BRISTOL - Playing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League this summer with the Bristol Blues is another stop on Jake Regula’s route to recovery from back-to-back torn labrum surgeries.
But it’s also about regaining a part of his game that’s been missing since undergoing the two surgeries in 2015 and 2016.
“I think I’m fully recovered physically but I think the mental aspect is the part I need to work on each day,” Regula said. “That’s the part I’m trying to get better at.
I think when I came in as a freshman I was much better mentally because I was kind of like a prick, basically I just wanted to go out there and throw and then I got kind of setback with these surgeries and needed to put things into perspective and go about things the right way. I’m learning as I go and it’s been helpful to play with guys from other schools not just mine.”
With Bristol this season Regula has been inconsistent. He’s started one game and appeared four other games in relief.
Going into his July 4 start Regula had an 8.30 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.
While the numbers haven’t been there early on, manager Ronnie Palmer has seen progression from Regula in the short time he’s spent in Bristol.
“He’s got a good fastball,” Palmer said. “When we were up at Nashua over the weekend it was sitting at 87-90. So he’s got good velocity and a he’s also got good breaking stuff. When he has command in the zone he’s very effective and when he doesn’t have command he can still be effective because his stuff is that good.”
The redshirt junior from the University of Hartford pitched through the injury during his freshman season with the Hawks, which was his most impressive with a 1.69 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.
Since that season Regula hasn’t been the same on the mound. In 2017 his ERA was 6.55 in 34 1/3 innings and this past season he brought it down to 4.80 in 50 2/3 innings.
With the struggles and Regula still trying to find the mentality that led to a dominant freshman campaign, the FCBL was a good fit.
“It’s close to my home, it’s a really good league to play in and it’s what my coaches drew up for me,” Regula said. “They said it’d be a good fit for me. They wanted me to get more innings. With the surgeries I lost out on time so I wanted to get as much [time] back as I can. And I want to make my path continue toward pitching five innings at a time rather than just one here and one there.”
As Regula continues to work on his mental game, he believes spending the summer with the group in Bristol is just where he belongs.
“I think we’ve got a good combination of guys,” Regula said. “We’ve got young guys that are gonna be studs, we’ve got a couple Boston College commits, a Vanderbilt commit, a [University of Virginia] commit, a UConn commit and then we’ve got leadership too. We’ve got older guys like myself. It’s just a really good mixture I think. That’s what the perfect thing is. And you want that really good camaraderie between the guys and I think that’s what we’ve got here.”