BY GENE PHELPS
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Cody Trotter always knew he could play baseball in the SEC.
This season, his first at Alabama, the former all-state catcher for Itawamba Community College is proving it.
“He’s worked his way in there and taken advantage of every opportunity he’s received,” said Crimson Tide assistant Dax Norris, who recruited Trotter. “He’s done a heckuva job.”
Although he was recruited as a defensive specialist, Trotter has surprised the Alabama camp with his offensive production.
Headed into this weekend’s league series at Florida, he has batted .440 with three home runs and nine RBI in nine games, six as a starter.
In two SEC starts against No. 1-ranked Georgia in the Tide’s opening SEC series, he went 4-for-8 with a homer and two RBI.
Not bad for a guy Crimson Tide head coach Jim Wells said had trouble hitting a ball out of the infield during fall practice.
“He was like a lot of new guys when they come in, he was intimidated,” Wells said. “He’s put in a lot of hard work and now he hits home runs.”
The former Itawamba AHS standout admitted he attempted to do too much offensively in the fall workouts to impress the coaching staff.
“I guess I was trying too hard,” he said. “I kind of relaxed and thought, Hey, I can do this.’ I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to show that I belonged here.
“I just go out there now and know I’m going to get it done when I get the chance.”
From a defensive standpoint, Trotter never stops working on his game. His position coach, Norris, makes sure of that.
“Coach Dax was a catcher here and he knows what it takes,” he said. “We worked really hard on defense at ICC and in high school. Here, it’s the same. We never take a day off … it’s always blocking and throwing, blocking and throwing.”
Through the first 19 games, Trotter has shared duties behind the plate with two seniors – Vin DiFazio and Kyle Moore. He hasn’t minded the experience one bit.
‘Still learning the game’
“It’s not a selfish thing, we’ve got two other good catchers here,” Trotter said. “I’m still learning the game, picking up the timing. Whenever my time comes, I get in there and get it done.”
It’s that “get it done” attitude and production that led Wells to start him twice in the Georgia series.
Said the coach, “We thought Cody would be a defensive replacement only when we signed him, but now, with the way he’s swinging the bat, he could easily be the starting catcher this weekend … maybe even the rest of the year.”
Gene Phelps/Daily Journal