Senior Matt Ellinghuysen has been a regular at third base for the Bemidji State baseball team the last three years, giving his teammates and fans an opportunity to witness his many rituals. The St. Charles, Minn. native is the first in the weekly installment of Around the Horn with the BSU Baseball Team.
BSUBeavers.com: You have some interesting rituals at the plate, which include sniffing the bat and slapping your thigh after a pitch. Explain where those rituals came from.
Matt Ellinghuysen: I’ll always start off and sniff the bat going up to the plate. It kind of (developed) from different major leaguers, such as Carlos Gomez, smelling the bat, trying to smell it out for hits. I’ll hit myself in the back of my right leg, just to tell myself to stay back. It’s kind of quirky, but it helps me. It’s basically all about being comfortable up there, whatever it takes to be comfortable and that’s what I do.
BSUBeavers.com: It makes sense to sniff a wooden bat, but what are you taking in when you smell an aluminum bat?
ME: Not much. Trying to smell out the hits. Just like you said before it’s just something weird. It kind of takes my mind off going up to the plate, kind of relaxes me.
BSUBeavers.com: What about in the field, when you charge a ball and make a throw, you have an interesting delivery where you sort of hop and throw the ball while in the air, how did that develop?
ME: It’s a bad habit, actually, that I never got out of the way here, but a lot of things are just over practice and never changing. It works for me, so I just keep doing it and it seems to be successful so far.
BSUBeavers.com: You and senior shortstop Lewis Baumann have played a lot of games together on the left side of the infield and have created some interesting one and two out rituals, can you talk about them?
ME: Right now it’s getting kind of ridiculous, but were going to roll with it as long as it’s still working. One out we give a signal to each other, then two outs is when it really gets crazy. A lot of the other guys on the team make fun of us, but were going to keep rolling with it. It keeps our mind in the game, not only us, but also the outfielders and the other guys on the bench in the game knowing how many outs and what the situations are. We’re going to keep rolling with it.
BSUBeavers.com: Heard you are quite the fast pitch softball enthusiast, can you explain?
ME: Yeah. In the summer I usually play in league on Thursday nights, then usually on the weekends I play in tournaments. It’s something I’ve loved and really got into since I got out of high school. I think it helps actually. Being at a closer distance (from the pitcher) helps with my reaction time and has carried over to baseball and helped me become a better hitter.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).