SANTA CLARA, Calif.- After a solid rookie campaign, C/OF Zach Looney has taken his talents to East Texas for the summer. The young catcher is honing his skills in preparation for his sophomore season on the Mission Campus. During his freshman season, Looney was one of only two freshman to start 40-plus games for the Broncos. This summer, Looney is playing in the Texas Collegiate League for the East Texas Pump Jacks in Kilgore, Texas.
The rising-sophomore is certainly getting valuable at-bats at the plate. Looney is currently leading the Pump Jacks in average (.389) and has tallied five doubles, 12 RBI, four walks and 21 hits in 15 games with East Texas. At one point, the current Bronco had an 11-game hitting streak for the first place Pump Jacks.
"I am keeping things really simple at the plate," said Looney. "I am just trying to hit the first good pitch I see and not worry about mechanics or what the pitcher is going to throw."
Looney is also hard at work becoming a better defensive catcher. The Colorado native, who started plenty of games behind the dish, is a contender to be the go-to catcher for the Broncos next year with the graduation of Patrick Terry.
"I'm working on getting better defensively behind the plate," added Looney. "Our team [the Pump Jacks] has some really good pitchers so it's good to see some different arms and challenge myself to be the best defensive catcher possible."
Summer Leagues offer new experiences for college players, including living with a host-family. Looney lives with his host-dad and teammates. Since Santa Clara University operates on a quarter system, Looney got a late start with the Pump Jacks which also meant he moved in once everybody was already acquainted with each other in his summer residence.
"It was a little weird at first," said Looney. "After a day everyone took me in like I had been there all year. My host dad is our team's biggest fan, so he is at all the games cheering all of us on. It's been a really good experience."
Follow Looney and the East Texas Pump Jacks on the team's website.
Check SantaClaraBroncos.com for new updates on the "All Summer Long" series. Each update will highlight a player and their summer league experiences.