hips," he said. "You've just got to know how to do it. My dad (Randall Terrill) taught me how to swing with everything and really explode through the ball whenever you hit. Whenever I throw my hips into it, I seem to have that knack right now that when I make contact the ball just goes."

There was a stretch early in the summer when the ball wasn't going anywhere for Terrill. He wasn't seeing the ball well and he was striking out frequently. Eventually the hitting came around.

"Through the first 10 or 12 games he was hitting in the low 100s," Hanson said. "Now he's hitting in the high 300s."

When Terrill found his groove at the plate, he also showed improvement in the other aspects of his game. He threw better on the mound. He played better defense at third base. He made more noise in the dugout.

"If you're off somewhere, you're going to be off a lot of other places, and whenever you find one groove you're going to put it all together," Terrill said.

When not playing baseball, Terrill always seemed to find a way to be around the game. He umpired three to four night a week this summer.

Terrill plans to continue honing his baseball skills this fall. He will play in a weekend league at Johnson County 3&2 with Lansing teammates Mike Amaral, Kyle Hutchison and Cody Mohan. Terrill's father will coach the team.

Terrill will wrestle again this winter, but he said he had aspirations of playing college baseball. Hanson said he believed Terrill was talented enough to play at the college level.

"He's definitely got the potential to do that," Hanson said. "It's going to be interesting to see what he can do his senior year."


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