Phenix focusing on getting healthy for Reed City baseball

REED CITY — Reed City’s Ray Phenix is focusing on baseball this summer and then will prepare for the spring season.

Phenix played in last Thursday’s summer baseball game at Pine River and had a lot of work on the mound, going more than six innings. He noted afterwards that he’s been working on his game. He’s looking for his hitting and pitching to go up a few notches.

He’ll be getting shoulder surgery during the offseason. He has played other sports in the past but will be taking about four months off and working to get in shape.

The summer schedule is letting Phenix get acquainted with his 2015 spring baseball team.

“We’ll be quite young,” Phenix said, who is hoping that young faces, including that of his younger brother Jeffrey, will be on the varsity and poised to help the Coyotes enjoy winning success. The summer team, he noted, will have several players that will be on the 2015 varsity squad.

Both Ray and Jeffrey Phenix played in Monday’s doubleheader split with Evart.

The Coyotes will hope to improve from an 8-25 record under first-year coach Marty Shaffer.

“Ray usually plays like second,” Shaffer said. “He had arm problems this year. He only played as much as he could. He’s having surgery in another week or so. It will probably be six to eight weeks of doing nothing. Then he’ll try to get some arms strength back.”

Phenix was in his second varsity season with the Coyotes last spring.

As a varsity rookie, “my first couple of games, I didn’t do so well,” Phenix recalled during the 2014 preseason. “Me and my dad stayed after practice one day for a good two hours and practiced hitting, and throwing and all of that. After that, I hit the ball really good, I threw good.”

Phenix recalls changing his entire swing during his sophomore season to a simple “hands through the ball.”

His average was in the 300s.

“I was extremely happy with the second half of the season,” Phenix said.

He was able to devote additional time during the offseason to the sport.

“Me and my dad threw almost every day we could,” Phenix said during the 2014 preseason. “I hurt my shoulder during football so I rehabbed from that. Once I got cleared to throw, me and my dad came to the upper gym (at the high school) two or three hours every day and threw.”

But Phenix is now focusing on getting his shoulder fixed and having himself ready for go for what he hopes will be a memorable 2015 season.