For The Tribune
If there is anything you want to know about playing left field at Seymour’s American Legion Field, just ask Seth Maki.
He has been the starter for the Owls baseball team at that position the past three seasons.
“Left field is one of the hardest positions in the outfield due to facing right-handed batters,” Maki said. “They get around on the ball a lot more and hit harder shots to you. It’s definitely difficult to read line drives to left field. That is probably the most challenging thing. The longer I’ve played out there, it has just come natural to me. It’s just repetitions over and over. You get used to it pretty quick.”
Maki said the way the ball comes at him sometimes depends on the location of the pitch.
“If the pitcher throws it on the inside part of the plate and a right-handed batter pulls it, it’s going to tail like a lefty is hitting it, so it’s going to tail toward the line, as well,” Maki said. “But if it’s a pitch over the middle and they hit it to left field, then it’s normally going to be either a straight shot to the gap or it’s going to be straight to you.”
The senior said it takes communication between him and the center fielder on a ball hit into the gap, and he communicates with the shortstop on a fly ball hit into short left field.
“When it comes down to that, you’ve got an outfielder that is running full speed or a mid-infielder that is running backward looking up at the sky not knowing where you are, so if you don’t communicate, it’s going to end pretty badly with you running full speed at him,” Maki said.
“If it’s halfway into the outfield,and you can get to it, the outfielder should always call off the middle infielder just because they’ve got a better angle at the ball. We’ve got communication for everything, whether it’s ‘fence’ for the outfielder, just letting them know where the fence is so they don’t smack into it or whether it’s just each other. Communication is everything out there.”
Offensively, he has split times between batting third and fourth this spring.
Maki said he hasn’t hit the ball as well this season as he did the past two seasons when he topped the Owls in offense.
This season, Maki is seeing different pitches.
“This year, being the third and fourth batter, I’ve seen a lot more breaking balls and curveballs than fastball,” Maki said. “That’s what I was struggling with. (Where I stand) varies pitcher to pitcher. Some will throw their breaking stuff a little bit harder so it breaks a little harder and later, then some will throw it a little slower and you’ll see is break before it comes across the plate.
“Normally, my first at-bat, I’ll just stay back in the box to see what the pitcher’s got, see how good his breaking ball is or how fast his fastball is. If I think they’ll throw a breaking pitch, I like to scoot up in the box so I can get the bat on it before it breaks. I like pitches belt-high and a little bit inside.”
Maki considers himself a contact hitter.
“I’m not a big singles hitter,” he said. “I like doubles, triples and home runs, so I like to take big cuts at the plate and hopefully get the best out of it.”
Maki hit two home runs at home his junior year.
He enjoys the home games.
“I’m more of a home guy rather than an away guy,” Maki said. “We had more away games than what we did last year. That kind fluctuates how we play. If it’s a longer drive, then we’re going to be a little stiffer at the plate that night.”
Maki, who said he began playing baseball in T-ball, said baseball is always competitive, and he gets to meet new people every year.
“You’re not seeing all the same guys every single year,” he said. “It gets a little challenging. You just can’t go up to a team and say, ‘We faced this kid last year’ when they have a new challenge up there. It’s a new challenge every day.”
He has enjoyed attending Seymour High School.
“The classroom is probably the most important part when it comes to sports,” he said. “If you don’t get the job done in the classroom, then you’re not going to be able to go out there and participate in the sport you want to participate in.
“I like the teachers and the way that they teach. I like the way everything is set up. I like everything about it. This team this year is probably going to be remembered for a while. We’re like family. We’re basically brothers out there. I’ve got some favorite teachers I’ll never forget that have helped me through hard times, especially coach (Jeremy) Richey as a coach. I’ll never forget him. He’s helped me out with a lot of hard times and talked me through some stuff.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Maki file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Seth Maki
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Janelle Claycamp and Justin Maki
Sport: Baseball, four years
Organization: Latin Club
Plans after high school: Attend college
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite TV show: “Dexter”
Favorite singer: Jason Aldean
Favorite movie: “The Fast and the Furious”
Favorite team: Kansas City Royals