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Mustang of the Week: Infielder John Faircloth
Faircloth dishes on CPL's second half, video games and CPL rivals
Mustangs second baseman John Faircloth is the only player this season to start every game. He leads or is tied for the team lead in four offensive categories. (Bulletin photo by Chris Pride)
Sunday, July 15, 2012
By CHRIS PRIDE - Bulletin Sports Writer
John Faircloth isn’t the only Martinsville position player returning from a season ago, but he has been the model of durability. As one of five Mustangs in the everyday lineup this summer who are back, he is the only one to have played in and started every game this season.
He appeared in 52 of 54 games last summer, starting in 47 of them. Faircloth’s offensive numbers have shown an increase from last season, as he was hitting 43 percentage points better at .289 entering Saturday’s game against Gastonia. He currently leads the team or is tied for the lead in hits, runs, doubles and at bats.
The Mustangs’ second baseman took some time Friday to talk to Bulletin sports writer Chris Pride about a collective change in team attitude, which player is the best MLB gamer on the team and his biggest Coastal Plain League rival.
Chris Pride: There seems to be a different attitude to the team, and I just want to know where it came from. Did someone personally spark it or was it a collective thing?
John Faircloth: Usually when you get the second half going, it’s almost like a new summer and you can sort of forget about everything that happened in the first half and start 0-0. Coach Duffy gave us a good speech in the dugout before the start of the second half, and I think that sparked some guys. He made a good point of attitudes too, where I think our attitudes got to us in the first half. He thought players were getting on themselves instead of playing as a team. I think we’ve started to take to that and start playing more like one and acting like one on and off the field.
CP: That’s a nice TV you guys have in the clubhouse, and I know there is some MLB playing that goes on now and then. Who’s the best gamer?
JF: I don’t know, we have a couple. I’d say probably (Kartsten) Strieby is a good one. Duffy likes to get in there and go at it as well. But that’s also another way to help make the atmosphere more fun. Try not to be so tight and pressing on each other.
CP: What is John Faircloth’s hitting guide? It seems you put the ball in play a lot or at least know how to get on base.
JF: I just try to go up each time and be as selective as I can. I think just not feel too anxious, because in this league if you’re hitting good, teams will start pitching around you. You have maintain the attitude of being patient and get into good hitter’s counts. And playing summer ball like this you can learn a lot from other players, and that has helped me this summer, too.
CP: What’s your favorite stadium you’ve played in, both college and the CPL?
JF: South Carolina for college definitely, their stadium is just ridiculously nice. For this league, would probably Forest City. Their field is pretty immaculate.
CP: Is there a team that you just can’t stand now that you’ve been through the ringer with a couple of these teams?
JF: Last year it was Asheboro, and this year it’s still Asheboro. There’s just something about that team that feels like a rival. Last year they had our number, but we’ve been pretty even so far this summer.
CP: Do you have a pregame meal or anything that gives you a boost?
JF: I don’t really eat much before a game. I’ll probably have like a 3 Musketeers bar or something like that. Maybe add a Red Bull for a drink.
CP: What’s been your best moment so far this season?
JF: My favorite moment was the other day in a doubleheader with Thomasville. We were down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, and I hit a double to tie it up. Then D-Hop (Derrick Hopkins) comes up and hits another double to bring me in. So that was a pretty good moment, and probably my biggest hit so far this season, to tie it in the seventh.