YOUNGSVILLE — Dylon Poncho saw a fair amount of playing time as a true freshman for Tony Robichaux and Louisiana-Lafayette baseball. But all of Poncho’s 21 appearances had one thing in common: They all came in the form of at-bats only, either as a designated hitter or pinch hitter.
That is why Poncho is focusing on improving his defense this summer.
The Kinder native is spending much of the summer playing third base for the Texas Collegiate League’s Acadiana Cane Cutters. Poncho’s focus on third base came after meeting with the UL-Lafayette staff before departing for the summer.
Playing for the Cane Cutters has several advantages for Poncho.
In addition to getting a chance to play third base on a regular basis, he gets to remain in Lafayette.
“I get to work out in the mornings at UL, hit at UL,” Poncho said. “So I’m still around all of the players over there, and it’s like home.”
Poncho is getting a helping hand from Cane Cutters coach and Nicholls State assistant Austin Flores.
With Flores’ help, Poncho is getting a lot of early work in before ballgames.
These sessions are allowing Poncho to work on his footwork at third, read ground balls off the bat and take the proper angles needed to cut off balls.
All often overlooked, but critical aspects of playing third base at the Division I level.
“He’s got plenty of arm strength; he’s got good feet; he just doesn’t know how to quite use them at third base,” Flores said.
“So that’s been the little things we’re working on.”
Flores said Poncho’s defensive work is paying off.
“He’s getting better, and it’s great to see,” Flores said.
“Right when he first got here you could see in his eyes he was hungry to play,” Flores said. “He’s a young guy and had to break the lineup (at UL-Lafayette) a little bit. But he’s come out here and done a really good job.”
Monday night, during the Cane Cutters’ 5-3 loss to the Brazos Valley Bombers, Poncho showed off his footwork and arm strength. In the top of the sixth, he made a diving play to his right, collecting the ball behind the bag, and then fired across the diamond for the out.
Playing for the Cane Cutters every day will allow Poncho to get valuable game reps on the field, but he’s not forgetting about his bat.
Poncho, who hit .261 in 46 at-bats with four doubles and seven RBIs last season for the Cajuns, is excited about getting more at-bats this summer too.
The Cane Cutters return to Fabacher Field to host the Bombers at 7 p.m. Thursday.