Wildcat Baseball Player Filling Dual Roles This Summer
At 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, Walker Imwalle is an imposing figure on (and off) the diamond.
The Davidson first baseman/outfielder has been known to launch baseballs during pre-game batting practice displays and even turns heads with his powerful post-game tamps of the batter’s box dirt at Wilson Field.
But this summer, the rising senior is making an impact on the mound, too.
Imwalle is working as a reliever for the Charlottesville Tom Sox of the Valley Baseball League.
“It’s definitely been a transition, but I’m starting to get more comfortable,” he said. “I’m thinking more like a pitcher, and I think it helps me at the plate, too.”
In 11 appearances and 11.1 innings, Imwalle is 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 16 strikeouts and utilizes three pitches: fastball, change-up, slider. He pitched some during high school at eastern North Carolina’s Wallace-Rose Hill, where he also played football and basketball.
“It’s completely different from high school to college, though,” he said. “I feel like it’s my first time ever pitching.”
Imwalle is a potential option in the bullpen at Davidson next season. He began working as a pitcher in March, and the Wildcats gave him an opportunity in the final Atlantic 10 series of 2019 at St. Bonaventure. Earlier that week, pitching coach Parker Bangs told Imwalle it might be time to get a pitching glove.
“I didn’t know if he was serious, but I was excited,” said Imwalle.
On May 16, with the Wildcats leading the Bonnies 15-3 in the ninth, Imwalle entered and finished the game, inducing two groundouts and striking out one. He threw 17 pitches.
In Charlottesville, Imwalle is also playing first and swinging the bat. He’s hitting .229 and is among the team leaders with three home runs, eight doubles and 23 RBIs.
So, hypothetically, how would Imwalle the pitcher fare against Imwalle the batter?
“Oh, I’m striking myself out, 100 percent,” he said.
A number of Wildcats are playing in summer leagues up and down the East Coast, including a few alongside Imwalle in Charlottesville.
Luke Burton has made 12 appearances on the mound and has a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings, while Alex Fedje-Johnson has made 13 starts in the infield. Outfielder Parker Nolan made his Tom Sox debut Wednesday by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Nolan arrived after playing most of the summer for the Concord A’s of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League and playing five games with the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League.
• Pitchers Kieran Casey and Blake Hely were named all-stars in the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League. Casey is playing for the Florida Pokers and has a 3.18 ERA in 17 innings. Hely, of the Boca Raton Blazers, has a 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings.
• Pitcher Pete Bloomberg and catcher John Hosmer are playing in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Bloomberg is 2-1 and has made five appearances for the Danbury Westerners. Hosmer is playing for the Upper Valley Night Hawks and hit a home run and drove in three runs July 14.