Mack – Good morning folks. We’re featuring today the Temple Owl’s Friday starter come fall, junior righthander, Matt Hockenberry. Hey Matt. First of all, please confirm what I just said about you so it sounds like I know what I’m talking about.
Matt - As of right now that is the way it is looking. For the first half of the Temple season last spring I was the Friday guy, and then we reversed the rotation a little to let one of our redshirt juniors get back in the mix. This year, we are going to have two other sophomores that are probably going to be in the rotation with me who are twins, Patrick and Eric Peterson. One is a righty the other is a lefty so the rotation might stay righty lefty righty.
Mack – You will play as a junior and are eligible for the June draft, right?
Matt – Correct
Mack –Matt, you have had a killer summer so far that has raised the bar for you, scout wise. Tell us about it.
Matt - I didn't really expect to have the summer that I did. I just played every game as if it was just a game and nothing more than that. I had a pretty decent defense behind me that gave me the mindset to just throw strikes. I believe that my ERA this summer was the lowest that it ever has been in my baseball career. I was voted by the coaches all around my league to perform in the NYCBL All-Star game and there were at least 15 scouts at the game. All summer there were a few sitting in the stands here and there. That raised the bar for me because this is my junior year of school. If I don't perform they won't come back. Pressure will always be present when I'm on the mound, whether I'm ready for the next level or not will only depend on how I handle it. Scouts aren't a foreign body to me as I have had contact with them in high school, but now that they are allowed to talk to me in manner of following through with the draft, It's a pretty big deal to just go out there and have fun, yet understand that it's time to be serious and show them what you've got.
Mack –Look, let’s face it. Temple isn’t South Carolina. Do you think having a higher caliber of field players around you this summer led to better stats off the mound?
Matt - I wouldn't say that it had much to do with the defense honestly. I'd compare the two teams that I played for this past spring and summer almost the same. I think the biggest difference that helped my stats this summer was my mindset. There were still errors made behind me this summer, but I had learned to compose myself and get myself out of rough situations. I think another factor of the summer was that my coaches weren't there. It's not like they put an enormous amount of pressure on me, but the summer baseball placement was just a place for me to figure out what I can do when there is no one there to coach me on the mistakes I make on the mound. I had to figure them out on my own which in turn will help me out a great deal this coming spring.
Mack – Is there anything else you want to say to the readers out there as we begin to track (I’ll be back in touch with you mid-season) your junior season?
Matt - It'll be a pleasure talking to you again. I hope this year the team and I can make a push to restore the program that Skip Wilson left after 2001.