By Dennis Glade
WASHINGTON — What a difference a year makes.
A year ago, former Pike Central catcher Brady Like was spending the summer honing his baseball skills in hopes of having a standout senior season, which could allow him to continue his baseball career at the collegiate level.
Like will play baseball at Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky. Like’s final preparation for the next step of his baseball career is playing for the Washington Freedom American Legion baseball team. Like hasn’t hit the ball as well as he would have liked, but he’s starting to find his rhythm.
Like went 1-for-3 at the plate in Freedom’s 18-3 loss to Princeton Monday night at the Sports Complex. Washington coach Jeff Truelove thinks his lone hit in the loss could jump start his summer.
“Tonight he switch hit, and got a hit left handed,” Truelove said. “He’s not been hitting the ball real well. He’s been hitting it, but hitting it right at people. Finally tonight he got a big hit.”
Like said increased preparation was the difference that led to his breakout senior year, which ended with a 6-3 sectional loss to Heritage Hills.
“I put it all together and went out with a bang,” Like said. “I had a .444 batting average, two home runs and stepped up my game, and that’s what led to the scholarship. Taking hitting lessons in the winter and the spring helped a lot. I took hitting, catching and pitching lessons all together.”
As Like continues to evolve as a catcher, he is starting to attempt to hone in on specific aspects of catching. Next up, Like wants to master catching a curve ball, which he hasn’t had a wealth of experience dealing with.
“He wants to come up a little soon and give up on the ball and that’s something we have been working on,” Truelove said. “All that is is bad habits from little league on up. He wants to follow the ball out of the strike zone. We’ve just been making a mental note of it. He’s getting better; he’s blocking the ball a lot better.”
Like his teammate Tyler Edmiston, Like understands the importance of not taking it easy in the summer, and taking advantage of every opportunity to continue to play baseball throughout the summer before his collegiate season begins.
“This has been very beneficial,” Like said. “Any playing time helps, because it’s getting me prepared for the next level and seeing good competition here, which helps out a lot.”
Being around Like for the first few weeks with the Freedom squad, Truelove has been able to see the potential that Like possesses and will employ at the next level.
“I think he (Like) is very upbeat and has a great attitude,” Truelove said. “A few mechanic things we want to work on for him at the college game. He’s always here on time, just a very good guy. He’s got a great baseball mind.”