It wasn’t exactly peer pressure that led Ozark’s Andrew Bauer to become a switch-hitter. But he was prompted to give it a try, simply because a group of players he was hanging with was experimenting with hitting from the other side of the plate.
“Some friends a few years ago started switch-hitting and I happened to be one of them,” Bauer said.
A natural right-handed hitter, Bauer has since blossomed from the left-handed batter’s box. In fact, as he enters his senior season having locked down Ozark’s starting shortstop job, he feels a bit stronger swinging as a lefty.
“It was horrible,” Bauer said of his initial swings left-handed. “But through a lot of reps, I feel I'm better left-handed than right-handed now.”
He relates he sees the ball particularly well with his right eye while hitting left-handed.
“I feel like (my eyes) are pretty equal, but if not it probably is my right (eye),” Bauer said of which eye is stronger. “That makes hitting left-handed easier.”
He will follow the customary route of a switch-hitter by hitting left-handed against right-handed pitchers and hitting right-handed against left-handed pitchers. Thus, he figures to have more at-bats left-handed.
Bauer will look to make the most of each at-bat while taking time to savor the opportunity. He will be among a handful of senior starters for Ozark, but this is Bauer’s first season as a starter.
He had one single and a walk in six plate appearances a year ago.
“I've been waiting for this my whole life,” he said. I feel ready and very prepared for this season.”
Bauer was a backup to Kannon Little at shortstop last season. He missed out on his sophomore season two years ago due to a broken arm.
“There was a lot of rehab,” he said. “I put. Lot of hard work in. After sitting out a season like that, it makes me feel so much better to play now.”
Ozark’s schedule season-opener with Jefferson City was postponed Friday. The Tigers are due to debut at home Wednesday versus Kickapoo.
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