As a catcher, Davis High School’s Bronson Larsen knows all about signs. One finger is a fastball, two is a curveball and three is a slider. A fist is a pitchout, and a thumb means it’s a good time for the pitcher to throw over to first.
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign.
There also is a sign that Larsen likely will see more of as the season continues. It’s the sign the catcher gives to signal an intentional walk — right arm extended to the side.
The intentional walk is used only in extreme cases when a team has no other options.
Weigh your options. Would you want to pitch to a guy who is hitting .429 with four home runs, three doubles and 12 RBI entering the week, or just put him on base?
"I firmly believe that he’s got the talent and mechanics to hit, but that kid is a workaholic," Davis coach Dave Leo said. "He works on his hitting consistently, and that’s why he continues to get better. We’ll get done with a two-hour practice and I’ll be satisfied and send them home and then he will say, ‘Hey coach, can we go inside and hit in the batting cage?’"
Larsen, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior, believes that his work ethic is a win-win for himself and the team.
"I’ve been working really hard," Larsen said. "It’s all coming together. I just want to keep getting better, seeing improvement in myself, and I think it helps out with the team. When I do extra work, other kids want to do extra work, and that has made us a lot better as a team."
The overtime Larsen has put in is paying off. He’s already doubled last year’s home run totals and has made big strides defensively.
"He’s become a very good defensive catcher," Leo said. "He’s probably one of the most complete catchers I’ve ever seen in high school."
Larsen noticed a base runner was getting a little too comfortable in a recent game against Timpview. He snapped a throw to first that was so quick the first baseman had to wait for the runner before he applied the tag.
"Throwing runners out and picking guys off is my favorite thing to do," he said. "I get antsy when I see someone with a semi-decent lead."
With a lot of pop in his bat and a pop time that’s been as low as 1.79 seconds (the time the ball hits the catcher’s glove to the time it hits the second baseman’s glove), it’s easy to see why BYU wanted Larsen. But before he changes uniforms, he would like to help Davis improve on last season’s 20-5 season.
"Baseball is a weird game," Larsen said. "You can have a great game one day and a terrible game the next day. I’m just hoping I can keep it going. As long as the team is winning, I’ll be happy."
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.