Created on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 20:06
|Junior outfielder Tyler Tewell swings at a pitch that resulted in a triple play in Tuesday evening’s game. Tewell has an eight-ball hitting streak. The team’s record with Tewell starting at right field is 25-9. Paul Heckert | The Appalachian |
According to head coach Chris Pollard, Appalachian State’s right fielder brings all five tools to the table.
Six, if you include his name.
Junior Tyler Tewell can hit for power and contact and has turned himself into a good defensive outfielder with a strong arm. Combined with his smart base running—three stolen bases in five attempts—Tewell certainly has all the tools.
And after Appalachian’s 6-2 win over High Point Tuesday, Tewell leads all Mountaineers in batting average with an incredible .396, good enough for second in the Southern Conference.
“He’s had a great year and I’m proud of his development as a player,” Coach Pollard said. “Even though it’s not his natural position, he has turned himself into a very good defensive outfielder and certainly one of the best arms in the Southern Conference.”
Despite starting just 25 games in 2011 due to injury, Tewell has been a model of consistency for ASU, raking in the third most hits and leading the team in doubles with 14.
“Last year, injuries kind of affected the way I played,” Tewell said. “This year, I wanted to take care of my body more and I feel like I’ve done that.”
But the most important attribute Tewell brings to the table is his energy in the clubhouse.
“Well, I don’t really like him,” fellow outfielder Preston Troutman said. “I’m just kidding. He’s pretty funny and he always brings people up when they’re down, so it’s good to have him around.”
Tewell tries to keep the team loose. He even started a new Mountaineer tradition: before every game, during the introduction songs for the team, Tewell pretends to be a maestro and “conducts” his teammates in an imaginary orchestra.
“It’s just something I came up with and I thought it would be funny,” Tewell said. “We act a lot of things out and I thought hey, let’s try this out, and it just developed into what you see now.”
If baseball doesn’t work out, Troutman joked that Tewell might have a job conducting orchestras later in life.
It’s fitting, because Tewell has been instrumental for ASU’s offense. He was a huge help to SoCon triple-crown threat Daniel Kassouf.
“Kassouf had better take Tewell out to dinner once a week because he provides Kassouf a lot of protection,” Coach Pollard said. “With the way Tewell is playing, guys have to pitch to Kassouf. And not only is he putting up good numbers for himself, he’s making the guys in front of him better.”
Tewell believes the Mountaineers have a shot at winning the SoCon. They’ll have to rely not only on his bat, but his influence on the team’s mood.
“You’ve got to stay loose,” Tewell said. “There’s a time and a place to play tight, but for the most part, you have to come out loose and play with energy, and that’s kind of the motto we live by.”Story: JAKE AMBERG, Sports Editor
Photo: PAUL HECKERT, Photographer