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Patrick Mazeika (Stetson) started the season with a streak he wouldn’t talk about.
Whenever he was asked to do an interview he’d smile, turn away and say, “when it’s over.” Mazeika called it it, his streak that it is. The catcher — who has also played first and designated hitter for the Anglers — reached base in 22 straight appearances to start the season. The streak ended against Falmouth on July 13 when he struck out looking in his lone at-bat as a pinch hitter, and then he agreed to talk.
Heading into Chatham’s (14-20-1) 6 p.m. game at Hyannis (15-20) on Thursday, Mazeika leads the league with 23 walks and is ranks eight with a .422 on-base percentage. Here’s what he had to say about his eye-catching hitting approach.
Jesse Dougherty: Have you ever read the book Moneyball'
Patrick Mazeika: I haven’t.
J.D.: But you must know that you fit what they are doing pretty perfectly, right'
P.M.: Yeah I know the premise of it. That walking and getting on base all the time is how you win games. If that’s the kind of hitters they want then tell them I’m ready to suit up. Playing for the Oakland A’s wouldn’t be so bad.
J.D.: Have you always been patient at the plate'
P.M.: Yeah, ever since I started playing as a kid. My dad (Joe) was always my coach and always told me that the most important thing was getting on base. I could always hit, for power and all that, but if I could walk or reach on a single that was just as good. I’ve always kept that mindset, through high school, college and then coming here. I think it’s helped me but you also have to hit well on top of that, so I’m always working to be a combination of both.
J.D.: You also played basketball and at the Salisbury School, was your game just as patient on the court as it is on the field'
P.M.: We were really good at all sports and basketball included. We won the championship when I was a junior and a lot of the guys would go on to play Division I. Like Chris McCullough, one of the top guys that will be at Syracuse this year, he was one of my teammates. I was spot-up shooter, not much else, and I remember thinking that those guys should have been shooting instead of me. They would always say to me, “You’re the best shooter in the gym, shoot the ball,” and when I caught it in a game they’d yell, “shoot, shoot, shoot.” But if it wasn’t the right shot I’d pass it up. So yeah, you could say I was a patient basketball player.
J.D.: So there’s the perfect shot in basketball and the perfect pitch in baseball'
P.M.: Well they’re definitely different. In basketball I just thought those guys were better off taking the shots. I’m not passive like that in baseball, I’ve always wanted to be the guy up there. I don’t think it’s necessarily finding the perfect pitch but more about finding the right one. Situations dictate what I’m looking for and then I decide what kind of pitch I want to hit accordingly. That was a little harder in high school because we were always up by a lot and I had to monitor myself more. But then it got easier in college to zone up and look for what I want, and has gotten even easier here.
J.D.: You’re saying that it’s been easier to be patient as you’ve moved up the baseball ranks'
P.M.: Yeah, like I said, if I were in high school and swung at a 3-1 pitch when we were up by a lot it didn’t always mean as much. But when you play higher up and pitchers get better, it’s easier to just see a pitch and recognize that the guy beat you and that you can’t do much with it. There are so many good guys on the Cape and it’s really easy to see a first-pitch curve and let it go by. It may seem impressive that I am drawing so many walks but a lot of it is that I am seeing stuff that I just don’t think I could do much with, and that’s making me look for the right pitch even more.
J.D.: It seems like most guys come to the Cape league with something to work on. Was there one or two things that you came in hoping to get better at'
P.M.: I really just wanted to keep figuring out my approach. The pitchers I face at college at Stetson aren’t like the guys here, we’re seeing the best guys from the best schools every night. So I wanted to figure out how I should hit against them and make the most of every at-bat. I am pretty happy with the results so far.
Chatham heads to McKeon Park to face the Harbor Hawks on Thursday for a game that was moved back from Sunday due to rain. Garrett Williams (Oklahoma State) will throw for the Anglers, who are 1-0 at Hyannis this season.
Broadcast coverage of the Anglers and Harbor Hawks begins at 5:40 p.m. with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show. Watch and listen on TRZ Teamline or listen by phone 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more information.