Drawing from his experience

Saturday, May 4, 2002

Ross Bennett went back in time to rediscover his batting stroke.

The result is that the Central High School product tops nationally ranked Baylor in hitting with a .372 average while also ranking among the Big 12 Conference leaders.

"Things have worked out well for me so far this year," Bennett said. "Things have kind of fallen into place."

Bennett, a redshirt junior who graduated from Central in 1998, said he didn't hit well during workouts in the fall. And coming off a sophomore season in which he struggled early and didn't see much playing time, something had to be done.

So while Bennett was home in Cape Girardeau for Christmas, he and his father watched videotape of his high school days, when Bennett was one of the state's top players and was drafted in the 42nd round by Montreal.

"My dad knows by swing better than anybody, and watching that tape with him really helped," he said. "I figured out some things I did back in high school that seemed to work, things that I'd gone away from since I've been at college. I was out on my front foot a lot and I was kind of wrapping my bat around my head.

"Plus, I spent some time hitting at Houck Field House. I went back to school with some confidence. Since I didn't hit well in the fall, I had to earn my spot when I came back from Christmas break and things went well."

Bennett, the Bears' designated hitter, also has four home runs, 11 doubles and 31 runs batted in.

"We still have a lot of big baseball left to play, but I'm really happy so far," he said. "Last year was a disappointment, so this is nice."

A redshirt season

Bennett redshirted his first year at Baylor and then became a key player for the Bears as a freshman, starting 34 games. He hit .285 with three homers and 31 RBIs.

That rookie season pumped up Bennett, but he got off to a slow start last year and wound up getting only 34 at-bats, although he did have a .353 average primarily in a pinch-hitting role.

Bennett has nearly a 3.7 cumulative grade-point average in biochemistry/predentistry. He wants to become a dentist like his father, Mike Bennett, a former football standout at the University of Missouri.

He'd also like a shot at professional baseball. He knows playing a position is the only way he'll be able to make a big impression on pro scouts. Bennett has played a few games in the outfield this season and hopes to move away from the DH role next year.

"To be looked at by the pros, you pretty much have to play a position," he said. "Hopefully that will work out next year."

Broshuis at MU

Advance's Garrett Broshuis, is also playing this season in the Big 12 Conference.

Broshuis, a redshirt freshman at Missouri, has been one of the Tigers' primary starting pitchers in league games. After a slow start, he has been improved to 4-4 with a 6.93 ERA.

mmishow@semissourian.com

(573) 335-6611, extension 132

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