|by David Hood|
The going hasn’t been easy – Boulware saw limited playing time last season behind Spencer Kieboom, and then he had to beat out freshman Matt Reed in the preseason for the starting job behind the plate. Once the season began, Boulware hit near the bottom of the lineup, but has seen his stock rise with big hit after big hit, and as his stock rose, so did his spot in the lineup.
Boulware eventually moved into the cleanup spot, and he hasn’t disappointed, hitting a team-best .333 with four doubles, one triple, three homers, and 15 RBIs heading into Tuesday’s game against Morehead St., then hit a three-run bomb in the win Tuesday night at Doug Kingsmore. This past weekend, he delivered the game-winning single in Clemson’s lone win of the Virginia series, a 7-6 decision on Saturday.
Boulware told TigerNet this week that his confidence comes from two sources.
“My confidence comes straight from my coaches. When they started showing confidence in me, it made all the difference,” he said. “And I am being more aggressive at the plate. I am just getting in there and swinging, and leaving the thinking in the cages. When you get ready to hit, you just get in there and hit it. Just don’t think about anything, but get in there and play baseball the way I have my whole life.”
He said he would have hit in the bottom of the lineup in order to help the team, but his goal has always been to be a middle of the order guy.
“Everyone’s goal is to be a 3-4-5 guy, unless you are a leadoff hitter,” he said. “I was hoping to find my way into the middle of the lineup. If I can help the team at the bottom of the lineup, then that is fine with me. But I was happy to see I was moving up in the lineup.”
It doesn’t take a person long to see that Boulware – just a sophomore – is morphing into a trusted team leader as well.
“We have a really young team. We have a couple of juniors out in the field and one senior in center, but this team is made up of a lot of freshmen and sophomores. I enjoy stepping into that leadership role and help out the younger guys,” he said.
Boulware already has more hits and at-bats than he did all of last season, but said he didn’t mind sitting behind Kieboom and learning the game. He also spent a lot of time catching bullpen sessions in order to learn the pitching staff.
That also meant spending time with pitching coach Dan Pepicelli.
This summer, his younger brother – 2013 linebacker commit Ben Boulware – arrives on campus to begin his football career.
“We won’t be living together,” he said. “The best way to get to know your teammates is to live with them, Sometimes you hate them, and sometimes you don’t. I don’t see us living near each other. He needs to live with his football teammates and learn to know them and everything about them. “
However, he says it would be ok with him if the two of them achieve Clemson success at the same time.
“It would be pretty cool. I expect him to do well. I’ve watched him my whole life and I think he will surprise some people. I can’t wait for him to get here.”
David Hood can be reached at email@example.com