Boulware breaking up summer with home run derby appearance

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Garrett BoulwareGarrett Boulware
So. Catcher
#30 6-1, 210
Anderson, SC

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was sitting around his house doing nothing, when a text message to his brother, Ben, completely changed his summer plans.

After catching in 61 of Clemson’s 62 games, the Tigers’ coaching staff decided that they wanted Boulware to take the summer off and rest; however the downtime will have to wait until after July 3rd’s TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby.

The rising junior slugger from Anderson was hanging out with his brother Ben- a freshman linebacker on the Clemson football team- when Ben received a text message from one of the Under Armour All-American Game hosts.

“The lady who called me ran the Under Armour All-American football game, which my brother played in. We were sitting upstairs watching television,” Boulware said Friday. “He was like, ‘I just got a text message from the woman from the All-American game and she was wondering if you want to be in the home run derby.’ I was just like, ‘are you joking right now?’ And he was like, ‘no, I swear.’ So he gave her my number and she called me about an hour later and asked me if I wanted to do this. I told her that I definitely wanted to do because I was sitting around doing nothing.”

The invitation was a welcome distraction from the mundane routine of a resting and recovering college catcher.

“I was actually taking the summer off except coming up here and working,” Boulware said. “The coaches wanted me to get rested since I had a lot of innings. I wasn’t doing anything so I’m kind of glad it happened, because it’s giving me something to do and something to train for.

“I’ve been hitting a lot. I was taking a couple of weeks off and not swinging, but yhen I got the invite a couple of weeks ago and since that I’ve been swinging every day. It’s supposed to be a fun event, but at the same time I don’t want to embarrass myself out there. I’m trying to get ready and I’m hitting every day. It’s a little different swing, but you kind of have to so that you can get some projection and the ball will actually carry out because it’s such a big field.”

Boulware hit eight home runs during the 2013 season, but he knows that hitting home runs at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska will be a completely different challenge.

“You didn’t even have to watch the College World Series to know because everyone was talking about it,” he said. “It’s just so big. I don’t really know. With the BBCOR bats, it makes it a lot more difficult. Everyone that I know that’s been there just talks about how big the field is and how it plays even bigger. It’s not like it’s a big field that the ball carries. It’s a big field that the ball does not carry very well. It’s going to be tough.”

He is hoping, however, that the other participants will elect to use the old bats, which provide a little more pop than the newer bats.

“I’m definitely taking an old bat. I’m going to see what everyone else is using,” he said. “I don’t want to be the one guy using the old one or the new one so I’m taking both of them. I’ll use what everyone else is using, but hopefully it’s the old ones.”

Boulware last participated in a home run derby when he was at T.L. Hanna, and he knows that with participants from three ACC schools and four post-season teams, that he is facing a whole new level of competition.

“I was in high school at my high school field, but it’s not quite like this,” he said. “The distances were 310 and 380. It was a very average high school field. It’s definitely nothing to this size. It was high school so it wasn’t very tough. This one is going to be a lot bigger with a lot more people and a little better competition. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Boulware is only the second Clemson player to be selected to the TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby and considers it an honor to follow in the footsteps of current Tampa Bay Ray Richie ShafferRichie Shaffer
3rd Base
#8 6-3, 205
Charlotte, NC

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“It’s definitely going to be fun playing that group of guys out there,” he said. “Those are some of the best power hitters in the country. For me to even be considered is awesome. For me to be the second guy after Richie Shaffer is an honor. Everything about this is an honor and is really surprising to me. It’s definitely going to be a lot of fun competing with those kids and having a good time. It’s supposed to be fun, so I’m going to have a good time.”

The other participants [with home run totals] include: Bo Thompson of The Citadel (14); Michael Aquino of Rice (9); Matt Gonzalez of Georgia Tech (3); D.J. Stewart of Florida State (5) and Kenny Towns of Virginia (7).

The fourth-annual TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby will be held at 8:30 p.m. on July 3 and will air nationally on ESPN at 8:00 p.m. on July 4.

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