There really wasn't a reason for Brian Blasik
to alter his approach when the scenery changed.
The second baseman for the Greeneville Astros has made the most of his opportunity in the Appalachian League after he went undrafted out of the University of Dayton.
"Trying to do the same thing I've been doing ever since I've been playing baseball," he said. "Don't be intimidated and stay positive."
Blasik has been among the league leaders in batting through the first half of the season. He also has familiar company because his college teammate and roommate, 33rd-round pick Mike Hauschild, is on the Greeneville team as well.
Their presence with the Astros has been a continuation of a special year for the Dayton program in which the Flyers played in the NCAA Regionals.
Still, Blasik said he wasn't sure he would have a chance to play at the next level until he received a call from the Astros the day after the Draft.
"Going to a small school, it's hard to get a shot being a position player," he said. "I looked at it as I was almost at the point where I wasn't going to play any more."
Hauschild said he hasn't been surprised that Blasik was batting close to .380 a month into the season.
"That's what he does," Hauschild said. "That's what he has always done."
Hauschild had drawn some attention at Dayton, and when he was contacted by a scout during the Draft, Blasik's situation came up.
"When [the scout] called me, he told me he couldn't believe nobody had drafted Brian," Hauschild said.
Blasik said he's viewed his role with Greeneville as an extension of what helped him to succeed in college. He said he hopes a maturity level he attained at Dayton, where he was a shortstop, is carrying into his professional career.
"You want to think pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat," he said. "Keep that confident feeling."
Hauschild, a right-hander who has filled the closer's role, has had his share of success as well with Greeneville. He said a natural sinker has been his go-to pitch.
The connection between Blasik and Hauschild extends to high school summer teams. Then the relationship strengthened at Dayton and now into the Appy League.
Because they're both from the Dayton area, it's like a couple of hometown guys going off to pursue a dream.
"It was a big deal [for the Dayton program]," Hauschild said. "It worked out in the long run."
Improvement with import: The Elizabethton Twins are starting to reap the benefits of the maturation of Max Kepler, a 19-year-old outfielder from Germany. After 31 games, Kepler ranked second in the league with 28 RBIs. "Max has been getting better, getting experience," Elizabethton manager Ray Smith told the Johnson City Press. "More than that is the mental part."
Ford puts it in drive: Burlington Royals right fielder Fred Ford became the second player in the league to hit his ninth home run this year. It came a few days after Kansas City's 2012 seventh-round pick had a stretch with five homers in six days. "Early in the season, I came out of the Draft trying to do it all," Ford said. "That's what was tripping me up.... I'm finally starting to play the way I know I can play. I had to get some at-bats under my belt to get my timing down."
Finally, a reward: Bristol White Sox pitcher Jake Cose struck out nine Pulaski batters on his way to his first victory of the season after losing his first three decisions. "His past three outings have been really good," Bristol manager Pete Rose Jr. said. Cose, a right-hander, hung in the game despite taking a line drive off his right forearm in the fourth inning.