Pepperdine center fielder Brian Humphries focused on regional bid
Pepperdine center fielder Brian Humphries enjoyed an industrious sophomore campaign culminating in a West Coast Conference selection to the 2010 All-WCC Team.
The junior, fresh off a summer spent playing baseball in the prestigious Cap Cod Baseball League, believes the Waves contain in their ranks the right mixture of hitting and pitching needed for a successful 2011 season.
“Of course we want to end up at Omaha in the College World Series,” Humphries said, “but first up is winning the WCC and making a regional.”
The Waves did not receive a bid to the NCAA Regionals in either his freshman or sophomore season.
“We want to go as far as we can.Â Six of the eight field players return and we have several college and juco [junior college] transfers including Chris Amezquita, a former UCLA player, who are going to help us.Â Our pitching staff as a whole looks improved.Â I truly believe this year we have the ability to go far.”
In 2010, Humphries batted .305 — .333 with runners in scoring position — over 52 games as he patrolled the Waves’ center field.Â He finished the year with 67 hits and his 17 doubles paced the squad.Â The outfielder also recorded 20 multi-hit games and 10 multi-rbi games.
His play in the West Coast Conference was especially stellar demonstrated by a .375 (33-for-88) batting average.Â Ten ofÂ his 17 doubles came against WCC foes.
Summer in New England
After the ’10 season concluded, Humphries earned a spot in the Cape Cod Baseball League.Â He traveled across the country from California to Massachusetts to compete as a member of the Chatham Anglers.
“It was one of the best times I ever had playing baseball,” the center fielder said.Â “I competed every night against the best college baseball players in the country.”
“I really improved my mental approach to the game.Â Maintaining a high level of performance is so important to success.Â We competed at such a high level each night.Â Iâ€™ll apply this to my performance this spring.”
Humphries played in 39 contests batting .253.Â He notched 12 RBIs and 12 doubles; two of the doubles came during a six-game hitting streak from July 2nd to the 9th.
Off the field, he commented on his interactions with players from across the country.Â “I enjoyed being able to talk baseball with the guys,” Humphries said.Â “I knew many players from the West Coast, from schools like UCLA and USC, but I was able to meet up and talk to players from the Midwest and East Coast, not just teammates but from the other clubs.Â Iâ€™ve made friendships that have lasted past the summer.”
In 2010, Humphries earned several plauditsÂ for his defensive abilities.
Twice the outfielder reached over the Eddy D. Field Stadium wall to bring back a home run.Â The second catch came while playing left field in the season’s final series against San Francisco.Â This play helped to preserve a 4-1 win over USF, a victory that clinched Pepperdine’s 36th-straight winning season at home and in conference play.
In center field, Humphries ended the 2010 season with just two errors from 110 chances.
Defense is an aspect of his game that Humphries truly enjoys.
“Center field is a relaxing position; you’re able to see the game from a different perspective,” he said.Â “Some days only one ball is hit to you. I really enjoy running down a play in the gap.Â If I make that play and it leads to an out or the end of the inning, my teammates get pumped up, especially the pitcher.”
With his lofty goal of a NCAA regional bid, Humphries works, as all baseball players do, daily on his game.Â Â He noted pitch recognition and arm strength as two key areas.
“Pitching will always get better as you move up through baseball,” Humphries and added, “you won’t make it very far if you don’t understand pitch recognition.”
Humphries remarked that he diligently worked on pitch recognition from high school until now often spending extra time in the batting cages.
The center fielder also wants to see gains made in arm strength.Â In Pepperdine’s Fall World Series, Humphries’ strong throw to the plate saved a run for the Blue squad in a bang-bang play at home.Â The junior hopes to parlay moments like this into even more success in 2011.
“It is the weakest part of my game right now,” Humphries said.Â “I want opposing coaches to think before they send that runner.Â I have been working on building up my arm strength for this year.”
“I want to be considered one of the best center fielders in college baseball.”
If Humphries helps Pepperdine to a NCAA Regional, slated to begin June 3rd, he joins the debate.Â Brian Humphries, a top center fielder in college baseball, for your consideration.