Eric Eck isn’t making plans, more accurately he’s preparing.
He just finished his junior season pitching for Wofford as the Terriers’ primary closer and bolted for the summer sun of Massachusetts and the Cape Cod League. A Buford graduate, Eck has one more year of college to graduate with his degree in finance with a minor in math and accounting. He’s got this summer and one more season to hopefully graduate from amateur baseball to the professional ranks.
“I am going back to school, finishing my senior year at school, go ahead and wrap up the degree and everything,” he said. “Hopefully someone will be able to pick me up. Last year I had good numbers in college. Hopefully someone will throw a pick my way.”
And the numbers get even better on the Cape.
Eck made the Cape Cod League All-Star team, sitting tied atop the league with eight saves. He’s appeared in 13 games, has an ERA of 2.16 in 16 2/3 innings. Most of his appearances are the one-inning variety, but he has a few of an inning-plus.
“It’s been a great time,” Eck said. “Luckily I’ve been able to stay in a good spot, I was comfortable in closing. I am surrounded by a bunch of unbelievable defenders. It’s a calming feeling knowing that as long as I do my job I am going to be successful.”
The great applies to both the defenders and the hitters and the added talent throughout the entire lineups has been fun for Eck to attack.
“I guess here you have to be on top of your game with every pitch to every batter,” Eck said. “Here the pressure is a little bit more. You can’t make as many mistakes because you pay for them a lot more there than you will at school.”
And for a right-handed pitcher, he’s not just facing better batters one through nine in a lineup, he’s facing an increased number of left-handers. He’s learned to attack the lefties and find success with his off-speed pitches.
“Every time, especially now, being in the closer role, I see three guys in a row get pinch hit for and they are lefties,” Eck said. “I’ve done pretty well against them so far.”
He uses a downward-breaking curve and a breaking pitch with more side movement to drop in for strikes, staying away from his four-seam fastball when possible.
“A lot of these guys are giving up the first strike of an at-bat if I can lay (a breaking ball) in there,” Eck said. “Most of those guys are not swinging at it. It’s nice. It’s nice being able to put that in there and it’s nice that they have that strategy.
“I think I have a better strike percentage with my breaking ball than I do with my fastball, which is a little unorthodox.”
Beyond baseball, Eck has found some fun in the experience.
Once the cold lifted, the weather turned ideal for baseball and he even found time for some golf recently.
But mostly baseball, mostly preparing.
“It’s a great experience,” he said. “The people here and the stores and everything you can go do. You are never going to have a lack of things to do. It’s been really nice.”