May 15, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Leading the Broncos with his stellar offensive performance over the last month, earning honors such as West Coast Conference Player of the Week and Player of the Month, junior catcher Jim Wallace is excited and confident about the remainder of the season.
"Last weekend was probably the most fun weekend of baseball I've ever had," said Wallace after sweeping Pepperdine at Buck Shaw Stadium. "It felt really good to leave the other team on the field and get those wins."
All year long, the Bronco baseball team has been working hard, day in and day out to prepare for their tough schedule, including league play in the WCC. After losing a few recent heartbreakers in the bottom of the ninth and extra innings, Wallace and the Broncos didn't lose faith.
"All week long in practice before the Pepperdine series, Coach O'Brien said 'I don't want one game, I don't want two games, I want all three games this weekend,' so everybody was focused on it," said Wallace.
The attitude that Coach O'Brien and the entire coaching staff has created in their first year at Santa Clara has affected this year's team in a tremendous way and it shows in the way they play.
As a sophomore and freshman, Wallace played in about 50% of the games, and now this year has stepped it up a notch, starting in 45 of the 50 games, holding the second highest overall batting average (.344), second highest RBI's (42), and the most homeruns (11).
Last time the Broncos played Pepperdine, Wallace said he was in a bit of a slump. "Coach sat me, but that pushed me a little bit. It woke me up and made me realize I have to keep on trying harder and not take anything for granted. That was probably one of the most valuable things of the season."
Coach O'Brien said, "Jim has made himself into a quality Division One baseball player. He has one of the best work ethic of any player I've coached."
This has indeed proved to be true as Jimmy's hard work has paid off on the playing field. Since the beginning of April, he has been in a zone, raising his batting average from .267 to .344.
"The coaches have taught us to trust ourselves and not hold anything back. The confidence that they have given us, me especially, has been the biggest difference in the development of my game."
Jimmy has also been a major threat behind the plate in April, with 80 putouts and seven assists while not committing any errors or allowing any passed balls.
"Coach Myers has let me handle the pitchers a lot, has let me call a lot of games. It's things like that that give us a sense of confidence in ourselves and holds us accountable for our actions."
There is much to look forward to with Jim Wallace and the Broncos as they fight for the league title over the next few weeks.