Cameron Melcher did not disappoint for his new team the past college baseball season.
In his first year at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the Tivy High School graduate started 31 of the 37 games and batted a career-best .323. He hit two home runs with 21 RBI.
Initially part of a catching rotation, Melcher later moved to designated hitter.
“We wanted his bat in the lineup as much as possible,” Texas A&M-Kingsville head coach Jason Gonzales said.
The junior was named the designated hitter on the all-Lone Star Conference second team.
“I was real excited,” Melcher said. “Honestly I don’t like to look at stats during the season. It surprised me a little bit because I don’t really look at stats.”
He improved his batting average significantly, considering he hit .223 in his second season at Midland College.
“We signed him to be a player that’s going to hit in the meat of our order,” Gonzales said. “He got very comfortable early on. He put himself in a position to be successful.”
Melcher helped himself offensively by not being afraid to fail, the coach said.
“We focus more on approach. We’re going to have a plan,” Gonzales
said. “We’re going to be very, very aggressive.”
A right-handed thrower and left-handed hitter, Melcher cited the one tweak to his batting stance as “where my hands were and my loading process.”
“It was more of how hard I grip the bat,” he said. “I loosened up my grip.”
Because his lead hand was too dominant, he said, he relaxed to let the back hand have more control so as to make better contact. During March he had a season-high six-game hitting streak that included his lone three-hit effort, going 3-for-4 at the plate against Eastern New Mexico. His .495 slugging percentage and .449 on-base percentage were career highs.
Defensively, Melcher held his own as he learned the pitching staff, which he called the most difficult part of the transition from Midland. He finished with a .970 fielding percentage in 101 chances.
Gonzales said he may get repetitions at first base during fall workouts in preparation for the spring.
“He just exudes a tremendous amount of toughness,” he said. “He’s got good hands and good feet.”
Freshman outfielder Tate Winfield hit .372 in 18 games for Hesston College (Kan.). The former Antler had two home runs and 12 RBIs.