“In practice, Kevin [Rink] was always like, ‘Do you have a barrel on that bat?’ ... because I never hit the barrel,” Steele said. “I’d always get jammed inside or hit it off the end of the bat, so I wouldn’t make very good contact, and it transferred to the games.”
But after his junior season, he set out to improve, and his swing, mechanics and confidence soared heading into his senior year. Jason Cavanaugh showed Steele the issue with his head movement, which was keeping him from making consistent, solid contact.
“I wouldn’t keep it right on the ball, so, like, I wasn’t tracking it back,” Steele said. “This year I really tracked it in all the way where I was able to see more pitches, able to make better contact than I was last year.”
In addition to mechanics in his swing and stance, Cavanaugh saw the vast improvement in Steele's approach to opponent's breaking ball pitches.
"The juniors don’t know how to hit that. They’re not ready to handle off-speed pitches, and he was in that category. He could hit a mediocre fastball, but a lot of times, there’s not that many mediocre fastballs around," Cavanaugh said. "So, the issue was learning to handle velocity and learning to handle a breaking ball, and he was able to do those two things this year, which turned him into a quality hitter.”
Steele heads to Rock Valley College in the fall after competing with the U18 Kane County Phantoms this summer alongside Spartans teammate Matthew Cusumano, his catcher, and friendly conference foes from Kaneland, Nik Panico and Alex Buchanan. From there, Cavanaugh noted that he believed Steele could climb high in the college game.
Having come away excited about his trip to RVC's Rockford campus, Steele is mentally ready to step in to a school and program he sees comfort in joining.
“I knew right away that it was the place to be," Steele said.