CARY, N.C. — University of California at San Diego's Vance Albitz is listed as a gracious 5-foot-8, 160-pound shortstop from Torrance California. Upon further examination Albitz is probably in the 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-6 range and weighs around 145-150 pounds.
"I don't feel like I'm one of the smaller players. The only time I see that is when I'm looking at video of the game or if I see a picture of me standing next to one of my teammates."
But that didn't stop Albitz from leading the Tritons past Dowling (N.Y.) in the Division II world series. Albitz went 3-6 with two RBIs in UCSD's 13-1 win.
The tiny Albitz is San Diego's leadoff hitter and has been setting the table at the top of the order for San Diego all season long. The pesky Albitz has a batting stance that would catch anyone's eye.
Albitz's crouching stance makes him look much shorter at the plate and certainly shrinks the strike zone. He has a distinctive squat and his stance brings him much lower to the ground. It's very awkward looking and nothing near your prototypical batting stance.
It came about in high school after his freshman season. His father told him that he was standing too straight up in the batter's box and that his former stance lacked aggressiveness.
"What I ended up doing was getting as low as I could so it was just me versus the pitcher, a mano-a-mano type thing."
Albitz's eccentric stance has brought him success at the plate as he leads San Diego in hits with 82 on the season before Wednesday night's action against Dowling. He has reached base at a .444 clip, third among the teams starting position players. He also ranks fourth among Triton regulars with a .525 slugging percentage which is exceptional considering his size and the power he's bringing to the lead-off spot.
Albitz's speed helps enhance his range in the field and he's shown a strong arm from the shortstop position for a little guy. He leads the team in doubles and runs the bases well. Albitz has stolen 15 bases on the season in 20 tries for a 75 percent success rate.