Mike Handal (Fairfield) has been named the Player of the Week Sponsored by CDSF. Handal batted .375 (6-16), with 2 home runs, a double, 5 RBIs, 4 walks and 2 stolen bases on the week ending on 7/4/21, which led to Handal being named the Week Four Player of the Week.
Handal is now batting .355 (11-31) with 4 doubles, 2 home runs, and 6 RBIs in the 2021 season. Handal joined the Dutchmen late, as he helped lead Fairfield to a Regional appearance, but the second year Dutchmen player has not lost a step regardless of the quick turnaround.
“This team is a great group of guys, it didn't feel like I came in late, everyone welcomed me with open arms and the coaches were great about it,” Handal said.
Success at the plate is a very familiar topic to Mike Handal, as Handal was an All-MAAC First Team member as well as being named to the Austin Regional All-Tournament Team in 2021 at Fairfield.
“The team was a great group of guys, I would take a bullet for all of the guys and the chemistry was a big part of why we were so successful. We just kept rolling, one weekend after another was success and we were privileged enough to get an at-large bid,” Handal said.
Handal is an extremely hard worker, he gets his swings in but also has a good plate approach going into each game.
“I think a big thing is doing early work, getting my own swings in but a big part of the success is the coaches. At Fairfield the coaches are really good at preparing me for games, and Coach Davey throws batting practice and gets us in for early work and I know what I have to do at the plate,” Handal said.
Handal is a key contributor to the dangerous Dutchmen lineup, an offense that leads the league in doubles and home runs, both being categories Handal has contributed to.
“Having those guys behind you is a great feeling because you know if you don’t succeed in an at bat someone else will pick you up and there’s not too much pressure,” Handal said.
Although Handal mashed two home runs in a game against Amsterdam this week, not having to do immediate damage and trusting the next man up is an approach that has helped Handal immensely.
“The mentality is to find a way on base, I’m trying to put a hard barrel on the ball and get on base, if there’s runners on base which I know there will be is a bonus, I know my teammates will get on base and everyone has success from there,” Handal said.
Handal gives lots of credit for his 3-4, two home run game earlier this week at Amsterdam to a talk with Coach Davey.
“We talked about approach and my mentality at the plate, staying through the middle and keeping it simple and we had a good talk and it turned out to be a great night,” Handal said.
Handal looks to keep his hot bat rolling as the Dutchmen look to snap their four game loss streak followed by four straight off days on Sunday, July 4th at Glens Falls slated for 7:00 first pitch.
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