BATAVIA – Batavia catcher Andrew Konsbruck said he wasn’t overly confident in his catching ability heading into this season.
“It’s really come to show. ... I’ve been proving myself pretty well [now],” Konsbruck said. “That was one of my biggest problems, just believing in myself.”
Blocking pitches played a role. Adjusting to his first season on varsity was another.
“Before this year, I wasn’t very good at blocking pitches,” Konsbruck said. “It was pretty nerve-wracking starting [at the varsity level]. I didn’t really know how it was going to play out. ... It was difficult going from playing with people I’ve been playing with for years to playing with people I haven’t.”
Konsbruck, a junior, hasn’t had his number called often, starting about six games this season. Carter Gette has received the majority of the starts behind the plate, but Konsbruck still finds ways to stay engaged by catching bullpens and gaining familiarity with the dynamic Batavia pitching staff.
It allows him to be ready for anything, keeping him “in the right frame of mind.”
“Catching the varsity starters’ bullpens, it made it a lot easier to fit into catching [game action],” Konsbruck said. “Because I know how they throw and some of their tendencies.”
Batavia teammate Drew Iutzwig has seen Konsbruck’s development up close this season.
“Andrew, he’s just a really hard worker,” Iutzwig said. “Behind the plate, he really takes pride in what he does. You can tell. Every time there’s a ball in the dirt, he’ll always go down to block it.
“I didn’t play with him last year, but I know he was the sophomore [team] ‘B’ catcher,” Iutzwig said. “I always knew: He has an arm; he can throw anyone out. ... He didn’t let that [position] bother him. He kept working. ... Now he’s finally getting a chance to prove what he has, and he’s taking advantage of it.”
Geneva’s Black healthy
Nick Black finally feels 100%.
A right-handed starting pitcher for Geneva, Black has battled some minor injuries with his elbow.
“We got an MRI; the results were fine,” Black said. “My ligaments [were] kind of strained, but it’s nothing too bad. [The doctors] said it could’ve been tendinitis or something. I’ve been doing stretches every day, and ever since, it’s gotten better.”
Black pitched a gem against Glenbard North on May 13, throwing a one-hit complete game in a 5-1 victory. Black had 12 strikeouts on the afternoon.
“It felt really good,” Black said of the effort. “This year, I haven’t been pitching as well. Last year, I was probably one of our better pitchers.”
His confidence has soared. Black features a mid-80s fastball, curve and a changeup.
“I think I threw [about] four curveballs all game,” Black said. “[I felt like] my fastball was ‘on.’ ... My arm felt good the whole time.”
Offensively, Black is one of the team’s best producers. Black has a team-high 38 hits, three home runs and 30 RBIs.
“Our team is really focused on quality at-bats,” Black said. “Hard hits, working the count, getting high pitch counts each at-bat. ... We [have] a whole sheet on it. That kind of helped our team and, personally, it helps you every at-bat. ... It gets your confidence going.”