On Saturday night, outfielder Hunter Markwardt capped off an exciting 4-3 comeback win with a walk-off hit for the Class A Clearwater Threshers.
The team entered the bottom of the 9th trailing 3-0, but a convincing four-run outburst notched an impressive victory for the Phillies affiliate over Lakeland.
Thus far on the young season, the 23-year-old lefty batter has posted a .375 batting average through three games.
Markwardt was the Phils' 13th round draft selection out of Oklahoma Christian University in 2019.
Last week I spoke with the promising outfielder about his excitement level for the new season, among other things. Read ahead for that interview.
-What's your level of excitement to get this season started?
Having not played in an official game since 2019, it's crazy to say the least. With all the work put into the extended off-season, it's been super exciting to see how it's going to pay off in the the near future. The excitement level is definitely at a 10.
-How important was spring training to be able to enter the season 100% ready to go?
We were told from the get go that they understand that we haven't played in a while, but the competition level and the push for spots is at an all-time high, especially with the short-season leagues gone. So, it was either play well and stay healthy or miss out on a full-season opportunity.
Spring training at the same time was a great way to get our feet back under us and remember what it's like to compete at a high level again.
-Is there anything you feel is different about your game since the last regular season game you played?
Playing at 175 in 2019 to playing at 195 pounds this year is the biggest adjustment for me. I worked really hard to make weaknesses strengths and being able to drive the ball to all parts of the field is something I've put a lot of time into this past off-season.
-What's your primary spot on defense and do you have anything different in your defensive repertoire dating back to before pro ball?
Being fast and left-handed, it's always been the outfield for me. Center field is my natural position, but any spot in the outfield is a chance to get at bats and help the team out there, so I am not too picky as to which spot I am playing.
For the remainder of this interview, in which Markwardt discusses organization mate Keaton Greenwalt, his manager Milver Reyes, hitting coach Cody Asche and more please visit Partreon.com/PhoulBallz to support my work. You get access to loads of exclusive content.