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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

George Janca poised for breakout season in 2017

During+his+summer+in+the+wood-bat+Northwoods+League+with+the+Wisconsin+Woodchucks%2C+George+Janca+had+191+at-bats+and+hit+.309+against+strong+pitching.
Photo by Photo by Lawrence Smelser
During his summer in the wood-bat Northwoods League with the Wisconsin Woodchucks, George Janca had 191 at-bats and hit .309 against strong pitching.

If the glass on the newly renovated Rec Center is ever in jeopardy of being shattered while Texas A&M is taking batting practice, chances are George Janca is at the plate.
Head coach Rob Childress says Janca hits the ball further than anyone in the program, and his repeated moonshots instill fear in ace pitcher Brigham Hill when he realizes he will have to face him in intrasquad scrimmages.
“I just go up there and try to hit it as far as I can,” Janca said. “I’m going to have an approach up there, but when it comes down to it I’m trying to hit it absolutely as hard and as far as I can. I just try to hit it really, really far and really hard.”
The sophomore from Georgetown is slated to begin the season as the Aggies’ starting third baseman, and his offensive upside is expected to shine in 2017. He was thrown into the fire last year as a freshman and started the first 28 games of the season at shortstop before Austin Homan took over.
Janca’s final stats from his first season left much to be desired, but hitting in the SEC is extremely difficult for any freshman — especially when you factor in the added pressure that comes with playing a premium position like shortstop.
“It’s not that he was weak physically or had a bad swing. Day in and day out in the SEC, it’ll chew you up. When you’re facing guys that are up to 95 [mph] with two pitches and sometimes three, it’s tough,” Childress said. “He’s a year older, a year more comfortable and I believe he’s going to have a really good sophomore year. He’s going to hit for some power.”
The move to third base should be beneficial for Janca and the Aggies. As a converted shortstop, his range and arm strength project well at the hot corner, and playing a less demanding position will allow him to focus more on his hitting.
When assistant coach Will Bolt told Janca to start taking ground balls at third during the fall, he did it without complaining or questioning the move. After two months, he said he feels more comfortable with the position and is looking forward to helping the team in any way possible.
“I don’t care where I play,” Janca said. “Anywhere I can get on the field, I’ll be there. I think having me at third base is the best thing for the team, and it’s been fun learning a completely new position. I’ve enjoyed it and hopefully I’ll help the team out.”
According to his teammates and coaches, Janca has come a long way since last year. Over the summer, Janca played in the wood-bat Northwoods League as a member of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. It took some time getting adjusted to the wood bats, but in 47 games, he racked up 191 at-bats and hit .309 against solid pitching.
“He’s a different player,” Bolt said. “He’s stronger, he’s more confident. I think he started figuring some things out mechanically and mentally that are going to help him out offensively this year. He’s the type of guy that wants more — he wants to have that role of being a guy that’s counted on, and he works that way. He’s a guy who I expect to have a significant impact this year.”
Said senior outfielder Blake Kopetsky: “He’s worked really hard in the cages and he’s going to be one of our key guys this year. He’s come a long way since last year as a player.”
Despite being only a sophomore, Janca has become one of the leaders of the team, which only adds to his value.
 “I think he’s going to have a great year,” Hill said. “He showed flashes last year, and you can just tell the ball jumps off his bat. I think from last year to this year he’s improved as a fielder and honestly, he’s turned into a leader as well and he’s done a great job.”
All signs point to the fact that Janca has grown as a player and become a better hitter after going through a full offseason at A&M and getting a full summer’s worth of at-bats under his belt. He is primed for a breakout sophomore campaign and has the potential to be a key cog in the middle of the Aggies’ lineup in 2017.
“I think I finally figured out my swing, what I want to do and what I can do at the plate,” Janca said. “It’s just all about being locked into what I can do and I think if that happens I’ll be alright this year.”

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  • Sophomore George Janca will enter the 2017 season as the Aggies’ starting third baseman.

    Photo by Photo by Lawrence Smelser

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