Precise Leads the Way for Troy

05/20/2008 – Dothan Eagle.com

Written By Ken Rogers For a guy who practically comes with his own cheering section, Michael Precise is his own toughest critic. Precise, a 6-foot, 180-pound outfielder for Troy University, has made a big impact in his first year with the Trojans after starring at Geneva High and Wallace of Dothan. The junior right fielder is hitting .303 with 11 home runs and 57 RBIs. He is second on the team with those home run and RBI totals. Of course, he’ll tell you that anyone hitting in the fourth or fifth spot in the Trojans’ lineup is going to drive in runs. “Every time I get up to bat there’s guys on base,” Precise said last week. “It’s not me, it’s the other guys out there who give me the opportunity to get RBIs.” He hopes for a number of those opportunities this week. Troy (32-24, 18-12) is playing in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Lafayette, La. Troy, the No. 3 seed, plays sixth-seeded and tournament host Louisiana- Lafayette on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said Precise’s adjustments to Division I pitching helped speed the transition from junior college. “Pure hitters like Michael have an easier time, but everyone still has to adjust,” Pierce said. Precise said his biggest adjustment was with the off-speed stuff. “You can adjust to the fastball. Once you adjust to the faster pace, you get used to that,” he said. “But it’s the pitchers being able to place their change-ups and throw their change-ups for strikes on a more regular basis than community colleges.” The junior said he’s disappointed with his batting average — which dropped 13 points in the final week of the season, due in part to feeling under the weather — but his power numbers “are just as good as I’ve ever done.” He’s got a slugging percentage of .519 and an on-base percentage of .379. “He’s had a fantastic year for us,” Pierce said. “We’ve had a couple guys just about carry us at times — Beau Brooks early and Bryan Miller recently. But Michael’s been fairly consistent throughout the year. He has done his work day-to-day. I like the consistency his game brings, especially as a middle-of-the-order guy.” He’s made more of an adjustment defensively — and he’ll tell you there is still more work to do. “All through high school and junior college, he had been a play anywhere type guy,” Pierce said. “We’ve needed him as an outfielder — which is probably the the area he had the least amount of work in. But he has gotten better and continues to improve his game.” Precise only grudgingly concedes, “I’ve improved a little bit. I’m still beginning. I’m not even close to where I wish I was. Not even close defensively compared to my other outfielders, especially Bryan (Miller) in center.” Precise said there are specific areas he must target. “The coaches have talked to me about it. For instance, playing the ball off the wall,” he said, noting Troy’s massive 30-foot high right-field wall. “And having more confidence to charge ground balls — get to them quicker instead of laying back.” Precise said he’s very thankful that his parents, Mike and Karen Precise, have been at every game — home and road. “I’ve been very fortunate with all the people who have come to watch me play, especially from Geneva,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier. My parents make every game. A lot of times at home they’ve brought several people from Geneva who’ve made the games — people I haven’t seen in quite a while.” Karen Precise, reached Monday at home, said she was loading the family’s small motor home for the trip to Lafayette. “We’re some of the lucky ones,” she said. “This season has been so much fun.” But not always easy. “He puts too much pressure on himself,” his mom said. “This year is a step up and it’s about making adjustments.” Still, Precise has his own standards. He hit .414 with 14 home runs and drove in 62 runs his second season at Wallace. “I feel like I’ve fallen short,” Precise said. “If I had made those adjustment earlier I think my average would be a lot better.” There is another season to come. “Going into his senior year, he definitely has to get stronger over the summer and into the fall,” Pierce said. “He’s got to improve his defensive play. He can accomplish both of those things and be a next-level guy.”


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