Editor’s note: This is a regular feature profiling senior athletes at Bryant High School.
NAME: Ben Wells
DATE OF BIRTH: Sept. 10, 1992
PARENTS: Doug Wells.
SIBLINGS: Justin Wells. He’s 23.
FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: Math
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME? Watch TV and hang out with friends.
FAVORITE FOOD: Tacos
FAVORITE MUSIC ARTIST OR GROUP: Rock
FAVORITE MOVIE: Major League
FAVORITE TV SHOW: I don’t have one.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A KID? I had a Kermit the Frog puppet that I liked.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL? Play college baseball, hopefully. I may eventually play professional baseball but I’m going to junior college next year, to Crowder. Hopefully, move from there to a big Division I school. I haven’t really put much thought into what I want to study yet.
OTHER THAN YOUR PARENTS, WHO HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE? My brother, for sure. He’s definitely been a role model for me even in baseball. He’s been through high school then he went to a junior college. He’s been through it all before. He knows how hard you have to work. Then, he went and played at Arkansas so he knows how much hard work and dedication it takes to make it that far and be successful at those levels.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT BASEBALL: Pitching.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE IS YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY ON THE TEAM? I think Coach (Kirk) Bock wanted to use me mainly in relief. The younger guys don’t have as much experience so if they get into any kind of trouble I have to be able to get them out of that jam right then. That’s what I believe my role is, to be able to get us out of those jams.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SEASON SO FAR? We started off really beating everybody. I had the attitude that I didn’t think we were going to lose a game all year. Then we went to Van Buren and they came back on us and we blew a five-run lead. It really I think kind of shocked everybody. I didn’t expect them to come back and us to lose like that. I think everybody started trying to do too much, especially at the plate. I mean our pitching and defense was pretty good through the hitting slump. I just think everybody was just trying to do too much at the plate. Right now, we’re kind of getting back on track and everybody’s really relaxing at the plate.
WHAT'S BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT TO THE SEASON SO FAR? Probably beating Catholic 9-4 after we’d lost six in a row. Coming out and putting nine runs up, it felt like we did at the beginning of the season, how everything should’ve been going.
WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE FOR THE TEAM TO BE SUCCESSFUL THE REST OF THE SEASON? Really, I think it’s going to take us keeping the momentum we have now. After we lost six in a row, we just had no momentum. I felt kind of like everybody was playing to not get beat instead of playing to win. It’s going to take us keeping that momentum, keeping that mindset that we’re going to come out here and we’re gong to win every day.
TALK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH ON THE MOUND. I’m just trying now to throw to contact a lot because with my off-speed stuff and my fastball’s got a lot of run, I can get a lot of groundballs. Our defense is really good in the infield and that’ll help keep my pitch count down. That way I can maybe come back and close some of the other games. I’m trying to focus on keeping the pitch count down.
INDIVIDUALLY, WHAT ABOUT YOUR GAME ARE YOU MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT? I really feel confident closing games. I really feel like if, say, we’re up by one run that last inning, I feel like I can go out there and get those three outs and get us that win.
WHAT DO YOU WORK HARDEST TO IMPROVE? I’ve been working on a change-up a lot. At the beginning of the season, I really wasn’t throwing it a whole lot. I was just fastball, slider, which was working fine but when you don’t have a third pitch like that, the batters can really get used to that. They can lay off your one off-speed pitch and just hit your fastballs. And, if you’re not locating either one of those, it’s going to raise your pitch count up a lot. So I’ve really been working hard on getting a change-up, locating it and being able to throw it when I want and being able to throw it for a strike every time. I started throwing it against Van Buren and that’s when everything kind of fell together that game.
AFTER YOU'RE THROUGH PLAYING BASEBALL AT BHS, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL REMEMBER MOST FONDLY ABOUT IT? Probably getting up a little early every morning and coming to practice every day.