College baseball: What you need to know about Wichita State's Greyson Jenista and Alec Bohm
Imagine if you would, that you are a college pitcher. You somehow get your way through Wichita State's leadoff hitter Luke Ritter, and staring at you are the next two batters, Greyson Jenista and Alec Bohm.
May as well go ahead and call the bullpen.
In three games. Not too bad a start at all.
So, just who is this deadly combination atop the order. NCAA.com spoke to both to find out.
Jenista grew up in Kansas, seemingly destined to be a Shocker, focusing almost solely on baseball during his high school tenure. Bohm was born with college baseball in his blood, hailing from Omaha, Neb., home of the College World Series. It should come as no surprise that Bohm only played baseball in high school. Omaha was a regular stop every summer for him.
Alec Bohm: Oh yea. Every year we’d go. Family, friends, everybody went. Every year it came to town, you were going there for a couple of games.
Greyson Jenista: I played one year of basketball [in high school] and then it was baseball from there on out. It was rough, it was a lot of running. I don’t even remember, I think I played center to be honest with you.
They both came to Wichita State, citing head coach Todd Butler, state of the art facilities and the history of the program as no-brainer factors. They exploded in their 2017 sophomore campaigns, and really put themselves on the map with standout summers in the highly-esteemed Cape Cod Summer League. Both were All-Stars, while Bohm finished second in batting (.351) and Jenista took home MVP honors. For the first time, they had to play organized baseball on different teams.
AB: It’s really good experience. You had to come to the park everyday ready to play. If you were playing that day you had to be locked in. It was definitely a little different. We play against each other in intrasquad, but it's a little different playing a real game against him. It was still fun.
GJ: I spent two years on the Cape. The first year was kind of an eye opening experience. The second year, it was kind of enjoyable. You didn’t take it for granted, so you’re able to enjoy your time up there a little more.
Playing against Alec, it was fun. We kept in touch all summer. We knew when one of us showed up at whichever park we were at there would be some smiles exchanged and we’d talk to each other for a little bit. But after that when the game’s on, the game’s on. He had to go through his thing and I had to go through mine.
Thus, it was no surprise that the two entered 2018 sweeping up preseason accolades. They both piled up All-American nods from nearly every source imaginable and climbed their way into the Top 50 MLB Draft prospects for June. All eyes will be on Jenista and Bohm in '18, and they are ready for the challenge.
AB: We focus on our team, really. We don’t want to focus on ourselves here and get all caught up in that.
GJ: That’s it 100 percent to a tee. Coach Butler does a great job of blocking all that stuff out. You kind of get caught up in it if you read a little too far into it. As far as I’m concerned and Alec’s concerned, we’re with Wichita State right now. Our concern isn’t with the draft or any accolades. We just want to get this team winning and to the regional. Hopefully make it on from that.
What about Bohm and Jenista the players?
Shockers' pitcher they are glad they don't need to face?
GJ: Codi Heuer. He throws really hard. He has a plus changeup and now a plus slider. So when you take a really hard thrower and then give him a changeup it makes a lefty’s job a little hard.
AB: Well, since he went with Codi, I’ll go with Robby Evans. He’s kind of a sidearm guy and it has a lot of run on it. He’s also got a nasty slider to go with it.
Least favorite pitch to hit?
AB: Something I’m not looking for.
One baseball quality they wish they had that the other possess?
AB: The way he handles everything. He has the same attitude whether he’s 0-for-4 or 4-for-4.
GJ: I got two. His plate discipline and the little kid and the joy of this game. Alec finds a lot of joy in this game, and you can tell when he gets on the field. You know, the music’s pumping during BP and you’ll see Bohm over there dancing or just laughing and having a good time with it.
.@GoShockersBSB's Alec Bohm hit the longest home run I've ever witnessed at the Joe.— Brady Renard KPLC (@BradyRenardKPLC) February 17, 2018
It cleared both walls in center. (400 ft in center). My guess is that it went 450 ish feet. pic.twitter.com/CMNNqpTcZ0
Pitchers they are glad they won't have to see anymore in switching to the American Athletic Conferece?
AB: We’d always go tough head-to-heads with Dallas Baptist and Missouri State. Those were always fun weekends. Getting to know those guys through the years, and even getting to play with some of them in the summer. We’re excited to move on, though, we’re ready to go.
GJ: We all have pitchers that we enjoy hitting off of more than others, each one is a super different reason why. There are some I’ll miss facing for sure. But in terms of not having to face, I’m a pretty competitive guy, I’m not really going to say I didn’t want to face anybody. I’m just excited for the new challenges of the new conference.
What needs the most work?
GJ: The outfield. I haven’t been out there for too long. It's been a handful of months now. I’d say I'm comfortable, it’s just one of those things. You know, Bohm’s been playing infield since he was little. I just get to go out there and run around. I love doing it, I just got to do it a little more.
AB: Me too. I’m going to keep working on my defense. Getting better at that every day. That’s my ultimate goal.
Favorite MLB team?
AB: I’m a big Yankees fan. I’m not really sure why, but always have been.
GJ: I’m a Red Sox guy. Big Papi [David Ortiz], left-handed hitter. So I had to go with Boston.
I liked the way he played the game. Big Papa loved the game, I think that’s important as you keep moving up. When you stop having fun with this game, it gets a little harder. I just like guys that enjoy the game and play it the right way.
Because of the ever-improving play of Jenista and Bohm, NCAA.com tabbed them as a 2018 sleeper team earlier this preseason. After their hot 3-0 start, is this the team that can get the Shockers back to the tournament for the first time since 2009?
GJ: A hundred percent, yes. We’re an old team, we’re a veteran team here. We had some guys go out and have huge summers. Not only Alec and I, but Luke Ritter and Jacob Katzfey. A lot of guys went out and had big summers so it was exciting to comeback and know that guys put in work. Plus our pitchers got healthy over the summer. They’re ready to go. This is a very trusting team. This is our closest knit team since I’ve been here. We’re ready to roll.
AB: We just have the experience. If a couple things go wrong, I don’t think this team is going to worry about it and let it snowball. I think this is the kind of team that can quickly put a stop to it and get back on the right track.
Jenista and Bohm have had quite the run so far at Wichita State, and they have certainly left behind their legacy with plenty of time to go. We know how people will remember them, but how will they remember Wichita State?
GJ: The classmates I’ve had. Bohm, and Ritter, and Heuer. Still to this day we all hang out with each other all the time. I never thought I’d be as close to a group of guys as I am with them. The relationships I’ve built with my teammates, and my classmates in particular, will be my biggest takeaway from Wichita State.
AB: I’ll remember the days being back in the dorms, having every guy in our class crammed into one room. The road trips, the nights in the hotels. All the home runs, and that stuff, you’ll kind of forget about. But it’s the other memories. We’ll never have this same team, or be with this group ever again. That’s the sort of thing I’ll remember.