BASEBALL: Male Athlete of the Week, Austin Suders heating up for Chambersburg
It's safe to say that Austin Suders did it all for the Chambersburg baseball team last week.
In a 2-1 stretch for the Trojans, Suders combined to go 6-for-9 with two RBIs, and he also hurled a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 win over Red Land. He is the Public Opinion Male Athlete of the Week.
"He's been hitting the ball a lot better lately," Trojan coach Bob Thomas said. "He's hit well all year, but early in the season he had a bit of bad luck and hit the ball hard right at people. He's starting to find some more holes."
If you go by the numbers, Suders has been one of the best hitters all season for the Trojans. He's second on the team with a .321 batting average and 18 hits, and he's first on the team in doubles (6), RBIs (14) and slugging percentage (.429). He's also struck out just six times in 63 plate appearances.
"For probably the first 10 games or so, I felt like I was hitting the ball on the ground right at guys," Suders said. "I've definitely been working in the cage a lot on a more level swing. I'm feeling good right now, and I hope to keep it rolling into playoffs."
Thomas said, "He can hit the ball all over the field, and that makes it tough for a defense. He's really started to work the right-centerfield gap lately. Plus, he's a big guy, so when he puts a good swing on a ball, it does a lot of damage."
Suders has also thrown the second-most innings on the team at 43 1/3, but his record (2-5) is no indication of how solid he's been. He holds a 1.45 earned run average with 23 strikeouts and just 10 walks.
"My goal every time I pitch is to just keep the ball down," said Suders, who throws mainly a fastball and curveball but has started to work in a knuckleball this season. "But I know that even if I let a ball up, my outfield is very fast and can chase balls down in the gaps."
The Trojans are pretty much locked into the No. 10 seed in District 3 Class AAAA, but that doesn't mean the bar has been set low.
Suders said, "We have a good team even if our record doesn't show it. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to get into states, so we just need to go into districts and try to win a few games."
And if Suders keeps hitting and pitching the way he has all season, he could be a big factor in Chambersburg's success down the stretch.
Position: Pitcher/designated hitter
Parents: Mike and Kris Suders
Other interests: Suders also plays basketball and golf for the Trojans and enjoys fishing.
Favorite team: Boston Red Sox
Pro athlete most admired: David Ortiz
Three people he'd like to have dinner with: LeBron James, Derek Jeter and Rory McIlroy
Statistics: Suders had a pair of strong hitting performances to begin the week He went 3-for-4 with an RBI against Greencastle-Antrim and finished 3-for-3 with an RBI vs. Carlisle He then fired a two-hit shutout against Red Land.