Tag Archives: Big Ten

Rutgers-bound Besser keeps on buzzing the ball past batters

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Grant Besser’s habit of dodging bats with his pitches got him noticed during his prep days and it continues at the collegiate level.
At South Adams High School in Berne, Ind., the left-hander and four-time first-team all-Allen County Athletic Conference selection whiffed 451 in 241 innings with a 1.27 earned run average. He also hit .397 with eight home runs and 58 runs batted in.
As a senior, Besser fanned 130 in 54 frame and posted a 0.77 ERA and hit .426 with two homers and 17 RBIs for the Brad Buckingham-coached Starfires. He began working out that winter in Fort Wayne with Pittsburgh Pirates strength trainer Dru Scott.
When not pitching, lefty Besser was the unorthodox choice for South Adams at shortstop his last three seasons.
“I knew it looked silly, but I had been playing shortstop all my life,” says Besser. “I can throw from any arm angle. I had a great time doing it.
“Besides I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it for long. I knew pitching is what I wanted to do.”
Besser played in the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association North/South All-Star Series in Madison. He was honored as the 2019 Northeast Indiana Baseball Association/Dick Crumback Player of the Year.
The 2021 recipient of the award — Carter Mathison (Homestead/Indiana University) is Besser’s teammate this summer with New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats. Mathison was also the 2021 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Player of the Year.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Besser shined on the mound at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers.
In 36 appearances (10 starts), he went 6-4 with eight saves and a 2.66 earned run average as the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Buccaneers posted marks of 16-11 in 2020 (COVID-19 shortened), 44-16 in 2021 and 42-15 in 2022. He amassed 125 strikeouts and 42 walks in 94 2/3 innings.
Besser played no summer ball in 2020 and dealt with an injury at the beginning of the 2021. He came back and hurled five innings in the state tournament and did not allow a baserunner.
“I really saw a spike in all of my numbers for the good (in 2022),” says Besser. “I blew every category away from the previous years.”
He was in 20 games in 2022 and went 3-2 with six saves, a 1.28 ERA, 61 K’s and 16 walks in 42 1/3 innings.
Ben Bizier is head coach at Florida SouthWestern State. Derrick Conatser is Bucs pitching coach.
“I like that toughness to he brings to the table,” says Besser of Bizier.
In his exit interview with Bizier Besser was told that 18 Major League Baseball organizations have been following him as they prepare for the 2022 First-Year Player Draft (July 17-19 in Los Angeles).
“He said there’s a really good chance it happens this year,” says Besser, who turns 22 in September. “Out of high school I had zero (college) offers. Coach Buckingham offered me to Florida JUCO’s. I earned a scholarship at FSW in the spring.
“Money has never been the big thing for me. It’s opportunity and getting my foot in the door.”
This is Besser’s second straight summer at Keene and he has had several meaningful chats with Swamp Bats president and general manager Kevin Watterson.
So far, Besser has made four appearances (one start) and is 1-0 with an 0.87 ERA. In 10 1/3 innings, the southpaw has 10 strikeouts and one walk. The NECBL regular season ends July 30.
Throughout his college experience, Besser has been used in multiple pitching roles, including starter, long reliever and a closer.
“It doesn’t matter to me as long as we get a win,” says Besser. “I’m very versatile.”
Besser has excelled with an ability to keep his head when things get tense.
“It’s mental toughness. I preach it,” says Besser. “I can spot when somebody doesn’t have that mental toughness.
“I’m ready for the situation. I’m consistent with all that I do. I work quick and throw strikes. Preparation and a steady mindset is key.”
Throwing from a three-quarter arm slot, Besser uses a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, change-up and curveball.
“My four-seamer has natural run and a high spin rate,” says Besser. “Up in the zone is where I get the most out of it.
“This summer it’s been sitting 89 to 91 mph (it hit 92 at Florida SouthWestern State).”
Besser’s two-seamer moves in to left-handed hitters and away from righties.
His “circle” change-up break to his arm side and is usually clocked around 83 mph.
“My curveball is more of a slurve,” says Besser of the pitch that’s often delivered at around 78 mph. “I mix and match. Sometimes it’s 12-to-6 and sometimes I sweep it. It depends on the situation.”
Grant is the oldest of Mike and Katina Besser’s two sons. Adam Besser, a right-handed pitcher for Ivy Tech Northeast in Fort Wayne, turns 20 in August.
Mike Besser is a salesman for Moser Motor Sales. Katina Besser is chief financial officer at Swiss Village Retirement Community.
The family moved from Geneva and Berne when Grant was in the fifth grade. Beginning at 9U, he played travel ball for the Muncie Longhorns and Indiana Bandits and then Summit City Sluggers founder Mark DeLaGarza reached out to him and he spent two summers with the 17U Sluggers, playing for head coaches Todd Armstrong and Brent Alwine.
“My parents’ sacrifices let me do that,” says Grant. “The Sluggers gave me a lot of knowledge on baseball.”

With two years of eligibility remaining, has committed to NCAA Division I Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He signed with the Scarlet Knights over the winter.
Why Rutgers?
“What really attracting me was coming home to the Big Ten,” says Besser, who was born in Fort Wayne and grew up in Geneva and Berne. “It’s up-and-coming program and pretty hard-nosed.”
With Steve Owens as head coach and Brendan Monaghan guiding pitchers, the Scarlet Knights posted an overall mark of 44-17 and Big Ten record of 17-7 in 2022. Rutgers played Michigan in the conference tournament championship game.
After earning an Associate of Arts degree in Business Management at Florida SouthWestern State, Besser is considering a Labor and Relations major at Rutgers.

Grant Besser (Florida SouthWestern State College Photo)

Grant Besser (Florida SouthWestern State College Photo)
Grant Besser (Florida SouthWestern State College Photo)
Head coach Ben Bizier (left) and Grant Besser (Florida SouthWestern State College Photo)

City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
Grant Besser (Keene Swamp Bats Photo)

Notre Dame bound for Statesboro Regional; Look who conferences honored

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Notre Dame — the last college baseball team from Indiana left standing in 2022 — found out today (May 30) that the Irish will be in the Statesboro Regional for the 64-team NCAA Division I tournament.
The No. 2-seeded Irish (35-14) play No. 3 Texas Tech (37-20) at 2 p.m. Friday, June 3. Site host and top-seeded Georgia Southern (40-18) plays No. UNC Greensboro (34-28) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Notre Dame made it to the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Regionals continue through June 6 with super regionals June 10-13 and the College World Series June 17-27.
Ball State made it to the “if necessary” Mid-American Conference tournament championship game against Central Michigan and lost 11-7 to wind up the season at 40-19 overall and 32-7 as MAC regular-season champions. Central Michigan earned an automatic NCAA tournament bid.
Evansville (32-24, 14-6), Indiana State (26-22-1, 10-10-1) and Valparaiso (16-32, 5-15) bowed out in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
Seasons came to a close for Purdue (29-21, 9-12) and Indiana (27-32, 10-14) at the Big Ten tournament.
Purdue Fort Wayne (18-36, 13-15) finished up in the Horizon League tournament.
In the past few weeks, conferences have handed out postseason awards at the NCAA D-I, D-II and D-III, NAIA and junior college levels and there is a list of those below.

CONFERENCE AWARDS
NCAA D-I
Atlantic Coast: NOTRE DAME — lhp John Michael Bertrand (first team), of Ryan Cole (third team).
Big East: BUTLER— ss Travis Holt (second team), rhp Derek Drees (second team).
Big Ten: PURDUE — dh C.J. Valdez (first team), lhp Jackson Smeltz (third team), lhp Troy Wansing (freshman), of Tanner Haston (sportsmanship). INDIANA — c Matthew Ellis (third team), 1b Brock Tibbitts (freshman), ss Evan Goforth (freshman), 3b Josh Pyne (freshman), of Carter Mathison (freshman), if Tyler Doanes (sportsmanship).
Horizon: PURDUE FORT WAYNE — c Cade Fitzpatrick (second team), 3b Jack Lang (second team), rhp Rex Stills (freshman).
Mid-American: BALL STATE — lhp Tyler Schweitzer (pitcher of the year, first team), rhp Ryan Brown (freshman pitcher of the year, second team), 3b Ryan Peltier (defensive player of the year, second team, defensive), hc Rich Maloney (coach of the year), 1b Trenton Quartermaine (first team), of Zach Cole (first team, defensive), rhp Sam Klein (first team), of Amir Wright (second team), rhp Ty Johnson (second team).
Missouri Valley: EVANSVILLE — rhp Nick Smith (pitcher of the year, first team), hc Wes Carroll (coach of the year), 3b Brent Widder (first team), of Mark Shallenberger (first team), rhp Shane Gray (first team), 1b Tanner Craig (second team), ss Simon Scherry (second team), rhp Drew Dominik (second team), 2b Evan Berkey (honorable mention), of Eric Roberts (honorable mention). INDIANA STATE — ss Jordan Schaffer (first team), rhp Matt Jachec (first team, defensive), 2b Josue Urdaneta (second team), of Seth Gergely (second team, defensive), of Sean Ross (honorable mention), c Grant Magill (defensive). VALPARAISO — 2b Nolan Tucker (first team), rhp Colin Fields (second team), rhp Bobby Nowak (honorable mention), 3b Kaleb Hannahs (defensive).

NCAA D-II
Great Lakes Intercollegiate: PURDUE NORTHWEST — 2b Ethan Imlach (first team), of Ray Hilbrich (first team), c Jack Gallagher (second team), rhp Tyler Schultz (honorable mention), rhp Sam Shively (honorable mention).
Great Lakes Valley: INDIANAPOLIS — lhp Xavier Rivas (pitcher of the year, first team), ss Alex Vela (second team, sportsmanship), of Brandon DeWitt (second team). SOUTHERN INDIANA —lhp Sammy Barnett (sportsmanship).

NCAA D-III
Heartland Collegiate: FRANKLIN— c Logan Demkovich (first team), of Tysen Lipscomb (first team), rhp Nick McClanahan (pitcher of the year, first team), rhp Alex Reinoehl (first team), ss A.J. Sanders (first team), of Sean Sullivan (first team), 1b Matthew Earley (honorable mention), hc Lance Marshall (coach of the year), rhp Nick Elmendorf (sportsmanship). ROSE-HULMAN — rhp Ian Kline (first team), 1b Josh Mesenbrink (player of the year, first team), 3b Brett Tuttle (first team), 2b Colter Couillard-Rodak (second team), of Harrison Finch (second team), ss Manuel Lopez (second team), ut Adam Taylor (honorable mention), of Nathan Burke (sportsmanship). EARLHAM — dh Andrew Bradley (first team), 3b Devin Basley (second team), 2b Christian Lancianese (second team), of Nathan Lancianese (second team), rhp Aidan Talerek (second team), of Cameron McCabe (honorable mention), c Easton Embry (sportsmanship). ANDERSON— 1b Tyler Smitherman (first team), rhp Evan Doan (second team), lhp Kasey Henderson (second team), rhp Logan Nickel (second team), ss Justin Reed (second team), of Grahm Reedy (second team), of Jake Stank (newcomer of the year, second team), mif T.J. Price (honorable mention), c Tyler Young (sportsmanship). HANOVER — of Andrew Littlefield (first team), c Charlie Burton (second team), 1b Alex Christie (second team), rhp Charlie Joyce (second team), of Eric Roudebush (honorable mention), 3b/1b Jacob Dupps (sportsmanship). MANCHESTER— lhp Carter Hooks (first team), ut Rocco Hanes (second team), dh/ut Harrison Pittsford (second team), rhp/if Zach White (honorable mention, sportsmanship).
Michigan Intercollegiate: TRINE— rhp Josh Hoogewerf (second team), of Brenden Warner (second team).
North Coast: DEPAUW— 1b Kyle Callahan (first team), of Nick Nelson (first team), lhp Michael Vallone (first team), 2b Cameron Macon (second team), ss Evan Barnes (honorable mention), 3b Brian May (honorable mention), of/ut Danny Glimco (honorable mention). WABASH — 2b Austin Simmers (first team).

NAIA
Chicagoland: Calumet of St. Joseph — dh Bubba Davenport (second team), of Gabriel Quinones (second team). INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTH BEND— 2b Jake Vanderwoude (first team), c Kole Miller (second team).
Crossroads: TAYLOR — c/of T.J. Bass (player of year, first team), rhp Luke Shively (pitcher of the year, first team), rhp/of Kaleb Kolpein (newcomer of the year, second team), rhp Noah Huseman (first team), if Nick Rusche (first team, gold glove), of Conner Crawford (second team), 1b Kade VanderMolen (gold glove). INDIANA WESLEYAN — if Denver Blinn (first team), c Bryce Ginder (first team), if Lucas Goodin (first team), rhp Hunter Hoffman (first team), ut Evan Salmon (first team, gold glove), c Colby Jenkins (gold glove). HUNTINGTON — 3b Daniel Lichty (first team, gold glove), of/rhp Ian McCutcheon (first team), mif Satchell Wilson (second team). MARIAN — if Matteo Porcellato (first team), 1b Bryce Davenport (second team), of J.J. Rivera (second team, gold glove), Dion Wintjes (gold glove). SAINT FRANCIS — of-dh David Miller (first team), if/of/c Alec Brunson (gold glove). BETHEL— rhp Frank Plesac (first team), c Dominic Densler (second team), if/rhp Jeremy Wiersema (second team), if/rhp Ty Mickiewicz (gold glove). GRACE — rhp Evan Etchison (second team), rhp Hunter Schumacher (second team). GOSHEN — of Jenner Rodammer (second team, gold glove)
River States: INDIANA UNIVERSITY SOUTHEAST — 3b Trevor Campbell (player of the year, first team, gold glove), lhp Hunter Kloke (pitcher of the year, first team), hc Ben Reel (coach of the year), c Brody Tanksley (first team, gold glove), 2b Clay Woeste (first team, gold glove), of Marco Romero (first team, gold glove), rhp Lane Oesterling (second team), of Derek Wagner (second team), ut Brandon Boxer (second team), if Daunte DeCello (gold glove, Champions of Character). INDIANA UNIVERSITY KOKOMO — lhp Owen Callaghan (first team), of Patrick Mills (first team), lhp J.T. Holton (second team), 1b Noah Hurlock (second team), ss Riley Garczynski (second team), of Jack Leverenz (second team), dh Jared Heard (second team), if Matt Iacobucci (Champions of Character). OAKLAND CITY — ss Chandler Dunn (first team), of Noah Baugher (second team), if Austin Morris (Champions of Character).
Wolverine-Hoosier: INDIANA TECH — rhp Hayes Stutsman (first team), c Manuel Ascanio (second team), of Ashtin Moxey (second team), ut Trevor Patterson (gold glove), ss Jayden Reed (gold glove, second team), 2b Mike Snyder (second team), if Michael Oliger (Champions of Character).

Junior College
Michigan Community College: MARIAN’S ANCILLA — if Rylan Huntley (first team), if Josh Ledgard (honorable mention).
Mid-West: Vincennes — ss Peyton Lane (second team), ut Colton Evans (second team).

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through May 29
NCAA D-I
Ball State 40-19 (32-7 MAC)
Notre Dame 35-14 (16-11 ACC)
Evansville 32-24 (14-6 MVC)
Purdue 29-21 (9-12 Big Ten)
Indiana State 26-22-1 (10-10-1 MVC)
Indiana 27-32 (10-14 Big Ten)
Butler 20-35-1 (4-16-1 Big East)
Purdue Fort Wayne 18-36 (13-15 Horizon)
Valparaiso 16-32 (5-15 MVC)

NCAA D-II
Southern Indiana 21-28 (10-14 GLVC)
Indianapolis 21-31 (11-13 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 18-21 (7-17 GLIAC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 29-14 (13-5 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 28-13 (12-6 HCAC)
Earlham 26-13 (12-6 HCAC)
DePauw 22-17 (12-6 NCAC)
Wabash 20-19 (4-14 NCAC)
Anderson 20-21 (11-7 HCAC)
Hanover 16-22 (10-8 HCAC)
Trine 14-23 (9-12 MIAA)
Manchester 10-27 (6-12 HCAC)

NAIA
Taylor 41-18 (26-10 CL)
Indiana University Southeast 40-15 (20-4 RSC)
Indiana Tech 32-21 (13-7 WHAC)
Indiana Wesleyan 31-23 (23-13 CL)
Oakland City 31-23 (11-11 RSC)
Huntington 27-23 (21-15 CL)
Marian 27-27 (17-19 CL)
Saint Francis 27-28 (15-21 CL)
Indiana University-Kokomo 26-22 (16-7 RSC)
Bethel 25-29 (19-17 CL)
Grace 17-33 (10-26 CL)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 16-32 (11-18 CCAC)
Indiana University South Bend 16-32-1 (9-20-1 CCAC)
Goshen 11-39 (6-30 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 25-32 (15-19 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 16-19
Marian’s Ancilla 8-40 (6-22 MCCAA)

Week of May 23-29
NCAA D-I
Tuesday, May 24
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Pittsburgh 12, Georgia Tech 6
North Carolina State 11, Wake Forest 8
North Carolina 9, Clemson 2

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Missouri State 9, Illinois State 4

Wednesday, May 25
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Pittsburgh 6, Louisville 5
Florida State 13, Virginia 3
North Carolina State 9, Miami 6

Horizon League Tournament
Youngstown State 6, Purdue Fort Wayne 0
Northern Kentucky 3, Illinois-Chicago 2

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Central Michigan 11, Toledo 10

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Indiana State 8, Valparaiso 0
Missouri State 5, Southern Illinois 1
Evansville 9, Indiana State 1

Thursday, May 26
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Georgia Tech 9, Louisville 4
Notre Dame 5, Florida State 3
Virginia Tech 18, Clemson 6

Big Ten Conference Tournament
Penn State 5, Iowa 2
Rutgers 10, Purdue 3
Maryland 6, Indiana 5
Michigan 7, Illinois 5

Horizon League Tournament
Wright State 18, Northern Kentucky 4
Oakland 2, Youngstown State 0

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Ball State 6, Ohio 4

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Dallas Baptist 4, Bradley 3

Friday, May 27
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Notre Dame 3, Virginia 0
Wake Forest 16, Miami 3
North Carolina 10, Virginia Tech 0

Big Ten Conference Tournament
Iowa 5, Purdue 4
Rutgers 5, Penn State 4
Indiana 8, Illinois 1
Michigan 15, Maryland 8

Horizon League Tournament
Youngstown State 11, Northern Kentucky 7
Wright State 14, Oakland 3
Oakland 4, Youngstown State 2

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Toledo 13, Ohio 5
Ball State 9, Central Michigan 7

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Southern Illinois 8, Indiana State 2
Missouri State 19, Bradley 3
Evansville 21, Dallas Baptist 2

Saturday, May 28
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
North Carolina 7, Notre Dame 2
North Carolina State 8, Pittsburgh 3

Big Ten Conference Tournament
Iowa 11, Penn State 3
Indiana 6, Maryland 4 (11 inn.)
Iowa 7, Michigan 3
Rutgers 14, Indiana 2

Horizon League
Championship
Wright State 24, Oakland 0

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Central Michigan 10, Toledo 7
Central Michigan 12, Ball State 3

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Southern Illinois 7, Dallas Baptist 5
Missouri State 7, Evansville 6
Southern Illinois 8, Evansville 5

Sunday, May 29
Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Championship
North Carolina 9, North Carolina State 5

Big Ten Conference Tournament
Michigan 13, Iowa 1
Championship
Michigan 10, Rutgers 4

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Championship
Central Michigan 11, Ball State 7

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Southern Illinois 9, Missouri State 6
Championship
Missouri State 13, Southern Illinois 3

Taylor’s Gould, Indiana Wesleyan’s Benjamin, Bethel’s Zartman, DePauw’s Allen reach milestones; Ball State sweeps Central Michigan

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Three Indiana-based Crossroads League head coaches reached victory milestones as the regular season came to a close the week of April 25-May 1.
Taylor’s Kyle Gould earned his 600th win, Indiana Wesleyan’s Rich Benjamin his 500th and Bethel’s Seth Zartman his 400th.
The eight-team Crossroads League tournament is slated for May 6-10 at Taylor. Mount Vernon Nazarene won the regular-season title. Seeds 2-8 are Taylor, Indiana Wesleyan, Huntington, Bethel, Spring Arbor and Saint Francis. The 2022 season came to a close for CL members Grace and Goshen.
Indiana Southeast swept three River States Conference games from Midway and Oakland City went 3-0 in conference play against Ohio Christian.
The six-team RSC tournament featuring Indiana Southeast, Indiana University Kokomo and Oakland City is May 5-8 in Chillicothe, Ohio.
Indiana Tech went 2-0 against Northwestern Ohio in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference games.
The WHAC tournament first round is May 5-6 with No. 5 seed Indiana Tech, No. 1 Northwestern Ohio (host) and No. 6 Concordia in Pod B. The championship round is slated for May 9-10. The tournament winner receives the second automatic qualifier to the NAIA national tournament. If it is the conference champion, then the runner up of the tournament will receive the second berth.
NCAA Division I Ball State (29-14, 23-4) ran its win streak to eight and took over the lead in the Mid-American Conference with a four-game sweep of visiting Central Michigan. The Chippewas had won 22 straight MAC games prior to Friday’s loss to the Cardinals.
Four-game conference series against Kent State, Ohio and Miami remain on BSU’s regular-season slate. The MAC tournament is schedule for May 25-28.
Notre Dame (28-10, 13-8) won two of three games in an Atlantic Coast Conference series against Boston College. The Irish are No. 8 in the D1Baseball.com RPI.
Evansville (24-18, 9-3) took all three Missouri Valley Conference games from Bradley.
Purdue (25-14, 6-7) went 2-1 vs. Michigan and Indiana (20-24, 6-9) 2-1 against Illinois in a pair of Big Ten Conference series.
NCAA Division II Southern Indiana split four Great Lakes Valley Conference games against Missouri Science & Technology.
NCAA D-III Franklin won both Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contests against Transylvania.
Also in the HCAC, Hanover was 2-0 against Transylvania and 1-1 vs. Defiance, Rose-Hulman 2-0 against Bluffton, Manchester 1-1 vs. Mount St. Joseph and Earlham and Anderson split a two-game series.
The five-team HCAC tournament is scheduled for May 12-15 at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
Wabash went 1-1 against Hiram in North Coast Athletic Conference play. The four-team NCAC tournament is May 12-14 in Chillicothe, Ohio.
By beating Anderson Wednesday, DePauw’s Blake Allen got his 100th career victory as a head coach.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL
Records Through May 1
NCAA D-I
Ball State 29-14 (23-4 MAC)
Notre Dame 28-10 (13-8 ACC)
Purdue 25-14 (6-7 Big Ten)
Evansville 24-18 (9-3 MVC)
Indiana State 22-13 (7-5 MVC)
Indiana 20-24 (6-9 Big Ten)
Butler 18-26-1 (2-9-1 Big East)
Valparaiso 14-25 (3-9 MVC)
Purdue Fort Wayne 12-30 (9-13 Horizon)

NCAA D-II
Indianapolis 20-25 (11-9 GLVC)
Purdue Northwest 18-17 (7-13 GLIAC)
Southern Indiana 17-28 (6-14 GLVC)

NCAA D-III
Franklin 25-11 (10-4 HCAC)
Rose-Hulman 22-10 (11-5 HCAC)
Earlham 21-9 (10-4 HCAC)
Wabash 20-13 (4-10 NCAC)
DePauw 17-15 (8-6 NCAC)
Anderson 17-17 (9-5 HCAC)
Hanover 16-18 (10-6 HCAC)
Trine 14-20 (9-9 MIAA)
Manchester 8-25 (4-10 HCAC)

NAIA
Taylor 36-16 (26-10 CL)
Indiana University Southeast 35-13 (20-4 RSC)
Indiana Tech 31-19 (13-7 WHAC)
Indiana Wesleyan 30-21 (23-13 CL)
Oakland City 28-19 (11-11 RSC)
Indiana University-Kokomo 26-20 (16-7 RSC)
Saint Francis 26-26 (15-21 CL)
Marian 25-25 (17-19 CL)
Bethel 25-27 (19-17 CL)
Huntington 24-21 (21-15 CL)
Grace 17-33 (10-26 CL)
Calumet of Saint Joseph 16-30 (11-18 CCAC)
Indiana University South Bend 15-30-1 (9-20-1 CCAC)
Goshen 11-39 (6-30 CL)

Junior College
Vincennes 19-25 (9-13 MWAC)
Ivy Tech Northeast 15-18
Marian’s Ancilla 8-36 (6-18 MCCAA)

Week of April 25-May 1
NCAA D-I
Monday, April 25
Ball State 15, Northern Illinois 1

Tuesday, April 26
Indiana 9, Butler 1
Belmont 8, Evansville 2
Michigan State 8, Notre Dame 2
Purdue 6, Valparaiso 5 (10 inn.)

Wednesday, April 27
Indiana 3, Illinois State 1
Michigan State 7, Purdue Fort Wayne 4

Friday, April 29
Ball State 7, Central Michigan 1
Connecticut 8, Butler 7 (10 inn.)
Evansville 6, Bradley 5
Indiana 7, Illinois 6
Missouri State 7, Indiana State 6
Boston College 7, Notre Dame 4
Purdue 18, Michigan 4
Illinois-Chicago 7, Purdue Fort Wayne 3
Southern Illinois 4, Valparaiso 0

Saturday, April 30
Ball State 6, Central Michigan 4
Ball State 10, Central Michigan 7
Connecticut 14, Butler 7
Evansville 8, Bradley 7
Illinois 18, Indiana 10
Missouri State 11, Indiana State 4
Notre Dame 11, Boston College 5
Purdue 12, Michigan 4
Illinois-Chicago 4, Purdue Fort Wayne 2
Southern Illinois 15, Valparaiso 12

Sunday, May 1
Ball State 4, Central Michigan 3
Connecticut 17, Butler 4
Evansville 15, Bradley 4
Indiana 11, Illinois 7
Indiana State 8, Missouri State 1
Notre Dame 16, Boston College 10
Michigan 13, Purdue 2
Illinois-Chicago 21, Purdue Fort Wayne 5
Valparaiso 11, Southern Illinois 10

NCAA D-II
Tuesday, April 26
Ohio Dominican 13, Indianapolis 3
Ohio Dominican 2, Indianapolis 1
Kentucky Wesleyan 11, Southern Indiana 7

Wednesday, April 27
Purdue Northwest 3, Wisconsin-Parkside 1
Wisconsin-Parkside 5, Purdue Northwest 0

Friday, April 29
Illinois-Springfield 15, Indianapolis 2
Wayne State 23, Purdue Northwest 4
Southern Indiana 12, Missouri S&T 9

Saturday, April 30
Indianapolis 9, Illinois-Springfield 8
Illinois-Springfield 11, Indianapolis 1
Wayne State 9, Purdue Northwest 2
Wayne State 9, Purdue Northwest 2
Southern Indiana 7, Missouri S&T 6
Missouri S&T 5, Southern Indiana 1

Sunday, May 1
Illinois-Springfield 11, Indianapolis 10 (10 inn.)
Purdue Northwest 11, Wayne State 10
Missouri S&T 5, Southern Indiana 1
Missouri S&T 12, Southern Indiana 9

NCAA D-III
Monday, April 25
Webster 5, Franklin 1
Webster 7, Franklin 1
Calvin 15, Trine 5

Tuesday, April 26
DePauw 12, Rose-Hulman 8
Hanover 19, Transylvania 7
Hanover 20, Transylvania 13
Huntington 10, Manchester 1

Wednesday, April 27
DePauw 11, Anderson 10
Denison 15, Hanover 8
Indiana Tech 15, Manchester 5
Rose-Hulman 5, Greenville 2

Friday, April 29
Earlham 7, Anderson 4
Anderson 7, Earlham 6

Saturday, April 30
Franklin 9, Transylvania 6
Franklin 5, Transylvania 4
Hanover 5, Defiance 1
Defiance 8, Hanover 4
Manchester 9, Mount St. Joseph 6
Mount St. Joseph 8, Manchester 7
Albion 8, Trine 4
Trine 3, Albion 1
Wabash 8, Hiram 6
Hiram 6, Wabash 5 (11 inn.)

Sunday, May 1
Marietta 13, Hanover 0
Rose-Hulman 3, Bluffton 0
Rose-Hulman 10, Bluffton 7
Trine 10, Albion 3

NAIA
Tuesday, April 26
IU Kokomo 7, Grace 2
Huntington 10, Manchester 1
St. Francis (Ill.) 9, Indiana Tech 8
Indiana Tech 10, St. Francis (Ill.) 2
IU Southeast 11, Cumberlands 9
Kentucky State 2, Oakland City 0
Kentucky State 2, Oakland City 0

Wednesday, April 27
Calumet of St. Joseph 5, Trinity International 4
Calumet of St. Joseph 6, Trinity International 1
Indiana Tech 15, Manchester 5
St. Francis (Ill.) 2, IU South Bend 1
St. Francis (Ill.) 6, IU South Bend 2

Thursday, April 28
IU Southeast 3, Midway 2
IU Southeast 8, Midway 7
Oakland City 3, Ohio Christian 2 (11 inn.)

Friday, April 29
Bethel 7, Saint Francis 4
Saint Francis 5, Bethel 4
Roosevelt 20, Calumet of St. Joseph 6
Roosevelt 5, Calumet of St. Joseph 2
Goshen 10, Spring Arbor 6
Spring Arbor 10, Goshen 3
Taylor 9, Grace 0
Taylor 16, Grace 0
Mount Vernon Nazarene 13, Huntington 0
Mount Vernon Nazarene 17, Huntington 16
IU Kokomo 8, Point Park 5
Point Park 5, IU Kokomo 4
IU Southeast 12, Midway 6
IU South Bend 12, Lincoln 7
Indiana Wesleyan 9, Marian 2
Indiana Wesleyan 11, Marian 3
Oakland City 10, Ohio Christian 9
Oakland City 7, Ohio Christian 6

Saturday, April 30
Bethel 5, Saint Francis 3
Bethel 2, Saint Francis 1
Roosevelt 4, Calumet of St. Joseph 1
Spring Arbor 13, Goshen 6
Spring Arbor 11, Goshen 9
Taylor 19, Grace 11
Taylor 9, Grace 8
Mount Vernon Nazarene 5, Huntington 0
Mount Vernon Nazarene 7, Huntington 0
Indiana Tech 8, Northwestern Ohio 1
Indiana Tech 5, Northwestern Ohio 2
Point Park 7, IU Kokomo 5
IU South Bend 15, Lincoln 6
Lincoln 1, IU South Bend 0 (10 inn.)
Indiana Wesleyan 8, Marian 3
Marian 8, Indiana Wesleyan 5

Junior College
Tuesday, April 26
Lincoln Trail 12, Vincennes 7

Thursday, April 28
Kellogg 11, Marian’s Ancilla 0
Kellogg 6, Marian’s Ancilla 0

Saturday, April 30
Kellogg 13, Marian’s Ancilla 2
Vincennes 17, Lewis & Clark 7
Lewis & Clark 11, Vincennes 4

Veteran baseball coach Smith assisting travel ball space with Diamond Allegiance

By STEVE KRAH
http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Tracy Smith became a head coach in NCAA Division I baseball at 30.
For the next quarter century, the Indiana native taught the game and developed relationships with players, families and others.
Smith grew up in Kentland — a small town of less than 2,000 folks in Newton County — learning fundamentals from Donald “Tater” Blankenship and then playing baseball and basketball for Denny Stitz at South Newton High School.
Other mentors include (college baseball coach) Jon Pavlisko, (minor league manager and coach) Brad Mills and Bill Harford, (Miami University Middleton basketball coach) Jim Sliger and (father-in-law and former MUM athletic director) Lynn Darbyshire.
Tracy and wife Jaime have three sons — Casey (as in Casey At The Bat), Ty (as in Ty Cobb) and Jack (as in Jackie Robinson) — and are grandparents.
Smith, who played at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and in the Chicago Cubs system, led programs at Miami Middletown, Miami and Indiana University — taking to the Hoosiers to the College World Series and receiving National Coach of the Year honors in 2013 — before becoming head coach at Arizona State University. Not including the COVID-19-shortened 2020 campaign, he took the Sun Devils to four NCAA regional appearances in six seasons. His ASU teams won 201 games.
In June 2021, Smith was let go at Arizona State. He saw it as an opportunity to focus his energy on a venture called Diamond Allegiance — an organization dedicated to reimagining travel baseball. He had been serving on its board for a couple of years.
“I looked at it as my way of giving back to help the game of baseball bigger and more impactful than maybe the 35 guys in the locker room that I’ve coached over my entire career,” says Smith of his reason for diving in full-time with Diamond Allegiance. “I’ve been working hard and pulling in some of my friends.
“You’ve got this army of former professional players and big league players that want to give back to the game as well.”
Smith, 56, is CEO for Diamond Allegiance and works with an Executive and Advisory Board committee that features current collegiate coaches Erik Bakich (University of Michigan) and Kevin O’Sullivan (University of Florida) and former Oregon State University coach Pat Casey. Matt Gerber is head of player business and development. Two-time softball gold medalist and ESPN analyst Michele Smith is also board member.
The OSU Beavers won three CWS titles on Casey’s watch (2006, 2007 and 2018) while O’Sullivan’s Gators reigned in 2017.
According to its website, Diamond Allegiance “helps members run better businesses, augments their player development capabilities, provides more career opportunities for coaches, reduces the cost for families/players, and increases participation of underrepresented communities. We generate this impact through a powerful mix of partnerships, services, technology, and philanthropy.”
Partners include Canes Baseball, the Indiana Bulls and many more.
Says Smith, who grew up playing Babe Ruth ball and for Remington (Ind.) American Legion Post 280: “As a coach you’re always on the receiving end of kids coming up through the travel ball system. I don’t want to say the system was broken because it’s not. People in the travel ball business do an unbelievable job. The industry itself has become more of a showcase/exposure industry and not as much development.
“We want to focus on the development piece.”
Diamond Allegiance, which was officially launched at the American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Chicago in January, offers a 12-month development system with text designed by Bakich that is currently not on the market.
At Chicago came the first chance for feedback from the baseball industry. High school coaches without access to travel baseball in their areas approached asking if they can tap into Diamond Allegiance resources.
“They will have access to a version of what we’re doing,” says Smith.
A predictive mechanism powered by CURVE, which creates a score taking into account brain, ball and body data that tells how high a player might go is another Diamond Allegiance perk.
Partners receive the ability to reach college conferences and coaches, push content to their coaches and team while building brand and culture. There is also access to top baseball industry leaders and the best tech providers.
Sandy Ogg, a CEO developer for Fortune 500 companies who Smith met through former Indiana University senior associate athletic director and current Diamond Sports Foundation CEO Tim Fitzpatrick, is part of Diamond Allegiance.
Members get marketing and branding services and assistance with their businesses.
“Owners can run better businesses and be more efficient in those practices,” says Smith. “They can make money that they’ll reinvest into creating and providing opportunities for kids who can’t afford to play.
“I’m very passionate and have always been very passionate about creating opportunities for kids who can’t be a part of it. When you look at our rosters over time we’ve tried to have a diverse roster. We really made a conscious effort to beat the bushes to find kids to play.”
The idea is to provide value and assistance in making important decisions.
“I see the amount of money families spend on getting their kid a college scholarship,” says Smith. “On a $5,000 college scholarship they’re spending $20,000 a year.
“We want to provide direction. It’s OK to spend that money, but let’s spend it wisely.”
Diamond Sports Foundation allows families an opportunity to apply for help to offset or — in some cases — totally fund the travel ball experience.
Diamond Allegiance will share knowledge to help guide parents and players through this recruiting process
“There’s this myth out there that if you don’t play Power Five baseball (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) that in some way, share or form you have failed. I’ve always hated that,” says Smith. “Anytime I would talk to groups, families and kids I would say every one of you can play beyond high school. There’s a place for you to do that. You just have to find the right fit.
“One of the things we’re going to be doing with Diamond Allegiance is giving families and kids true direction so that they can reach their aspiration.”
Knowing that others have attempted to do the same thing, Smith addresses question about the Diamond Allegiance difference.
“We’ve got a really, really good group of people that are passionate about making this game better,” says Smith, who has been talking with up to 10 travel programs a week. “You have people that are motivated to do right and do well by the game.
“It will not fail.”
To learn more, visit diamondallegiance.com. To apply for a partnership, email hello@diamondallegiance.com.

A video on the Diamond Allegiance organization.
Tracy Smith, former head baseball coach at Miami University Hamilton, Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), Indiana University and Arizona State University, is now CEO for Diamond Alliance, a group which assists in the travel ball world. (Arizona State University Photo)

Indiana Tech, IU Southeast, Huntington, Marian in NAIA Opening Round

RBILOGOSMALL copy

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

A quest for an NAIA baseball national title begins today (May 13) for four Indiana schools.

The double-elimination Opening Round begins at nine sites. Indiana Tech is the No. 2 seed at Williamsburg, Ky., Indiana University Southeast is No. 3 at Lawrenceville, Ga., Huntington is No. 4 at Macon, Ga., and Marian is No. 5 at Kingsport, Tenn.

Indiana Tech (38-14-1) takes on Lyon (Ark.) in its first game while IU Southeast (35-18) faces Georgetown (Ky.), Huntington (26-14) squares off against British Columbia and Marian (30-19) clashes with Madonna (Mich.).

Winners in the Opening Round, which is scheduled to conclude May 16, advance to the 63rd annual NAIA World Series May 24-31 in Lewiston, Idaho.

No. 3 seed Oakland City (21-13) will host the National Christian College Athletic Association Mid-East Regional and plays Hiwassee (Tenn.) today. The regional goes through May 16. The NCCAA World Series is May 22-25 in Easley, S.C.

By beating Rose-Hulman in the championship of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament, Franklin (28-13) earned a berth in the NCAA Division III regionals and were to learn where they go today.

In NCAA Division I, Indiana (33-18, 14-7) is in second place in the Big Ten Conference standings behind Michigan (37-13, 15-5). The eight-team conference tournament is May 22-26 in Omaha, Neb. Before that, the Hoosiers play host to Louisville Tuesday, May 14 then Rutgers in a Friday-Saturday-Sunday series.

Purdue (19-31, 7-13) is in 12th in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers play host to Xavier Tuesday, May, 14 then Ohio State for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Indiana State (34-14, 11-7) is in second in the Missouri Valley Conference behind Dallas Baptist (36-15, 12-6) and Illinois State (30-21, 12-6). The Sycamores host Bradley Friday, Saturday and Sunday before the eight-team MVC tournament May 21-15 in Normal, Ill.

Evansville (23-24, 10-8) is fifth in the MVC. The Purple Aces visit Belmont Tuesday and Illinois State Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Valparaiso (13-32, 6-12) is seventh in the MVC. The Crusaders plays host to Chicago State Tuesday then goes to Missouri State Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Ball State (33-17, 17-5) sits in second in the Mid-American Conference behind Central Michigan (39-12, 19-5). The Cardinals, coming off combined a nine-inning no-hitter by John Baker and Luke Jaksich, host Toledo Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The MAC tournament is scheduled for May 22-26 in Avon, Ohio.

Butler (25-23, 5-9) is fifth in the Big East Conference. The Bulldogs visit Eastern Illinois Tuesday and Georgetown Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Big East tournament is May 23-26 at a site to be determined.

Notre Dame (22-26, 12-15) is sixth the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division, which has its 12-team tournament May 21-26 in Durham, N.C. The Irish go to Northwestern Tuesday and Boston College Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Purdue Fort Wayne (6-42, 1-26 Summit League) is at Toledo Tuesday and at home with Western Illinois Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Summit League tournament is slated for May 22-25 in Tulsa, Okla.

Vincennes (25-28, 13-18 in the Mid-West Conference) play in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Midwest District May 16-20 in Normal, Ill.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL

Records Through May 12

NCAA Division I

Indiana State 34-14 (11-7 Missouri Valley)

Indiana 33-18 (14-7 Big Ten)

Ball State 33-17 (17-5 Mid-American)

Butler 25-23 (5-9 Big East)

Evansville 23-24 (10-8 Missouri Valley)

Notre Dame 22-26 (12-15 Atlantic Coast)

Purdue 19-31 (7-13 Big Ten)

Valparaiso 13-32 (6-12 Missouri Valley)

Purdue Fort Wayne 6-42 (1-26 Summit)

NCAA Division II

Indianapolis 30-20 (19-14 Great Lakes Valley)

Southern Indiana 30-21 (21-12 Great Lakes Valley)

Oakland City 21-13

NCAA Division III

Franklin 28-13 (12-6 Heartland)

Rose-Hulman 27-12 (14-2 Heartland)

DePauw 22-15 (8-8 North Coast)

Wabash 22-19 (9-8 North Coast)

Anderson 21-16 (10-8 Heartland)

Earlham 16-21 (8-10 Heartland)

Hanover 15-19 (7-11 Heartland)

Trine 15-25 (8-20 Michigan Intercollegiate)

Manchester 14-23 (8-9 Heartland)

NAIA

Indiana Tech 38-14-1 (17-4-1 Wolverine-Hoosier)

Taylor 38-18 (15-12 Crossroads)

Indiana University-Kokomo 36-18 (19-8 River States)

Indiana University Southeast 35-18 (21-6 River States)

Marian 30-19 (17-10 Crossroads)

Huntington 26-14 (20-7 Crossroads)

Indiana Wesleyan 22-30 (15-11 Crossroads)

Purdue Northwest 21-27 (16-12 Great Lakes Intercollegiate)

Goshen 20-29 (12-15 Crossroads)

Grace 17-27 (10-17 Crossroads)

Indiana University South Bend 13-38 (11-19 Chicagoland)

Saint Francis 13-40 (7-20 Crossroads)

Bethel 11-29 (7-20 Crossroads)

Calumet of Saint Joseph 8-39 (1-27 Chicagoland)

Junior College

Ivy Tech Northeast 33-14

Vincennes 25-28 (13-18 Mid-West)

Ancilla 5-30 (4-24 Michigan Community)

BASEBALLIMAGE10

Anderson native Earley builds trust with elite hitters at Arizona State

RBILOGOSMALL copy

BY STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Michael Earley works with some of the best college batsmen in the country.

The Anderson, Ind., native is the hitting coach at Arizona State University, where former Indiana University head coach Tracy Smith fields a potent Sun Devils lineup featuring junior outfielder Hunter Bishop (.391 average, 17 home runs, 43 runs batted in), sophomore infielder Spencer Torkelson (.378-11-42), sophomore outfielder Trevor Hauver (.355-9-33), sophomore infielder Alika Williams (.352-3-34), Carter Aldrete (.290-4-32), junior catcher Lyle Lin (.287-4-35) and more.

In Earley’s first season with ASU hitters in 2018, Torkelson slugged a nation-leading 25 homers (the first frosh ever to lead the country in circuit clouts). Aldrete and Lin both raised their averages from the previous season by 20 points and were named to the all-Pac-12 team.

With Earley’s help on offense and defense, outfielder Gage Canning (.369-9-45) had a strong junior season and was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and signed with the Washington Nationals.

Earley, who turned 31 on March 15, helps players get into a productive rhythm.

“We create a routine and stick to that routine when things are going good or when things are going bad,” says Earley. “I know how important that is and to not get caught up in failure or success.

“With the elite guys, I become a psychologist and a mental coach more than a physical coach. I want to keep them even-keeled at all times.”

It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.

“Every guy’s different,” says Earley. “They can be similar hitters, but have opposite personalities.

“You need to connect with them so you know what makes them tick or go.”

Earley (@earleybaseball on Twitter and earleyhitcoach on Instagram) does this by making himself available.

“It’s about putting in the time and always being available for them,” says Earley. “Your work shows them you care. You never turn them down.

“We’ve built a culture of guys hitting all the time. They do it on their own and between classes. Guys are just working. We’ve got some guys who are obsessed with their craft.”

Spending so much time with his players builds a sense of trust.

“If they trust you, that’s the key to having a good relationship as hitting coach and hitter and having success,” says Earley.

After the 2018-19 Christmas break, Sun Devil hitters moved into the $5 million Malone complex, a place where they put in cage work before hitting outdoors.

“It’s the nicest batting facility I’ve ever seen,” says Earley.

Hitters will see pitches off a velocity and breaking ball machines.

“We usually do it every other day,” says Earley. “On a comfortable day, we’ll do regular BP and front toss. On a discomfort day, we’ll take gameday, high-heart rate swings.”

During preseason, Smith raised the competition level by sending his top four hitters against his top two pitchers for three or four innings of intense scrimmage.

ASU has built a culture of competition. It calms down a little during the season. But in the fall and preseason, Earley says it’s tough to beat.

“We have alpha-type athletes competing over and over again,” says Earley. “We have a smaller roster and we’re getting creative and writing things down and it just came to him.

“We had a lot of stressful innings for our pitchers and high-intensity at-bats for our hitters. It was huge for us coming into the year.”

Arizona State, which plays its home games at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, got out of the gate in 2019 at 21-0 and are currently 27-7 overall and 10-5 in the Pac-12.

“We’re big on opposing scouting,” says Earley. “Our guys are really prepared. They’ve seen (opposing pitchers) before on video.

“Some of the analytics things we keep in-house. It does pay a big part in what we do every day.”

Earley is a 2006 graduate of Anderson (Ind.) High School, where he played for head coach Terry Turner. After one season at the University of Cincinnati for head coach Brian Cleary, he went to Indiana to play for Smith.

“I love Coach Turner,” says Earley. “He was mentor figure. He was the first coach that believed in me and helped push me.

“I’m a huge Daleville fan now.”

Turner has coached Daleville (Ind.) High School to IHSAA Class 1A state titles in 2016 and 2018.

Earley calls former Cincinnati coaches Cleary and assistant Brad Meador “great people.” He was just looking for a different experience and a chance to play at IU.

“He never let you let down,” says Earley of playing for Smith. “You always had to compete. He always expected the best out of you. It helped me get to the next level and be the best player you could be.

“It helped me translate into a better player and a better coach.”

In one season with the Bearcats (2007) and three with the Hoosiers (2008-10), righty swinger Smith hit .327 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI’s. In 2010, he was a third-team all-Big Ten selection after hitting .352-13-40 with 15 stolen bases. Mostly an outfielder, he played at least one inning at every position on the field except pitcher.

He was drafted in the 29th round by the Chicago White Sox, signed by scout Mike Shirley and ascending to Triple-A Charlotte in 2013. He played professional baseball through 2015, the last year with the independent Southern Illinois Miners. He was an associate scout with the New York Mets in 2016.

Nolan Earley, a freshman center fielder and lead-off hitter at Anderson when big brother Michael was a senior shortstop and No. 3 hitter (Nolan was the starting QB and Michael a wideout in football). Nolan later played at the University of South Alabama and in the White Sox organization and with the Southern Illinois Miners.

Michael and Lisa Earley were married in 2015. The couple have three children — Marshall (5), Mia (3) and Maddie (1). They were living in Anderson before getting the call to Arizona.

Her husband says Lisa was not hesitant to make the move.

“She was with me in the minor leagues,” says Michael Earley. “She’s a baseball wife. This is her lifestyle.”

MICHAELEARLEY1

Michael Earley, a graduate of Anderson (Ind.) High School who played at Indiana University and in professional baseball, is in his second season as hitting and outfielder coach at Arizona State University. Former IU head coach Tracy Smith is head coach of the Sun Devils. (Arizona State University Photo)

Purdue pitching coach Cribby builds relationships with Generation Z

RBILOGOSMALL copy

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Elliott Cribby has knowledge to share about throwing a baseball.

But the main reason the Redmond, Wash., native became a coach was to build relationships and have a lasting impact on young men.

“I want to help them achieve their dreams,” says Cribby, the first-year pitching coach at Purdue University. “I get more joy doing that than I ever did when I was playing.”

The former University of Washington closer has learned how to communicate with Generation Z.

“They have a lot of questions,” says Cribby, 33. “They want to know why on a lot of things.”

Teaching methods have changed since Cribby was pitching for Lake Washington High School, Columbia Basin College, Washington and the independent professional Rockford (Ill.) RiverHawks.

“It can’t be all tough love or you’ll lose them,” says Cribby. “You have to be able to communicate the way they communicate today.”

The current generation is more visual and they take in information by doing rather than listening to a long lecture.

Cribby gets players to understand concepts like mechanics, mentality and strategy by sharing videos he’s seen on social media and by letting them see what they can do with the baseball in their hand.

A presenter at the 2019 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic in Indianapolis, Cribby emphasizes communication and scheduling, maximizing time efficiency, bullpen work, simulating a game-like environment, “turning up the heat,” setting expectations, sticking with a plan, consistency and training the arm for strength and health as he gets the Boilermakers ready for the 2019 season opener on Feb. 15 at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Cribby insists that his athletes know what they’re going to be throwing in advance and posts a weekly schedule.

He cautions high school coaches about time.

“Understand your time is precious,” says Cribby. “March to May is three months.

“You must get creative to maximize the limited hours you have to get your pitchers the work that you need.”

Cribby says pitchers need their work everyday. They can build “feel” and confidence with 15 pitches per day in practice. They should work basic locations first. Down and away is thrown most at the high school level.

“Flat grounds are the best way to get the most reps in with the limited practice hours,” says Cribby. “However, they must be intentfull! You as coaches must control that. A miss up in the zone is not OK!”

If weather dictates, game-like conditions can be simulated in the cage with a mobile mound.

“Pitchers need to have hitters in the box as much as possible when they are throwing live or in a flat ground,” says Cribby.

Coaches should make their voices heard to create pressure.

“Don’t be afraid to get vocal!,” says Cribby. “Pitchers need to practice being ‘under fire.’ These environments in practice should be difficult.”

It’s key to teach them what creates success on the mound. That’s how to pitch.

Cribby insists that coaches do not deviate from the plan.

“Stay consistent with your mission,” says Cribby.

At Purdue, pitchers do a lot of throwing.

“The arm must be conditioned to the point where it can withstand the violence of throwing explosively through each start/appearance,” says Cribby.

For about 10 weeks since November, the Boilers have been ramping up and throwing long toss to build arm strength.

“Our guys throw twice a week and get after it,” says Cribby. “We want them to get adequate rest between throwing days. The number of throws is managed.

“The goal is to throw a little father each time out.”

Cribby has seen velocity increase as players are able to increase the distance of their long toss.

After long toss come two max-effort pull down throws.

They throw it on a line as hard they can,” says Cribby.

Then comes several arm care exercises. There are explosive movements with medicine balls along with core, forearm and shoulder work.

“We want to build up the whole arm and not just the shoulder,” says Cribby.

He has been on the job since July and Purdue pitchers have been competing since the fall. The first scrimmage of the preseason phase of practice was last Sunday. Cribby expects mound roles for the season to be defined in the next 10 days or so.

“The strength of the pitching staff is we have a lot of options,” says Cribby. “1 to 16, I’m pretty comfortable with the group we have.”

Among the arms is right-handers Andrew Bohm, Trevor Cheaney, Bo Hofstra, Trent Johnson, Dalton Parker and Drew Peterson and left-handers Ryan Beard and Hayden Wynja.

Redshirt sophomore Bohm started the Big Ten Tournament championship game against Minnesota and an NCAA Regional game against Houston in 2018. Purdue went 38-21 overall and 17-6 in the Big Ten.

Junior Cheaney made 29 appearances for the ’18 Boilers. Sophomore Hofstra got into 28 games (27 in relief). Sophomore Johnson, a Crawfordsville High School graduate, started half of his 18 appearances. Junior Parker was in the bullpen for all 18 of his contests, but he could find himself starting this spring.

Freshman Peterson (Chesterton) reminds Cribby of former teammate Tim Lincecum (he played with the future big leaguer during summer ball in high school and at Washington).

But not because of stature — Peterson is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds and Lincecum 5-11, 170.

“They’e both happy-go-lucky,” says Cribby. “When they get on the mound, they are bulldogs. Play time is over. When the outing is over, they go back to their fun-loving selves.”

When Cribby met Lincecum, the latter was about 5-5. But he made the summer team and went on to have that dominating stretch for the San Francisco Giants (he went 61-26 with a 2.80 earned run average and 977 strikeouts in 881 innings from 2008-11).

“He always had an unorthodox approach with torque from the lower hips to the upper half,” says Cribby of Lincecum. “He loads up and (the pitch is) like a bullet coming out of a gun.”

Senior Beard started 11 times in 15 games last spring. Redshirt freshman Wynja (Heritage Christian) sat out the season and got stronger. the 6-8 southpaw was drafted out of high school by the Atlanta Braves but did not sign.

Cribby notes that Purdue’s 2018 closer, Ross Learnard, threw his fastball around 82 mph but came at the batter from the left side with a “funky” slot.

Seattle lefty submariner Will Dennis led the country in ground ball ratio and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2015. He was still in pro ball in 2018.

“(Dennis) got outs,” says Cribby. “And that’s what it’s all about.”

Cribby likes his pitchers to have clean, repeatable motions and have mastery of a fastball, breaking ball and change-up to both sides of the plate. They must also have the ability to hold runners and understand counts.

While it seems that every reliever in the bullpen throws 95 mph-plus, college pitchers can excel with the right arm angle and a change of speeds.

Pitchers should be their own best coaches.

“We can’t be with our guys when they get to professional baseball where they’ll be competing with elite talent from all over the world,” says Cribby. “They need to know their mechanics better than anybody else.

“Do you want to be taken seriously? Be consistent everyday.”

At Purdue, that means in the classroom and on the field.

Cribby uses the stock market as a metaphor with his pitchers.

“I want to invest in you,” says Cribby. “With 18- and 19-year olds, it takes time

“Success creates confidence which creates a career.”

Cribby was brought to West Lafayette by Boilermakers head coach Mark Wasikowski, who played at the University of Hawaii and Pepperdine University in California and was an assistant at Southeast Missouri State, Florida, Arizona and Oregon before taking over at Purdue prior to the 2017 season.

“Coach Wasikowski is one of the best and brightest baseball minds I’ve been around,” says Cribby, who pitched against his Arizona teams and got to know ‘Waz’ when he was coaching at Oregon. “The detail is tremendous. He sees it in different ways.”

Wasikowski learned much about baseball on the staffs of Arizona’s Andy Lopez (a American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer) and Oregon’s George Horton.

Cribby, who made 36 appearances with 10 wins and 13 saves in three seasons as a righty reliever at Washington, earned a sociology degree then a masters in intercollegiate athletic leadership from the Pac-12 Conference school. His father, Ed, was a four-year letterman for the Huskies (1974-77) and retired last year after 38 years at Boeing. His mother, Pam, also retired from the Aerospace and defense manufacturer.

Done as a player and working in a Trader Joe’s, Cribby coached with Baseball Northwest and at Columbia Basin and was asked by a friend to coach the junior varsity squad at Eastside Catholic High School near Seattle.

Former Seattle Mariners slugger Jay Buhner recommended Cribby for the head coaching job at Mount Si High in Snoqualmie, Wash., 30 miles east of Seattle. The Wildcats won a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A state championship in his first season (2011) and were successful the second year.

Cribby went to Abilene (Texas) Christian University for the one season (2013) on the coaching staff of Ken Knutson, helping to lower the Wildcats’ team ERA from 6.35 the previous year to 4.38, then returned to the Pacific Northwest and was pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Seattle University (2014-18) on a staff led by Donny Harrel. He helped lead the Redhawks to 30-plus wins in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Seattle won a program-record 37 games and the Western Athletic Conference title in 2016.

Elliott and Shannon Cribby have been married six years and have two dogs.

elliottcribby

Elliott Cribby, a native of Redmond, Wash., who pitched at the University of Washington, enters his first season as baseball pitching coach at Purdue University in 2019. (Purdue University Photo)

 

Tippecanoe Valley, Purdue grad Andrews chose baseball over football and is now getting paid to pitch in Marlins system

RBILOGOSMALL copy

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Tanner Andrews was on a pigskin path when the horsehide took over.

A three-sport standout (football, basketball and baseball) at Tippecanoe Valley High School near Akron, Ind., Andrews had made more than a half dozen unofficial campus football visits to Purdue University and thought he was on his way to playing receiver for the Boilermakers.

When his gridiron days at Tippecanoe Valley were over, he held just about every record — single-game, season and career — belonged to to Andrews.

He landed in West Lafayette alright. But as a baseball player.

“It’s God putting me right where I need to be,” says Andrews, who is now on the pitching staff of the Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs in the Miami Marlins organization.

While attending a clinic in Fort Wayne, Purdue pitcher Nick Wittgren (who is now also in the Marlins system and has spent time in the majors) saw Andrews pitch and arranged for him to throw a bullpen for Boilers pitching coach Tristan McIntyre. Purdue coaches liked what they saw and wound up signing Andrews.

Mostly a shortstop and center fielder in high school, where he played one year each for head coaches Scott Backus and Ryan Moore and two for Brandon Cody, Andrews came to concentrate on pitching at Purdue. He played four seasons (2015-18) — two for head coach Doug Schreiber and two for head coach Mark Wasikowski.

In 60 mound appearances (38 starts), Andrews went 17-15 with one save, a 3.69 earned run average, 184 strikeouts and 120 walks over 257 2/3 innings. He was used mostly out of the bullpen as a freshman and sophomore and a starter as a junior and senior.

Andrews says he appreciates Schreiber’s old-school approach.

“We did a lot of team bounding through hard work,” says Andrews. “We did a lot of early-morning running and were in very good shape. He pushed you beyond what you thought you could do.

“Coach Schreib gave me the opportunity to play baseball at the school I wanted to go to and that’s something I’ll always be grateful for.”

Wasikowski came in with an attention to details.

“All details matter to him,” says Andrews. “He puts his players in the best position to win.”

In his first two seasons, Waz led the Boilers to 29 and 38 victories. The 2018 team played in the Big Ten Conference championship game and participated in the NCAA Chapel Hill Regional.

Andrews played summer wood-bat baseball in college with the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Prospect League and Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League.

His name was called in the 10th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Marlins. After one game with the Gulf Coast League Marlins, Andrews was assigned to Batavia in the Short Season Class-A New York-Penn League.

The next stops on the Marlins minor league road are Greensboro (Low-A), Jupiter (High-A), Jacksonville (Double-A) and New Orleans (Triple-A).

In his first 10 games with the Muckdogs (eight in relief), he is 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA. In 23 innings, he has 19 strikeouts and four walks.

Former big leaguer Mike Jacobs is the Batavia manager. Jason Erickson is the pitching coach.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Andrews delivers the baseball from a high three-quarter arm slot.

Andrews considers his athleticism to be his best trait on the mound.

“I move pretty well and can field my position,” says Andrews. “I have good body control and fluid movement.”

Born in Rochester, Ind., Andrews played travel baseball for the Fort Wayne Indians from age 10 to 15 for coach Ray Moon, who played in the Cincinnati Reds organization and independent professional baseball.

After a travel season with the South Bend-based Michiana Clippers, Andrews used his summers to concentrate on football and basketball.

His head football coach at Tippecanoe Valley was Jeff Shriver while Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Patrick guided Andrews and the Vikings on the hardwood.

With friend and classmate Ben Shriver (the coach’s son) at quarterback, Valley footballers were a close-knit group.

“It was a family atmosphere,” says Andrews. “You were focused on the guy next to you. That’s the way it is in all sports, really. When you do that you get more out of yourself.”

Andrews credits Patrick for getting the most out of him and his teammates.

“Coach Patrick pushed us mentally and physically in practice,” says Andrews, who played all over the court and scored over 1,000 career points. “He prepared me for what I’m going through now.”

Andrews says what he enjoyed most about his high school baseball days was the two years he got to be teammates with older brother Brody Andrews (Class of 2012).

“It was fun to go tot he park everyday with my brother and best friend,” says Tanner.

Todd and Marget Andrews are parents to Brody and Andrew and their cousin Nico (9) is also part of the household.

Tanner graduated from Purdue in May with a degree in organizational leadership.

“I want to go into coaching and that goes hand-in-hand,” says Andrews, who learned about reading with change, making adjustments, solving problems and dealing with people.

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Tanner Andrews, a Tippecanoe Valley High School and Purdue University graduate, is in his first season of professional baseball with the Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs in the Miami Marlins system. (Purdue Photo)

 

State’s baseball talent exposure has multiplied; Just ask Hibler of Bullpen Tournaments, PBR Indiana

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By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

There was a time when college baseball recruiters and pro scouts did not hold the Hoosier State in high regard.

“Indiana has always been talented as a state,” says Blake Hibler. “But from an exposure standout, it was always overlooked.

“Indiana was some place you drove through. People are now stopping. They realize what kind of talent there is.”

Hibler, founder of Prep Baseball Report Indiana who is now kept busy as program director/event manager for Bullpen Tournaments at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., has watched the state raise its profile with the help of travel baseball and strong college programs.

“(Big leaguers like) Adam Lind, Scott Rolen and Lance Lynn kind of paved the way for Indiana baseball to become big,” says Hibler. “The explosion came when Purdue was a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA tournament (in 2012) and (Indiana University) went to Omaha (for the College World Series in 2013).”

At the lower levels, the University of Southern Indiana went NCAA Division II World Series in 2007 and won it all in 2010 and 2014. The University of Indianapolis went to the D-II World Series in 2000 and 2012. Manchester appeared in the D-III World Series in 2004 and 2013.

“This allowed Indiana to become more exposed,” says Hibler. “When we started PBR, college coaches contacted us asking ‘where is that sleeper?’ We don’t have sleepers anymore.

“Colleges are very aware of every player in our state.”

In his role at Grand Park, Hibler oversees 16 straight weekends of travel baseball events in the spring and summer and another six in the fall.

There’s something baseball-related going on — games, tournaments, showcases — at the facility with 26 diamonds from the end of January through October.

There are 12 full-size fields — four with full synthetic turf fields and eight with synthetic infields and grass outfields. Hibler considers eight of those high school or college fields.

Bullpen Tournaments, which counts 90 percent of its business as baseball with some softball, leases the facility from Grand Park. The land is owned by the City of Westfield.

As the sole operator, Bullpen’s 100 employees take care of everything from restrooms to common area mowing to field maintenance to practice scheduling and more.

From the beginning of June to the end of July, there are 230 to 280 teams at Grand Park every weekend. Of those, 115 are high school-age squads.

There are often more than one tournament going on — maybe U9 through U12 games on one side of the complex and high schoolers on the other.

In June and July, Bullpen hosts American Baseball Championships for Youth Baseball, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17 and U18.

An elite event is the PBR Future Games. The eighth annual tournament is slated for Aug. 1-4 with 24 teams and players from more than 40 states.

In 2017, all five collegiate power conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) were represented with more than 80 percent of schools in those leagues in attendance.

“This year won’t be any different,” says Hibler of the 16U event. “It’s the best uncommitted sophomores in the country.

“It’s kind of a culmination of their season and kickoff to their junior year. The recruiting calendar falls in perfect. Sept. 1 is when college coaches can begin calling and have direct  conversations with these recruits.”

The first Future Games was held in 2011 with four teams.

Nolan Watson was MVP in 2015, the year he was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Kansas City Royals out of Lawrence North High School.

Technology helps keep track of all Bullpen tournaments.

There is a phone app for that. It can be uploaded from the Google Play Store.

Hibler is the “tech guy” for both Bullpen Tournaments and PBR-Indiana and does a podcast with PBR owner/director Phil Wade. Many of those focus on events at Grand Park or the top high school players and teams in the state.

With all its facilities, there is a large economic impact that comes with the complex.

“The most common question we get is: How do you pay for Grand Park?,” says Hibler. “Ultimately, the mayor (Andy Cook) took a risk. He decided to make youth sports his industry.”

The City of Westfield owns the land and owns and operates the Grand Park Events Center, which will house the Indianapolis Colts Training Camp this year, and the soccer facility.

Hotels and restaurants are on the way. There are also private facilities springing up like Pro X Athlete Development and Pacers Athletic Center.

A graduate of Lawrence Central High School who played for the Indiana Mustangs and Danville Area Community College, Hibler has worked for RoundTripper Sports Academy in Westfield and Pastime Tournaments as well as an associate MLB scout.

Hibler joined the PBR family in November 2010. At the time, he was in his second stint as the pitching coach for Lawrence Central, where he saw two pitchers get drafted in 2011 — Christian Montgomery (11th round, Mets) and Jared Ruxer (29th round, Indians). He was originally the pitching coach from 2004-2005 before returning for 2007-2011.

He has seen how competitive recruiting is, but it is usually not cut throat.

“Baseball is little more loyal with the verbal commitment than other sports,” says Hibler. “College coaches are buddies. They don’t necessarily go after other kids as aggressively as basketball and football.

“I would be naive to say it doesn’t happen (in baseball).”

A premium is placed on players who play in the middle of the diamond.

“Pitching is the easiest thing to project,” says Hibler. “If you’re 92 (mph) now, you’re going be 92 or better we you reach college. There’s a lot more to dream on with your catchers, shortstops and centerfielders.

“Typically, you’re looking for in that younger age group is athleticism and physicality. You get the combination of athleticism and physicality, those are the kids who typically commit early.”

Hibler notes that outside of the state’s top 10 or so players, most commit in their junior or even senior years.

How is success gauged in the travel baseball world?

“For 14-and-under, success is still defined by wins and losses,” says Hibler. “15-and-up is defined by scholarships and exposure.

“Lost in all of this is competitiveness. In the Future Games, Indiana always plays Illinois on Friday night. That’s still the most-attended game because there’s a rivalry there.”

Hibler says players appreciate playing against equal competition. With so many travel teams out there, mismatches happen.

“The better players relax or shut down during games,” says Hibler. “They don’t play hard during the summer sometimes unless they are in front of college coaches or playing a really good team.”

The ABC tournaments were designed with two tiers — the first to determine which division teams belong in and the second to crown Gold, Silver and Bronze division champions.

“That way it creates competitive baseball,” says Hibler.

Hibler notes that when the Indiana Bulls were started in the early 1990s to give the state’s best the chance to play top competition and receive exposure, they were the only organization out there. There are now many options and the talent is more evenly divided.

There are those who think that team chemistry is easier to build with a high school program than travel baseball, where players are coming from many different directions.

“Travel baseball is figuring that out and trying to combat it,” says Hibler. “They’re starting to put the development piece back into it a little bit.”

There is a misconception on the part of some players (and their parents) about travel ball and high school ball. They are putting more emphasis on travel.

“Some of these kids believe that travel baseball is more important to their future than high school is,” says Hibler. “A lot of college coaches still call the high school coach first after that initial talk with the travel coach.

“High school simulates a little bit of what college life could be — academics, girls, scouting reports, being a student and an athlete.

“A high school coach has to deal with the player and his girl friend got in a fight during seventh period and this kid has to be on the field in 15 minutes to play a game. The summer ball coach doesn’t have to deal with that as much.”

Then there are the trouble makers and malcontents.

“If you’re a bad kid and live in a community, everyone in that community knows you’re a bad kid,” says Hibler. “You can hide that in travel ball and travel sports in general.”

Hibler has seen players go out of there way to make high school coaches mad for no reason.

“They think it works like travel baseball,” says Hibler. “They can do whatever they want and pack up and leave. Some administrations allow that. But there’s a lot of good programs that don’t.”

Outside of loyalty, there is nothing binding that keeps a player with a travel organization. For various reasons, many players have jumped from team to team. Some players have skipped high school and played only travel baseball.

“Kids get handled with such care during the summer because the penalty is you lose them,” says Hibler. “Coaches don’t know if you handle them like they’re supposed to be handled — with discipline and holding them accountable.

“Some (coaches) take that approach. For others, it’s the Wild, Wild West. Do what you want.”

Hibler says players need both travel and high school and they need to respect the differences.

Travel players show up, play and leave. They pitch from pristine mounds. Maintenance at million-dollar fields is handled by someone else.

High schoolers must take on more responsibility. At many schools, they have to pick up trash in the dugout, sweep and rake to make the fields ready for play.

A few years ago, the coach of a team of 8-year-olds asked to change fields because one was too bumpy.

Hibler’s response: “You don’t live in the real world. We practiced in parking lots.”

BULLPENTOURNAMENTS

Bullpen Tournaments runs baseball and softball events out of Grand Park in Westfield, Ind.

 

Brownsburg graduate McGowan has made huge leaps for Boilermakers

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By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Jacson McGowan has put up some power numbers for Purdue University baseball.

In 45 games (all starts), the junior first baseman has mashed for team highs in home runs (11), runs batted in (48) and slugging percentage (.588).

Yet it was a single that the Brownsburg High School graduate delivered on Tuesday, May 8 in a win against Fort Wayne that illustrates a positive change Boilermakers coach Mark Wasikowski has witnessed in the right-handed batter.

On an 0-1 pitch, clean-up hitter McGowan delivered a run-scoring single between the first baseman and second baseman in the second inning.

“Against the soft arm he’s able to sit back, get on top of the ball and shoot the opposite-side hole just to get an RBI,” says Wasikowski. “That’s the mature type of approach that he now has.”

Wasikowski came to the Boilers for the 2017 season. Since then he’s seen much improvement in McGowan.

“He’s a man at the plate — that’s for sure,” says Wasikowski of the 6-foot-2 1/2, 212-pounder. “He’s one of the few legit power threats I’ve seen in our conference and in the teams we’ve played.

“He’s really come a long way. He’s still not there yet. He’s a young guy that works really hard. He’s had huge leaps in the last year and a half.”

Wasikowski has seen McGowan up his mental toughness and physical strength while buying into an approach at the plate that works.

“Instead of being a youthful hitter, he’s maturing as a hitter,” says Wasikowski.

It’s a confidence thing.

“I know I’m better than what I betray sometimes,” says McGowan. “No matter who I’m matched up against, I have the advantage over the pitcher.”

McGowan explained his approach on Tuesday’s RBI single.

“It’s good situational hitting,” says McGowan. “If a team’s play a shift on you, you just hit it where they’r not. That’s the name of the game. You hit it where they are and it’s not very much fun. You’re not going to get many hits that way.

“Shorten up and go the other way and get yourself an RBI at the same time.”

With a victory Wednesday, May 8, Purdue has now won 13 in a row — matching the longest winning streak in program history and extending the nation’s longest active streak.

The Boilers (29-16 overall, 13-4 Big Ten) were 16-16 when the win streak began.

The reason for the surge?

“We’ve come together as a team,” says McGowan. “We’ve hit our stride and played the best baseball we’ve played in awhile.”

Wasikowski has his take.

“The team wanted to play baseball as a team,” says Wasikowski. “They were tired of being on the roller coaster ride. We were going through streaks of failures and streaks of successes this year. We started off 8-2 then we got onto a bumpy road. “We started coming on again and then we got onto another bumpy road.

The big thing is we stopped playing for ourselves and started playing for a bigger cause.”

Who lit the fuse?

“Initially, it probably came from the coaching staff,” says Wasikowski, who is assisted by Steve Holm, Wally Crancer, Greg Goff (volunteer) and John Madia (director of operations). “But it’s never going to get down until it comes from inside the locker room. There were some critical guys inside that locker room that ended up pushing the pendulum and the needle on that thing.”

McGowan talks about the culture that Wasikowski has established in the Purdue program.

“It’s awesome,” says McGowan. “His philosophy is ‘just got for it.’ If you go for it and mess up, it’s alright. If you don’t go for it, you’re playing timid.”

Academically, McGowan has enjoyed majoring in Technology, Innovation and Leadership.

“It’s business — just in an another school,” says McGowan. “Most of the classes are with athletes. There’s a lot of communication and working together so it’s pretty cool.”

Most athletes try to schedule their classes Monday through Thursday and in the morning so they can get away on the weekends (the Boilers have a Big Ten series May 11-13 at Ohio State) and get to practice on-time.

Jacson, the son of Steven and Tabitha McGowan and younger brother of Alex McGowan and Sam McGowan, played for Eric Mattingly at Brownsburg High.

Travel baseball came via the Indiana Outlaws (now Evoshield Canes Midwest).

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Jacson McGowan (27) celebrates with Purdue University baseball teammates. (Purdue University Photo)

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Purdue University baseball head coach Mark Wasikowski (left) exhanges high-fives with Jacson McGowan. (Purdue University Photo)

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Purdue University junior first baseman Jacson McGowan, a Brownsburg High School graduate, is a legitimate power threat in the No. 4 hole. (Purdue University Photo)