Zach Bennett believes he can have the best of both worlds playing baseball at Reinhardt University.
Bennett, a former standout player at Gainesville High, is at his third school in as many years after spending a season at North Georgia College & State University then a stop at South Georgia College. However, playing at Reinhardt comes with the chance to hit while playing in the field, while also getting a crack at the role of starting pitcher.
“It’s going great at Reinhardt,” Bennett said. “It’s a great group of guys and great coaches.
“I’m excited to be playing here.”
What he’s most excited about is having the luxury of getting called on every four or five days to pitch again. After playing in the infield or being used as a designated hitter the first two seasons of college, Bennett’s going to get the rush of taking the mound as a starter once again.
Bennett says the Reinhardt coach stayed in touch after recruiting him in high school, especially after he attended South Georgia last year, which left him with only one year of junior college eligibility remaining.
“I’ve always liked to be in the big situations and always done better when the team in counting on me,” Bennett said.
“Getting away from pitching for a while, I may be a little rusty with my off-speed stuff, but I may be stronger overall now that I have my arm strength back.”
What made Reinhardt, which started a baseball program in 2005, appealing was getting to play with his friend and former Red Elephant teammate Blaine Martin again.
The same feeling that draws Bennett to being a pitcher is the same thing he loves about hitting: Being in the center of the action. Even though the Eagles have only played three scrimmage games in the fall, Bennett says through practice, he feels everything is progressing satisfactory.
“When successful, I love hitting,” Bennett said. “When I’m hitting I like to be in the big positions for the team and the nerves and jitters that come with it.”
Transferring each year has come with a couple of disadvantages.
First of all, Bennett’s lost some academic credits that didn’t transfer. He also says it’s tougher to gain that close chemistry that comes with playing for the same team for a long period of time, like in high school.
However, the reasoning for transferring does outweigh the negatives any day. Bennett wants to play major league baseball one day and he’s willing to move as many times as it takes to be put in the best position for success and visibility to scouts.
Although Bennett spoke with some scouts out of high school, those contacts have, for the time being, ceased. However, he knows one good season could spark contact from college scouts now that he’ll be draft eligible again following the 2011 season for the first time since high school.
Last season, right-handed pitcher Drew Tyson was drafted out of Reinhardt in the 17th round by the Oakland A’s, marking the first player drafted in the program’s six-year history.