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Wisdom of experience

Oilers 3rd baseman uses last year to do better this year

Posted: June 25, 2011 - 10:13pm
Oilers third baseman Patrick Wisdom has used his experience with the club last year to excel this year.  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
Oilers third baseman Patrick Wisdom has used his experience with the club last year to excel this year.

Patrick Wisdom knows he tried to do too much.
The talented third baseman hit .205 in his first 10 games with the Peninsula Oilers in 2010, swinging at bad pitches, falling behind in the count and attempting to rip the cover off the ball. In 39 plate appearances, he walked three times and had four RBIs.
Not quite the numbers a No. 3 hitter is expected to produce.
The numbers from his first 10 games this year are more like it: .323 with a home run and five RBIs, walking eight times. Through 10 games, Wisdom has scored eight runs on three doubles and posted a slugging percentage of .516 - upgrades from 2010.
"Last year I was trying to show people what I had," Wisdom said before the Oilers' 8-1 win over the Athletes in Action Fire on Friday. "I've learned not to go all out and just let my skills take over and let my habits take over."
The Oilers are off today and visit the Anchorage Bucs at 7 p.m. Monday. They had won nine of 10 games entering Saturday's contest with the Fire.
Wisdom, who recently completed his sophomore season at St. Mary's College in California, is in the center of the success.
"What you're noticing with Patrick is the maturing of a player. Last year he would swing at pitches that he shouldn't swing at, and this year you see him laying off most of those pitches," Oilers coach Dennis Machado said of the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder. "That gives him a better chance at the plate to drive a ball that he's looking for. That just comes with the maturity and the development. It's been great to see."
Wisdom, 19, is the first to admit he forced the issue a year ago.
It was his first season in the Alaska Baseball League, and he had recently completed his freshman season at St. Mary's.
Fresh off this year's college campaign in which he hit .351 with eight home runs, 47 RBIs and 16 doubles, Wisdom is comfortable at the plate and showing more patience.
The Murietta, Calif., native said he aims to hit the ball hard each time he swings, but he isn't focused on drilling home runs in the expansive Coral Seymour Memorial Park.
The quick start buried any pressure Wisdom felt before the season.
"It really helps you a tremendous amount, you have a lot of confidence going into every game," Wisdom said. "You don't have to worry about, ‘Oh, I'm in a slump, I need to change things up.'
"You can just roll in and do your thing. That's what I like."
Wisdom is one of two Oilers to return from the 2010 squad.
Shortstop Mike Miller, who had a game for the ages when he reached base six times and made a series of acrobatic plays in the field Friday, is the other.
Miller knows Wisdom better than most in the dugout.
"From last year, the time we spent together was awesome. As soon as I heard he was coming back, I was looking forward to it that much more," Miller said. "A lot of respect. He's a great player. He's one to watch out for and he's a really good guy."
Miller and Wisdom anchor the top of the batting order as the first and third hitters, respectively, as well as the left side of the infield at shortstop and third base.
But they also play a unique role in the clubhouse, bringing a year of Oilers' experience to a squad that features players from 15 different colleges.
"We know how he runs his ship and we know what to expect, so if someone has some questions or isn't doing something that Machado is in line with, we can take them aside and tell them and let them know," Miller said. "But we have a really good group of guys, a lot of unselfish guys. It's a good clubhouse this year."
Wisdom will begin his junior season at St. Mary's this fall, hoping to build upon the recently completed 2011 season.
His dream is to play professional baseball, but he doesn't want those aspirations to dominate how he approaches the sport.
"I look forward to the draft next year, but I'm not going to let that get in my head so much," Wisdom said. "I don't want that to affect how I play, I just want to keep having fun."

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