Kyle Kubitza of Lynchburg started a game-winning rally Monday night by drawing a one-out walk in the ninth inning. He reached base three times in the Hillcats' 2-1 victory over Myrtle Beach, thanks to two walks and a single -- the kind of performance that makes Kubitza happy.
Many younger players don't show that type of patience or realize the importance of drawing a walk. Kubitza's a different story. The Lynchburg third baseman set the record for bases on balls back at Texas State and continues to build on that success, leading the Carolina League with 60 walks after finishing sixth in that category in the South Atlantic League last year with Rome.
After Monday's win, Kubitza was hitting a pedestrian .253 but boasts an on-base percentage of .381, fifth-best in the circuit.
"Kyle probably has the best eye in the league," Lynchburg batting coach John Moses said. "He's not afraid to take pitches and get deep into counts. Kyle works to get good pitches to hit."
Understanding how to draw walks is something Kubitza's always been good at. The Braves picked him in the third round of the 2011 Draft after he set a Texas State record with 125 walks during his three-year career.
Kubitza said he strives to get on base at least once or twice per game, and if walks help him do that, so be it.
"For me, I don't look too much at average," Kubitza said. "That can be misleading. It's a team game based on individual results. I just try to get on base for the guys behind me and try to drive in the guys in front of me."
Kubitza often bats fifth in the order and keeps a pretty simple approach. He looks for pitches over the middle and tries to stay away from those on either corner -- and won't hesitate to wait for a pitch he likes.
This approach started during his freshman year in college. Back then, Kubitza often was called upon to pinch-hit and learned the value of patience at the plate.
"I think a lot of people focus on swings more than approach," Kubitza said. "For me, I know I can't hit every ball hard. I'm going to go out there and do what's needed [to get on base]."
Kubitza's consistency has impressed Moses this season, and the coach said his work at the plate also can influence other players.
"He's a good example for other hitters, especially on our club," Moses said. "You watch the guy over and over and over, and people learn from him. [Walks] are another dimension in his arsenal that he can use, and it helps wear down a pitcher."
Two threes: Frederick's Michael Ohlman and Aaron Baker each drove in three runs in Monday's 6-4 victory over Winston-Salem. The Keys trailed 4-1 in the eighth inning when Ohlman hit a three-run homer. Baker's two-run double in the ninth won it; he also had an RBI double in the first.
Late rally: Potomac scored five in the bottom of the ninth inning to pull out an 8-7 victory over Salem on Sunday. Kevin Keyes (two-run single), Adrian Sanchez (sacrifice fly) and Mike Gilmartin (RBI single) helped the P-Nats tie the game. Billy Burns gave Potomac the win with a two-out walk-off single.
Too many miscues: Wilmington's fielding problems hurt in last Friday's 10-6 loss against Myrtle Beachas the the Blue Rocks' four errors led to six unearned runs. Two of the miscues came as part of a six-run fourth that put the Pelicans in control.