The Score with Ken Powers: Beede meets Buster and WPI’s Saucier spins a no-no

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Tyler Beede has pitched all over the country and walked the red carpet at film premieres in Hollywood, but upon arriving at Major League Baseball spring training last month he had the quintessential I’m-not-in-Auburn-Massachusetts-anymore moment.

Ken Powers has something to say.

Ken Powers

Beede’s travel bag had not even completely settled on the carpet of the San Francisco Giants clubhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona, when he looked around the room and saw pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, in one corner and catcher Buster Posey, the 2012 National League MVP, in another.

“I grew up watching those guys play, seeing them become stars,” Beede said in a phone interview from the Giants clubhouse last week. “Just to be able to be in the same locker room, share the same uniform, to be able to take the field with them was something special.”

Tyler Beede of Auburn is the San Francisco Giants' top prospect

Courtesy Walter Beede

Tyler Beede of Auburn is the San Francisco Giants’ top prospect

The experience got even more special later in the day when Beede pitched his first bullpen session at Scottsdale Stadium. Crouching behind the plate about 61 feet away was none other than Posey.

“Throwing to Buster Posey in the bullpen that first day made it all seem surreal,” said Beede, who turns 23 in May. “It was just really fun and it made it seem like a moment, an opportunity I had been working for my whole life. From that first day, my whole big-league camp experience was a lot of fun.”

Beede, a non-roster invitee to the Giants’ major league camp, was returned to San Francisco’s minor-league camp (also in Scottsdale) earlier this month. The Auburn native appeared in two games while with the parent club, pitching 1-2/3 innings, during which he faced nine batters and gave up a hit and a run while recording one strikeout.

Since being returned to minor-league camp, Beede has made two starts, going three innings in the first and four innings in the second.

“Camp has been going great,” Beede said. “I was in big-league camp for about a month. I got sent back to minor league camp after the first cuts to get extended, to get my innings back up for the season. I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling a lot stronger than last year. I’m throwing a little harder and my command of the ball is a little better. I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Beede could be called up to the major leagues late this season.

Courtesy photo

Beede could be called up to the major leagues late this season.

The Giants drafted Beede with the 14th pick in the first round of the June 2014 MLB Amateur Draft and a month later they signed him to a $2.65 million contract. In 2011, weeks after having graduated from Lawrence Academy, Beede was selected with the 21st pick by the Toronto Blue Jays. The hard-throwing right-handed pitcher opted to attend Vanderbilt University at that time, turning down Toronto’s contract offer, estimated to be worth $2.1 million.

In three years at Vanderbilt, Beede was 23-14 with a 3.56 earned-run average, 287 strikeouts and 148 walks in 286 innings. As a junior he helped lead the Commodores [along with fellow top MLB prospects Dansby Swanson and Carson Fulmer] to the 2014 NCAA College World Series championship, going 8-8 with a 4.05 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 113-1/3 innings. During his sophomore year with the Commodores, Beede was 14-1 with a 2.32 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 101 innings.

Last year Beede split time between San Jose, the Giants’ Single-A affiliate, and Richmond, their Double-A club. At San Jose Beede was 2-2 in nine starts with a 2.24 ERA, 37 strikeouts and nine walks in 52-1/3 innings. At Richmond the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder was 3-8 with a 5.23 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 35 walks in 72-1/3 innings.

Beede attributed his elevated ERA and increase in walks at Richmond to fatigue and a mechanical issue.

“Sometimes, mechanically, I get a little long with my stride and I try to do too much with my body,” Beede said. “This year I’ve really focused on shortening my stride, standing tall, commanding the strike zone better and not being too out of control with my body.

Tyler Beede

Courtesy Walter Beede

Tyler Beede

“I think (the second-half struggles) was a combination of a little fatigue and the fact my mechanics weren’t consistent,” Beede added. “There were starts where I had pinpoint control and I was able to go seven innings and there were other starts where I couldn’t command the ball; I was struggling with my fastball command and it led to the shorter outings with higher walk numbers.”

Beede said from a fatigue standpoint he hit a wall at the end of last season.

“Yeah I did, big-time, just from an arm standpoint,” he said. “Near the end of last season, I had already thrown more innings than I’ve ever thrown and my arm was just so tired and worn down. With my weight being down in addition to that, it just kind of put me in a spot where I couldn’t recover.

“When I was out there pitching I was already getting tired after a couple innings,” Beede said about the end of the 2015 season. “I was definitely wearing down and not strong for that last month of the season; it showed in my numbers and how many innings I was going.”

To combat the fatigue that plagued him at the end of last year – Beede weighed 195 pounds at the end of the 2015 season, 15 less than his listed weight at the beginning of the season – he spent the offseason working with Eric Cressey, owner-operator of Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson.

“I put on about 25 pounds of muscle working with Eric during the offseason. I just wanted to get to a point where I was able to be strong throughout the whole season. I want to be prepared to pitch 180-200 innings this season,” said Beede, who hopes to be called up to the parent club in late August or early September. “I’m happy with how it (the added weight) has translated onto the mound and how my velocity went up a little bit. The offseason was definitely a success.”

Beede added 25 pounds of muscle to better withstand the rigors of a full pro season.

Courtesy Walter Beede

Beede added 25 pounds of muscle to better withstand the rigors of a full pro season.

During his time in the Giants’ major-league camp, Beede got to show off one of his off-the-field skills as well.

“At big-league camp they have the first-year rookies get up during dinner and perform,” explained Beede, who has been rapping since his high school days. “So, they had me freestyle rap in front of the team, manager Bruce Bochy and the entire coaching staff. So I went around the room, did my rap and got a standing ovation at the end.”

Saucier Fires No-Hitter

WPI sophomore and Worcester native Kelsey Saucier fired the first no-hitter of her career on March 23, leading the Engineers to a 13-0 win and doubleheader sweep over Fitchburg State.

Saucier, the former Holy Name standout, struck out eight and walked just two batters in the five-inning no-hitter. She received plenty of support from her offense, which banged out 20 hits, including three-hit games from fellow Worcesterite Ama Biney – her roommate and former Holy Name teammate – as well as Nina Murphy-Cook, Rianna May and Julie Vetch.

Kelsey Saucier

Courtesy WPI Athletics

Kelsey Saucier

With the win, Saucier improved to 3-0 on the season and lowered her ERA to 2.82. All three of her wins have come via a shutout and she has struck out 26 in 22-1/3 innings. Saucier has allowed 21 hits and 11 runs (nine earned), and issued seven walks.

WPI improved to 10-2 with its doubleheader sweep of the Falcons, heading into a Saturday twin bill vs. Wheaton.

“Kelsey hit almost every location today; when she hits her spots she is most successful,” WPI softball coach Whitney Goldstein said. “So, as soon as we got through two innings I said, ‘She’s pitching great today; they’ll have a tough time hitting her.’ ”

Goldstein credited Saucier’s solid start to the season to a rigorous offseason training program.

“Kelsey worked very hard in the offseason to get herself in better physical condition,” Goldstein said. “I also think she learned from her freshmen year, physically and mentally, what worked and what has not worked as opposed to what may have worked in high school.

“Fastballs do not work in college against the best-hitting teams like they may have in high school,” Goldstein said. “Kelsey has worked diligently on finesse and on the fact that the spins of her pitches, mixed with her speed, can be quite a weapon for her. I think her success the latter half of last year and in the postseason showed her who she wanted to be, and become, on a more consistent basis. Her hard work is starting to see the light, and I’m very happy for her. She deserves it.”

Terry, NDA have memorable season

Molly Terry capped off a memorable senior season earlier this month by helping Worcester’s Notre Dame Academy capture its first Central Mass. Division 2 Girls’ Basketball Tournament championship in 12 years. The Rebels earned the right to hoist the hardware by defeating Medfield High, 58-53, at Fitchburg State University.

It’s been a busy year for Terry. She not only finished her career as Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer, but she also signed a National Letter-of-Intent to attend Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) on a full athletic scholarship. In addition, she was a starter – and the leading scorer for the second year in a row – on the field hockey team, which advanced to the semifinal round of the Central Mass. Division 1 Field Hockey Tournament for the third straight season.

Of all her senior season highlights, winning the Central Mass. title in basketball shines brightest.

“That was our goal from Day 1,” said Terry, whose 1,306 career points are 189 more than Kristine Kironyo, who played at the Salisbury Street school from 1993 to ’97. “We came out every day and worked hard and practiced with our focus on winning the District title.”

Molly Terry poses with parents Bob and Judy as she signs her national letter of intent to play basketball at Southern New Hampshire University.

Courtesy Patty Provost

Molly Terry poses with parents Bob and Judy as she signs her national letter of intent to play basketball at Southern New Hampshire University.

The Rebels were ousted last year in the semifinal round of the tournament by Groton-Dunstable, a team it had defeated by more than 20 points in the regular season.

“That was definitely an upset,” said Terry, who lives in Shrewsbury with her parents, Bob and Judy; older sister, Megan, an NDA grad currently studying at UConn; and younger sister, Mackenzie, who is a freshman at NDA.

Notre Dame finished this season 23-1, its only loss coming in its final game, a state semifinal, to Western Mass. champion Longmeadow High.

“It just wasn’t our day,” Terry said about the loss to the Lancers. “It wasn’t meant to be.”

Terry, who plays AAU basketball for the Central Mass. Huskies, is excited about continuing her education, and her career, at SNHU. She chose the Hooksett, N.H.-based school over fellow Salisbury Street resident and Northeast-10 (NE-10) Conference rival Assumption College, and Saint Anselm, which is also in the NE-10.

“The coach, Karen Pinkos, was really inviting,” Terry said. “She didn’t talk to me as a recruit but more as a person she could see herself coaching. She didn’t brag about her school, she just talked to me. When I went up there for my visit and stepped out on the court for the very first time, I could just see myself playing there. I really like the style they play, too; they play fast, they push the ball, they’re always looking to fast break.”

Even though Terry played field hockey and softball (although not this year) at Notre Dame Academy, basketball is her first love.

“I’ve always had a basketball in my hands since I was really, really little,” Terry said. “When I was in the fifth grade I would come home from school, every single day, and I would go out and play basketball from the minute I got home until dinner time. My mom would beg me to come inside. She’d tell me dinner was ready and I would say, ‘five more minutes,’ and I’d be out there 20 more minutes.

“Then, as soon as dinner was over, I would go right back outside and play until it was dark out,” Terry said. “Some nights I wouldn’t even come in for dinner. After a while my mom stopped waiting for me to come inside to put dinner on the table. That was when I fell in love the game. I love it so much.”

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