NEW BRITAIN - It has been a story of two different players at the plate through the first 42 games of the season for New Britain Bees outfielder Anthony Hewitt. There is the one who has struggled and the one that has done well and has been driving in runs. But the Bees are getting the latter as of late and it has been paying dividends for both the team and Hewitt.
In the beginning of the year Hewitt was hitting more in the middle of the order, but a combination of a lack of base hits and strikeouts resulted in a demotion in the lineup. At one point Hewitt found himself hitting a season low .120 which coincided with a 0-for-13 stretch with six strikeouts in May and resulted in Bees manager Stan Cliburn giving him a few days off.
“I like Hewitt a lot,” Bees manager Stan Cliburn said at the time. “I really do. I like his work ethic. He’s got a passion for the game. But he’s off to a slow start. A little slower than we anticipated, but he does have a few strikeouts.”
He currently ranks second on the team just behind Jon Griffin in the category.
Lately, however, Hewitt appears to be growing more comfortable at the plate. He has recorded a hit in eight of his last 10 games, three of which have been multi-hit games It began with a two-hit performance against the Lancaster Barnstormers, a team he had been hitless against in five previous games, before the team embarked on a seven-game road trip to Long Island and Sugar Land last week.
“He had about six or seven games in a row with a hit and had a big home run for us as well,” Cliburn said, noting how the bottom of the lineup, where Hewitt usually now is placed, has been one of the more consistent parts of the batting order.
Over the past week, Hewitt has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters, hitting .313 with seven RBIs and a home run and saw his average go over the .200 mark for the first time since April 22 (the second game of the season).
“For me it’s just really sticking to my routine,” Hewitt said. “Sticking to my approach. Continue to have faith in my ability and know what I can and can’t do and kind of just letting go and letting everything happen. I’m not really trying to do too much and just letting the game come to me.”
With some of his struggles at the plate occurring in the confines of New Britain Stadium, the thought that a change of scenery brought on by that most recent road trip would do him some good. But the outfielder said all he did was try to keep a positive attitude heading into each game.
“Honestly I couldn’t tell you [what the difference was],” Hewitt said. “I was just trying to keep my routine. I would just go to the ballpark and go to my room and keep a positive mindset and hope slowly but surely my visuals would come into light.”
In baseball there are to be ups and down throughout the course of the a 140-game season, especially at the plate, players and coached will be the first to admit as much. Hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things in sports, but Cliburn has liked what he’s seen out of the former first round draft pick over the last week and a half and hopes he carries it along as the push for a first-half playoff spot is beginning to take shape.
“I hope he keeps believing and I have confidence in him,” the manager said. “We’ll see where it goes.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @DavidGlovach