Bierfeldt showing he belongs in the Pro's.
Torrington: All he ever wanted was a chance to show people he could hit. That’s it.
Torrington native Conor Bierfeldt is wrapping up a tremendous first professional season as a member of the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the Class A Short-Season, New York Penn League.
Bierfeldt, a former Torrington High School star who later demolished the baseball for Western Connecticut State University, heads into the final four days of the regular season on a tear.
In his last 10-games he has hit safely in eight of them while posting a .350 batting average which included three home runs and nine runs batted in.
He’s been on six of the last eight highlight clips on the Ironbirds web-site with everything from a tape-measure home run to an RBI single and a booming triple that plated a run as well.
For the season, Bierfeldt has his average up to .260 with 11 long balls and 35 RBI’s in 59 games.
Aberdeen is in a dog fight for the final playoff spot in the NY Penn, going into action Sunday at Brooklyn, they lead the Cyclones but just one half game.
After Sunday, they return home to finish the regular season against the Lowell Spinners, another team looking to wrap up a playoff spot themselves.
His first pro season has not been all gravy, though.
For the first time he can remember, he went through some real tough times in July at the plate, struggling to stay over the .200 mark.
“It was a wake-up call for me,” Bierfeldt said Sunday as he prepared to take on the Cyclones. “I had never struggled that that before and it was rough. I talked to my family, friends and coaches and they all told me that everybody goes through this at some point. It’s a question of how you respond to it.”
A combination of playing against the best pitching he had ever seen on day in and day out basis and the long grind of playing all over the East Coast will test the best player out there.
While his power remained, Bierfeldt was not happy with his average and a talk with his father helped him make some minor adjustments.
“My dad reminded to me to go the other way a little more,” Bierfeldt said, “When I was hitting home runs and the power numbers were up, I started to try and pull the ball too much. The pitching at this level is so good, you sometimes have to take what they are going to give you.”
Each of the players in this league were once the studs of their respective schools before they got here so rarely is there an easy arm on the mound.
After a strong game in early August, a friend told Bierfeldt to “Have a good August.”
“That stuck with me and I decided to forget July and finish the last month of the year strong.” Bierfeldt said.
One of the keys was to not panic and simply understand that this is part of the normal process of getting through the dog days.
His team showed faith in him by never moving him from the clean-up spot in the order, a huge boost to the 22-year old confidence.
“To come to the park every day and still see my name in the four hole was huge.” Bierfeldt said. “Their faith in me helped me immensely.”
Bierfeldt’s season could end as soon as Wednesday or a couple of weeks down the road but his next path has already been put in place.
“I found out I have been invited to play in Sarasota, Florida after the season in our Instructional League. Only 30 players are invited from the organization and I’ll be getting plenty of one on one training from the coaches.” Bierfeldt said. “It runs from September 11 to October 11 so I’m real happy to have been invited.”
Back in June when this journey started, did Bierfeldt have any idea that he would come this far this fast?
“I had no expectations in June. It was the farthest thing from my mind. When it was getting to be draft time and on draft day, I had thoughts that maybe this just wasn’t going to work out. When I did get the call, it was surreal. I got myself as ready as I could but still didn’t have any idea what I was in for.”
He said it back in June.
All he knew it that if given the chance, he could show them that he could hit.
So fat, through the struggles of the pro grind, this former Raider has come through with flying colors.