Summer Baseball Update From Karl Bolt

    Karl Bolt is currently tied for the GCL lead with eight home runs.
    Karl Bolt is currently tied for the GCL lead with eight home runs.

    Aug. 17, 2007

    Editors Note: Several former and current Air Force Falcon baseball players are in summer baseball leagues throughout the world this summer. From time to time, several of the players will be writing for to shed a light on the summer baseball experience for cadets and graduates of the Air Force Academy.

    This week, 2007 graduate Lt. Karl Bolt was able to take some time to write about his experiences with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, the Rookie-League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, in Clearwater, Fla..

    In 48 games with the GCL Phillies, Bolt is batting .243 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 173 at bats. His eight home runs is currently tied for the league lead and his four triples ranks him second.

    Dear Falcon family and friends,

    I just wanted to take a few minutes out to share some of my experiences so far since Graduation. On June 2, I attended a Milwaukee Brewers pre-draft workout at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The workout included infield-outfield, batting practice, and a short scrimmage. The workout was a very good experience, meeting a lot of different players from all over the country and getting a lot of exposure. Pretty much all of the scouting staff and a few big league coaches attended the workout. It was "invitation only" and most of Milwaukee's top 30 Draft candidates were in attendance. My family stayed and attended the Marlins-Brewers game that night. The next morning my dad and I flew back to Denver to attend a Rockies pre-draft workout at Coors Field. The workout was pretty standard stuff... showcase format. Playing in Major League ballparks in front of Head Office personnel can be very intimidating, but very exhilarating at the same time.

    From there I flew home to work out and wait for the outcome of the MLB draft. On June 8th, with family, a few friends and former coaches, we anxiously awaited the outcome. Around 11 a.m. that morning we saw my name come up on the screen, 15th round to the Philadelphia Phillies. I was ecstatic and shortly after we saw my name, I received a call from the regional scout for the Phillies. Thinking back, it was the series with TCU at the Academy, when Phillies scouts and management watched us play. I signed the contract with the Phillies two days later and the following day I was on a plane at 6 am headed for Clearwater, Florida. I spent the first week getting acclimated to my new surroundings and meeting my new teammates. One memory that will never escape me, is my first visit to the Phillies Clubhouse and seeing my locker with a Phillies pro jersey with my name on it.

    I was told I would be playing for the Gulf Coast League Phillies for the remainder of the year which is a Rookie Ball team in Clearwater. There are other first basemen ahead of me in the Phillies minor league system (Ryan Howard no less at the top) and they told me that staying in Clearwater, I would play everyday which is most important in getting used to the grind of playing pro baseball. We play games everyday except Sundays which we have as off days. The days can be very long and hot down here. Most days the weather is around 95 degrees with around 95-100% humidity. Unbelievable thunder storms almost daily. We usually arrive at the ballpark around 7:15 a.m. every morning and have breakfast in the clubhouse. Early work is from 8 to 9 a.m. every morning where we do anything from individual position work to extra hitting. Around 9 a.m., we stretch as a team then once we're loose and ready to go we have infield-outfield and fundamentals (bunt coverages, first and third plays, rundowns, etc.) and then we go into batting practice. After we're all done we go back to the clubhouse to cool-down and grab some lunch before we play at around noon. Once the games are over we'll either have conditioning or lifting and then we're usually done for the day around 4 p.m..

    It's been a lot of fun so far and I have learned a lot about the game. I've played really well even though my stats may not look that way. I've hit the ball hard day in and day out but can't seem to get a lot of them to fall. My coaches tell me that they interpret stats much differently at the pro level and that "quality at bats" are logged and more highly regarded than "dying quails or flares to right". I am currently tied for the lead in HR's in the GCL, and second in triples. I have applied for advanced leave from active duty and have been granted a delayed reporting date which allows me to finish this first season. From there I am waiting to see if the Secretary of Defense will accept my Exception to Policy and allow me to continue playing with the Phillies. I still very much look forward to my future career as an Air Force Officer. The Phillies coaches have told me that I have a very good chance of being invited to Instructional Ball this fall which is where the top 30 or so prospects from each team in the minors get invited to come for three weeks in the fall for instruction. There are about three weeks left in the season so keep your fingers crossed for us the rest of the way.

    My good buddy Mitch Brown has made it down here twice to watch me play. He came down here the first time with the Military All-Stars to play over near Orlando. He was able to come over and watch us play in Clearwater and that night we drove over to watch the All-Stars play. It was an honor and humbling to be surrounded by such a great group of guys from all branches of the military and to be able to sit on the bench with them for the game and hear their stories. I got to see and catch up with former teammate and good friend Reid Lamson during the trip which was great. Then Mitch drove down here again in the middle of July with some friends to cheer us on. It was great to see him and hear his stories from the summer. His support is greatly appreciated.

    I would like to thank General Regni, Major Kazlausky, Major Nixon, Major Vitanio, Major Hall and everyone else who has helped me thus far for all of their help, as I would not be here without their countless hours of help. I hope everyone has had a good summer so far and look forward to hearing from everybody soon. See you all on Alumni Day.

    Karl Bolt
    USAFA Class of 2007



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