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HC'S MACIEJEWSKI FEELING IMPROVED CONFIDENCE

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 • POSTED BY:  Matt Douthett Times Correspondent

Zac Maciejewski insists his patience at the plate has improved since last season.

One look at the Hanover Central sophomore catcher's statistical line is more than enough to back up that statement.

Maciejewski is hitting .500 with 16 RBIs, has an on-base percentage of .627 and has stolen nine bases while batting leadoff. That kind of production was unfamiliar to Maciejewski last season out of the same batting position.

"Last year, I had an OK year," he said. "I started off kind of poorly, and I had to adjust. I've hit out of the leadoff spot ever since I was (little). It's where I feel the most comfortable and I'm the most productive there. I feel like I can help the team the most at that spot."

It's no secret that a successful leadoff hitter can help overall offensive production trickle down the lineup.

"He's done a great job as the leadoff man as a sophomore," Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said. "He's got a good idea of what we're trying to do. He goes the other way and works the count."

Maciejewski has encountered a lot of hitter's counts this season, taking advantage of going up 2-0 or 3-1 on an opposing pitcher. Part of that has come from his ability to lay off bad pitches, something he admitted was a problem in the past.

"(Pitchers) have just changed their approach towards me," Maciejewski said. "My plate discipline has improved a lot. That's one thing I worked on a lot in the offseason -- not chasing bad pitches."

It isn't just Maciejewski's effectiveness in the batter's box that helped the Wildcats to their first baseball sectional championship in team history. His efforts behind the plate as a catcher have also helped Hanover Central's pitchers improve tremendously this season.

"Every Sunday, I catch bullpen at Dave Griffin's in Griffith from October until the start of the season," Maciejewski said. "A lot of our guys come in there and we work in the stretch and with off-speed pitches. It helps catching them during the offseason, so when you go out there during games it's a piece of cake knowing what they're going to do."

Hanover Central will face Westview at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Class 2A Jimtown Regional. Maciejewski and the Wildcats are now looking at the big picture, with the desire to continue writing history for their baseball program.

"At the beginning of the season, our overall goal was just to win sectionals," he said. "Now, it's to go to state. We can do it, and we have all the talent to make it there."