Doug Thennis has an incredible ability to hit the ball to any part of a baseball field.
Unfortunately, the power-hitting third baseman lost sight of that this spring at Sacramento City College.
It took a few hacks during batting practice earlier this summer and advice from Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox hitting coach Chris Terry to get Thennis to believe in himself once again.
And from the first time he stepped to the dish in a Gold Sox uniform this summer, the slugger has been on fire, leading all hitters with a .360 average, while driving in 23 runs, hitting 12 doubles, three home runs and a triple.
“My season at City was an understatement, a big disappointment is what it was,” Thennis said after his batting practice session Saturday at All Seasons RV Stadium. “As soon as summer was coming along, I was real excited to get back to work, to start working on things again with coach Terry and get back to a good swing again.”
After displaying eye-popping power during a shortened stint with the Gold Sox last summer, where he hit .292 in 20 games with 14 RBIs, five doubles and two home runs, Thennis was projected to have a huge spring with state-power Sac City.
However, Thennis said he began to struggle with the Panthers and never was able to find his power stroke. He hit .238 during his sophomore season with 22 RBIs, four doubles, two home runs and a triple.
“My mechanics were a little messed up, and I got frustrated mentally and it just went down hill from there,” Thennis said.
Terry, who has been credited by a number of Gold Sox hitters for correcting flaws in their swings this summer, said getting Thennis' confidence back was a huge factor in righting his mechanics.
“The thing with Doug is, from where he was last summer with us, some of the mechanical stuff he was doing changed when he transferred and went to Sacramento City,” Terry said. “They kind of changed him into their philosophy. ... We got him to get to where he's more balanced and able to hit to all fields and got him to where he's back up to hitting to his strength and that is to drive the ball to all fields.”
Though Thennis adds a lot of power behind his swing at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, he said his relies more on a the pitcher and a good swing to help him drive balls into the gaps and over the fence.
“It's mainly just getting the pitch to hit and not trying to do too much, letting the pitcher provide the power and then taking care of the rest by putting a good swing on the pitch,” he said.
Terry said Thennis is at his best when keeping his swing simple and driving the ball to different parts of the park.
“You think of Doug as a power guy, and he is because he's so strong and explosive. But when Doug is hitting for power, he is hitting to all fields.,” the coach said. “When Doug's really trying to pull the ball, like a lot of big power guys do, he's not very effective. He gets away from what makes him successful.”
Despite his disappointing season at Sac City, Texas Tech University took interest and signed him to a scholarship early this summer.
“I can't wait to get out to Texas and see what happens in the Big 12,” Thennis said. “I think it will go real well. I don't know too much about the team or the players, so I guess we'll see what happens when I get out there. I'm sure it will be a good group of guys and they'll be ready to go.”