PLU cleanup hitter Thompson doesn’t get cheated at the plate

April 14, 2016

Tyler Thompson baseball

Tyler Thompson

Anchorage’s Tyler Thompson doesn’t go to the plate trying to hit a home run, but he doesn’t get cheated either.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior slugger at Pacific Lutheran University takes a healthy cut and sometimes he gets enough to knock it out of the ballpark.

“I go up trying to do damage and if I get a good swing on it then home runs will follow,” he told me.

Thompson, of Dimond Post 21 fame, is crushing the ball this season with the NCAA D3 Lutes of Tacoma, Washington, where he leads the team with five home runs.

Even better, he is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak.

Overall the cleanup hitter is batting .294 in 34 games with 18 RBIs and 25 runs.

He is averaging a home run every 6.8 games this year compared to 12.6 in 2014.

Thompson is Alaska’s career leader among active players with 13 career home runs in three seasons at PLU.

“The home runs have meant a lot to me for a couple of reasons,” he said. “I was never a home-run hitter growing up. I would hit one here and there, but never on a consistent basis.

“I always wanted to be a home-run hitter, but never thought I actually would be.”

Who could blame him? Chicks dig the long ball.

Things changed for Thompson when he hit a growth spurt in high school. He also started lifting weights. By the time he got to college he was stronger than ever.

Crushing bombs, however, is more than just being buff.

You have to be able to actually hit, including pitches other than just fastballs.

“My approach at the plate is be aggressive. I’ve always been an aggressive hitter,” Thompson said. “One thing that I’ve had to work on more this year is staying balanced and hitting more off-speed pitches.

“Being in the 4-hole for the majority of my games I get more off-speed pitches. I would say probably four of my five home runs this season have been on off-speed pitches.”