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Powell getting UT delivery makeover; Dean shaking injuries

Bryan Powell is a sidearm work in progress for coach Rod Delmonico’s UT Volunteer pitching staff.

A Vol freshman finely honed in Tommy Pharr’s championship baseball factory at Farragut High School, Powell, a southpaw, is getting a delivery makeover in hopes of making serious middle-relief contributions this season.

“We’ve taken him from up here [overhand delivery] and turned him into a sidearm guy,” the coach said about making the freshman’s delivery “more deceptive to hitters” minus the velocity to overpower. “It makes hitters uncomfortable and they don’t get a good look at it. But we’re just experimenting right now.

“We’ve turned him into a left-handed specialist to see if he could adapt to that because he doesn’t throw real hard, only seventy-nine to eighty-two,” Delmonico added. “We definitely think he’s going to help us, and help us early. A left-handed specialist to get left-[handed hitters] out, out of the bullpen.”

The experiment worked during a recent scrimmage. “He threw an inning and didn’t give up a hit, didn’t give up a run. Pitched really well,” Delmonico said. “He’s coming along so well. You have to give Tommy credit over at Farragut. He did a great job teaching him how to pitch.”

Powell, 19, said he’s sought the advice of Vol senior pitcher and former All-state FHS Admiral Craig Cobb. “Locate, you don’t have to throw that hard. He doesn’t throw that hard, I don’t throw very hard,” the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder said. “He’s just kinda like a mentor.”

Joining other FHS baseball alumni standouts Tony Delmonico, Cody Brown and Scott Dean, “It’s nice coming in here, like knowing some people already, you feel like your kinda part of the team coming into it,” Powell said. “You feel more connected when you come here.”

As for the transition from high school, “At Farragut we get pretty well prepared for stuff like this,” Powell said. “Long practices every day, six days a week. I was pretty much used to it. It’s not really been that overwhelming. You’ve got to focus more on every batter when you’re pitching, because all the batters can hit really well.”

Dean, a starting catcher at FHS helping the Admirals win back-to-back Class AAA state crowns in 2003-2004, is looking to shake a series of injuries that have kept him on the sidelines going on two seasons as a Vol.

However, “When you get to sit back and watch the game from the perspective of knowing that you’re not going to be playing, you get to take in a lot more of the game,” the 6-foot, 214-pound redshirt sophomore said. “You learn a little more of how it’s played here in the S-E-C. You learn the game’s a lot faster at this level.”

Much faster than at Lincoln Memorial University, Dean’s first college stop in 2005 before transferring to UT last season. “The level of play at L-M-U was close to playing at Farragut,” said Dean, 21. “It’s definitely a lot more competitive at this level.”

While injuries last season required a red-shirt in 2006, the injury bug again bit Dean a few weeks ago.

Thanks to a collision, “I actually tore the A-C-L in my elbow about the second or third day of practice,” said Dean, hoping he’s healed, rehabbed and ready to play later this month. “It’s been a grind. … It’s a little bit of a setback. I’ll just have to work through it and try and get back into shape and try to contribute this year.”

There are encouraging signs. “In Fall Ball I learned I could compete at this level, I had a pretty good fall hitting the ball, did a pretty good job catching,” he said.


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