HARWICH ---- Pratt Maynard’s (N.C. State) performance this summer has been impressive enough to earn him a spot as the starting catcher on the East Division All-Star team, although he’ll likely remember his time in Harwich most for his grand slam walk-off against Hyannis earlier this month.
Trailing by three runs in the bottom of the ninth, Maynard drove a bases-loaded bomb over the right-field fence for a 4-3 win.
“Even if you’ve been in this game for a long time, you don’t see a walk-off grand slam when you’re down by three very often,” Harwich assistant coach Jamie Pinzino said. “That’s something he’s going to remember for a long time. “
“That was unreal,” Maynard said. “You see your teammates at the plate, and they’re happy, and I was happy ---- maybe a little more happy than they were ---- but it was exciting to see my teammates excited.”
Maynard has been a steady player for the Mariners, batting .268 in 28 games, and generating a league-leading 19 RBI. He also leads the league in walks with 25.
“I think Pratt has done a remarkable job being consistent with his approach at the plate,” Pinzino said. “He has a plan every time he goes out there and he keeps that plan. He knows his swing very well.”
Maynard put it simply: “I look for a pitch I can drive, and hopefully I put a good swing on it when I do get it.”
The effort he puts in running early in the day and working on his swing has paid off. But even more than that, his attitude behind the plate has determined his success. In large part, he credits his teammates and coaches. Coming to Harwich was an easy choice, having heard about Mariners skipper Steve Englert’s work with developing catchers.
“They are great coaches and I get along with all the players,” Maynard said. “They’re hard-working guys. (The coaches) make everybody better and they’ve got great wisdom to share with us.”
His main goal this summer was to work on developing as a player by, “getting better at defense behind the plate, and trying to develop a better swing up here facing better pitching.”
He adjusted easily to the wooden bat league and reading pitchers, and his command as a catcher has gone a long way in controlling the flow of the game.
“He’s a great presence for the pitchers,” Pinzino said. “They feel comfortable with him back there and he works his butt off every day behind the dish. He’s calling a good game. He’s definitely a take-charge kind of guy, and I think that’s what pitchers need, both here, back at school and at the next level. That’s one of his strengths as a catcher and as a player.”
Maynard’s choice and stellar performance has worked out well for him, and he’s happy he made the decision to play with Harwich.
“Everything, the players and the coaches put together, it’s just a great atmosphere to be around and play baseball,” he said.