Zack Gelof, UVA Baseball, flipping the page with eyes on successful 2021
Virginia third baseman Zack Gelof slashed .349/.469/.746 in the 18 games the Cavaliers were able to get in last season before the pandemic shut things down.
Gelof, a junior from Rehoboth Beach, Del., is getting all manner of preseason accolades – adding a second-team All-America honor from Baseball America on Monday to another second-team honor from Perfect Game, and a first-team nod from Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
He conceded last week that it was “tough to flip the page” when the 2020 season was cut short, but the UVA team – preseason #5 nationally, per Baseball America – was able to set the tone for 2021 in fall ball.
“When we came back in the fall, we definitely had some protocols, but it didn’t really stop us from getting better every day,” Gelof said last week, on the eve of the start of practice for the 2021 season.
Gelof has started the last 74 UVA games at third, taking over the hot corner as a true freshman in 2019, in which he slashed .313/.377/.396, with two homers and 15 extra-base hits, and 16 stolen bases.
His improvement from Year 1 to Year 2 was evident in the abbreviated 2020. He’d already hit a team-high five homers and had 13 extra-base hits, also a team high, as his slugging percentage nearly doubled.
Gelof was able to get an abbreviated summer season with the High Point-Thomasville HiToms in the Coastal Plain League, which was stocked with talent that you’d normally see dispersed across the summer landscape – in the Cape, in Northwoods, the CPL, Valley League.
He was able to build on his spring down in Carolina, slashing .364/.442/.636 in 49 plate appearances, with three homers and six extra-base hits in 15 games.
Now the focus is on this spring, and the work to get Virginia baseball back into the national spotlight.
“It’s definitely a thought where I think we just value playing baseball and getting a chance to win every game even more,” Gelof said. “When you get, like, kind of, like, not cheated out, but you know, when we’re really good baseball team, and we’re looking forward to championship aspirations, being one of the best teams in the country, and that’s taken away, it’s pretty tough, but it doesn’t really change much. We still want to win a championship, want to have high aspirations as a team, so I don’t think that changes that, but, definitely, people are looking around saying, this is our last year together as a group. We definitely want to win, and, you know, we have a really good chance this year.”
Story by Chris Graham