BE baseball slugger grows taller, adds power

Bishop England High School baseball player Jackson Winer’s growth spurt during his sophomore season was obvious to everyone from coach Mike Darnell to the casual Bishop booster.
After all, Winer went from 5-foot-8 inches, 170 pounds to 6-foot-3, 240 pounds during his sophomore season.
But coach Darnell noticed a more subtle change in Winer and it didn’t include inches or pounds.
Darnell noticed a more mature Winer, who is having a solid junior season for the Bishops, who began play this week with a 6-4 record.
“He’s always worked hard, but he’s doing even more this season,” Darnell said. “We’ve asked him to become a leader, and he’s accepted that role. He’s a team leader and a very good player. He’s dedicated himself to getting better. That work and attitude has given him more confidence.”
Winer was surprised he grew seven inches in less than a year.
“I figured I might have a little growth spurt, maybe one or two inches,” Winer said. “I didn’t think I would grow to be as tall as I am now. It took me a while to get use to my body, to grow into it. It gave more power as a hitter and gave me more speed on my pitches.”
But the growth spurt did have consequences.
Winer had to undergo surgery on his left elbow because his growth plate didn’t close. A few months later, he was pitching in a prestigious tournament when he felt a pop in his left arm just before his 16th birthday. After examinations, Winer underwent Tommy John surgery and will not pitch again until this autumn.
That means BE gets only half of Winer’s talent this season.
He’s a pitcher and first baseman, but his only role this spring is as the Bishops’ designated hitter. He’s responded by leading the team in just about every major offensive category.
He entered this week with a .464 batting average and an .893 slugging percentage. He has three doubles and three homers, while scoring nine runs, and driving in 11 runs.
“This season gives me a chance to focus on my hitting,” Winer said. “I was never a super strong pitcher before the growth spurt. I wanted to work on my speed, location while throwing strikes. That had to be put on hold.”
Winer’s fastball registered 88 mph on the radar gun before he was injured, and he mixes a two-seam fastball and a four-seam fastball to keep hitters off guard.
Winer has pitched in front of scores of college coaches during elite travel ball tournaments. But the recruiting process has slowed down because of the injury. He should start attracting attention once he returns to the mound.
“I miss pitching and playing the field,” Winer said. “I have to get back to that form. It’s a big hump to get over, but I’m ready for the challenge.”

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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