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Whatever he was trying was hurting not helping so Jake Fraley (LSU), in search of an answer, took his eyes off the ball.
Fraley partly credits work off the tee for what is shaping out to be a late-season turnaround, but gives more stock to photo evidence. After doubling against Orleans earlier in the season, the outfielder asked team photographer Karly Laliberte if he could see a picture of his swing. Looking at photos of himself is something he does after good and bad performances, to freeze his mechanics and run possible adjustments through his head.
“I know myself really well,” Fraley said after Chatham’s 12-7 loss to Brewster on Tuesday. “I can feel things in batting practice and games right away and know when it doesn’t feel well. I looked at a picture of my swing after a game and realized what I needed to change.”
What Fraley saw was that his hands were too low. So he raised them, and it's raised his play. The outfielder, who has also been in the lineup as a designated hitter, went 3-for-4 with an RBI, run and stolen base in the loss to the Whitecaps, and will look to continue rolling when Chatham (16-22-1) hosts first-place Yarmouth-Dennis (23-16) at 7 p.m. at Veterans Field on Wednesday.
Aside from his climbing average and bursts of power, Fraley is 10-for-10 in stolen bases this summer and could be the spark the Anglers need heading into their final five games.
“It’s always great to see Jake get going,” center fielder Landon Cray (Seattle) said. “He creates opportunities for us and is a really solid player.”
Fraley’s assessment of his season is equally visceral and vindictive. He has a clear understanding of his own swing and also his own struggles, not shying away from the slump that mired his turn from June to July. At that time, he was constantly asking coaches for advice and taking extra batting practice with Jay Grenier before the team’s early batting practice more than three hours before home games, but mostly took the responsibility of improving himself.
And if that stretch — which saw his average dip to .206 on July 12 — is something of the past, the Anglers will gain a convincing cog at a convenient time.
Said Fraley: “There was a stretch where I was really struggling, but I think that’s behind me.”
Broadcast coverage of the Anglers and Red Sox begins at 6:40 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.