All it took was a few inches for Justin Foy to figure it out.
Foy was having one of those baseball seasons at Western Illinois as a sophomore this past spring. Then, just before the season ended, Foy made a simple adjustment — moving toward the third-base side of the pitching rubber.
Two solid outings to close the WIU campaign gave Foy some confidence and a strong month and a half in the Prospect League has the Rockridge graduate feeling like he is right where he needs to be.
"I think it is all about being comfortable," Foy said. "Right now, things are going really well and every day I am starting to get more and more positive about what I am doing.
"I was really struggling with my pitching this spring, then I made a few adjustments, including moving over on the rubber. It changed almost right away. I had those two good games to end the WIU season and carried that into the summer."
Pitching as a late-inning reliever for the Lafayette Aviators, Foy has worked in 10 games out of the bullpen. The right hander is currently 5-0 with four saves and a 1.96 ERA. Compare that to his 0-5 record at WIU with a 5.17 ERA and you can see the change.
The real tell-tail sign, however, is the hard-throwing Foy struck out 46 for WIU but also walked 51. For the Aviators, in 18 innings he has 24 Ks and just eight walks. Foy's numbers have made him a Prospect League All-Star. He will play in that game in Normal on Tuesday.
"The pitches are going where they are supposed to be going," Foy said. And they are going there quickly. He threw a fastball a career-best 96 miles per hour twice in a recent game.
"I think I am just scratching the surface with my speed," he said. "The big thing was I was backing off throwing hard at WIU because I thought that would help my ability to throw strikes. Instead, that just hurt me because I was aiming the ball and when I was throwing it over the plate it had nothing on it and I was getting hit hard."
Now, he believes the confidence he has gained with that short move on the rubber is allowing him to let 'er go and pitch free and easy.
"My mindset has completely changed," Foy said. "I will finish this summer strong and take this into next season at Western."
Foy started seven games in his 18 appearances at WIU. For Lafayette, he has come on in relief in all of his 10 appearances. In fact, take away a three-run game against Danville in late June, and Foy has allowed just one run in his other nine appearances.
He is loving being the team's late-inning guy.
"I enjoy pitching in relief," he said. "For one, I can go out there knowing I only have to throw one or two innings and I can throw as hard as I can. I feed off the adrenaline.
"It is also fun that my teammates have kind of grown to know I will get the job done and that's helped me get a few of those wins in games we have been tied in or down by a run because they know I won't give anything up."