Tag Archives: Florida Atlantic University

While pursuing his own baseball goals, Coursel helps others with theirs

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

Robbie Coursel has learned a few things on his baseball journey and he’s sharing those lessons with others.
Born in Michigan City, Ind., Coursel is a right-handed pitcher who has played at the college and professional levels.
Through his business – Robbie Coursel Baseball — he provides instruction and helps players go after their goals.
Coursel played three baseball seasons at Michigan City High School for Wolves head coach David Ortiz and campaigns for football head coach Craig Buzea and finished his diamond prep career at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg, Fla., graduating in 2012.
His head coach with the Vikings was Rob Stanifer, who pitched for the 1997-98 Florida Marlins and 2000 Boston Red Sox.
In October of his senior year, Coursel was given the opportunity to move to Florida with longtime scout and roving instructor Ralph Bufano, who has worked with Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and many others.
“He saw that I had a strong arm and was a good athlete and that I had the chance to play pro ball,” says Coursel of Bufano. “He changed the trajectory of my whole life.
“Getting into player development has given me a greater reach than playing alone. I’m able to serve others. As a player I can entertain others and profit myself like Ralph impacted myself.
“They carve a path for themselves using baseball as a vehicle. (Helping others is) where my passion is. The more I’m able to learn from my abilities, the more I’m able to teach. I love what I do.”
Moving away from loved ones at 17 was not easy.
“I did not know anybody, but I met people through the game,” says Coursel, who is now 27 (he turns 28 in December). “It was definitely challenging. But they had courage to let me go.”
Coursel impressed enough at Northeast High to land a scholarship with St. Petersburg College and played two seasons for the Clearwater-based Titans, head coach Ryan Beckman and pitching coach T.J. Large, who hurled in the Red Sox and is now in player development for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“(SPC) has such a history of producing professional players,” says Coursel, who lived with Bufano during his first year in Florida.
After his junior college experience, Coursel moved on to NCAA Division I Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.
John McCormack was — and still is — the Owls head coach. Pitching coach Jason Jackson is now at the University of Alabama.
“I loved playing for him,” says Coursel of McCormack. “I still stay in-touch with him to this day.”
During Coursel’s time there, FAU was ranked as high as No. 8 in the country and had six players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft both seasons.
Coursel was taken in the 26th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates and went to the Appalachian League that summer followed by fall instructional league where he got to compete with players from all levels.
The righty spent two seasons in the Pirates system then signed with the independent American Association’s Gary (Ind.) SouthShore RailCats and pitched for a team he rooted for when he was young. He was with the Greg Tagert-managed club 2018, 2019 and 2021. There was no AA season in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Coursel was released by the RailCats in July, he is hopeful to earn a chance to toe the rubber for Gary in 2022 and — perhaps — make his way back to an MLB organization.
He has nothing but praise for longtime baseball man Tagert.
“He is very intelligent, very hard-working, very professional,” says Coursel. “He knows what it takes to win. He believes in his methods to accomplishing that. I’m behind him 100 percent.
“I respect that wisdom and Baseball I.Q.”
Coursel addresses what he perceives as the differences between indy and affiliated pro ball.
“The players are more refined in the American Association,” says Coursel. “Most of these guys are fully-developed. They’re more experienced.
“But it’s ‘perform now.’ They want to win.
“(Affiliated ball) has raw talent and younger players and is very developmental-based.”
Both brands of baseball seek folks who bring more than just ball-playing abilities.
“They have players who are so valuable that they want good people around them — high-character individuals. That alone — along with ability — can get you a career in independent ball.
“Ability is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s not the main thing we focus on (at Robbie Coursel Baseball). It’s championship mentality in everything you apply yourself to. You can be successful in whatever they put their mind to.”
Coursel conducts his lessons at various locations around northwest Indiana. A training facility with indoor and outdoor areas is in the works. He has several places around the country to see what he wants for his place. He is also looking for instructors with hitting, pitching and strength training knowledge to add to his staff.
Robbie and high school sweetheart were married a little over a year ago in Florida and welcomed daughter Layla into the world Oct. 28.

Robbie Coursel.
Robbie Coursel.
Benea & Layla Coursel.

Indiana Wesleyan runs win streak to 16; Indiana off to 7-1 start

BY STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Indiana Wesleyan University opened the 2021 baseball season with seven road losses, including three to No. 1-ranked Southeastern (Fla.) and three against NAIA No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.).

Since then the Wildcats have won 16 straight and are 16-7 overall and 8-0 in the Crossroads League. IWU is coming off a four-game home sweep of Mount Vernon Nazarene.

Taylor’s four-game sweep at Bethel pushed the Trojans’ win streak to eight. Taylor is 19-6 overall and 8-0 in the Crossroads League.

Marian (13-8 overall, 6-2 Crossroads) ran its win streak to six with a four-game sweep of visiting Goshen.

Huntington (12-3 overall, 5-3 Crossroads) went 3-1 against Grace at Logansport (Ind.) High School.

Saint Francis (11-10, 3-5 Crossroads) won three of four at Spring Arbor.

Also in the NAIA, No. 11 Indiana University Southeast moved to 13-11 in all game and 6-0 in the River States Conference with three-game sweep of visiting Indiana University-Kokomo.

Indiana University South Bend beat Lourdes four times — twice in Sylvania, Ohio, and twice at Rex Weade Stadium in Granger, Ind.

Sophomore right-hander McCade Brown’s 16 strikeouts for NCAA Division I Indiana (7-1 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) in a one-hitter Saturday against Penn State tied the school record and set the standard for K’s against a Big Ten opponent.

Brown’s 16 punch-outs are the most since Brad Edwards fanned that many in 2000 against Quinnipiac.

Hoosiers head coach Jeff Mercer tested positive for COVID-19 and went into quarantine. IU is slated to play a four-game series against Purdue in Bloomington Friday through Sunday, March 19-21.

Notre Dame (7-2 overall, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) swept a three-game series at Virginia. The Irish are to open the home season with a three-game set Friday through Sunday against Duke.

Indiana State (9-5) went 2-1 at No. 20 Florida Atlantic. The Sycamores will wait a little longer to play on Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute. ISU plays at Alabama-Birmingham Friday through Sunday.

Purdue Fort Wayne (4-7) went 2-1 in a non-conference at Butler.

Valparaiso split four games at Middle Tennessee State. The highlight of the series for the Crusaders was Colin Fields’ seven-inning no-hitter Saturday. The junior right-hander whiffed 10 and walked four.

In NCAA Division III, DePauw (7-3) went 3-1 against visiting Concordia University Chicago.

Earlham (5-1 overall, 5-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference) was 2-0 at Transylvania Saturday and 1-1 against Bluffton Sunday.

Hanover (5-2 overall, 5-2 HCAC) went 2-1 for the weekend, including 1-1 at Anderson Sunday.

The Panthers beat visiting Rose-Hulman 8-4 before trailing through eight complete innings in Game 2 Saturday. The suspended contest will be completed in a few weeks.

Wabash swept a doubleheader against visiting Spalding Saturday and lost a single game against No. 3-ranked North Central at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., Sunday

Indiana Tech went 1-2 against Olivet Nazarene and beat Campbellsville at Grand Park.

Anderson had a 2-2 weekend, splitting doubleheaders at Franklin Saturday and against visiting Hanover Sunday.

Vincennes University (10-4) swept a National Junior College Athletic Association doubleheader against visiting Milwaukee Area Tech.

INDIANA COLLEGE BASEBALL

Records Through March 14

NCAA Division I

Indiana State 9-5 (0-0 MVC) 

Indiana 7-1 (7-1 Big Ten) 

Notre Dame 7-2 (7-2 ACC) 

Evansville 7-9 (0-2 MVC) 

Ball State 6-7 (0-0 MAC) 

Purdue Fort Wayne 4-7 (1-3 HL)

Valparaiso 3-7 (0-0 MVC) 

Purdue 1-7 (1-7 Big Ten) 

Butler 2-2 (0-0 Big East) 

NCAA Division II

Purdue Northwest 3-3 (0-0 GLIAC)

Southern Indiana 3-7 (1-3 GLVC) 

Indianapolis 1-5 (0-0 GLVC)

NCAA Division III

DePauw 7-3 (0-0 NCAC) 

Earlham 5-1 (5-1 HCAC) 

Hanover 5-2 (5-2 HCAC) 

Anderson 3-3 (3-3 HCAC) 

Franklin 3-3 (3-3 HCAC) 

Wabash 3-5 (0-0 NCAC)

Manchester 2-6 (2-6 HCAC)

Rose-Hulman 1-2 (1-2 HCAC) 

Trine 0-4 (0-0 MIAA)

NAIA

Taylor 19-6 (8-0 CL) 

Indiana Wesleyan 16-7 (8-0 CL) 

Marian 13-8 (6-2 CL)

Indiana University Southeast 13-11 (6-0 RSC)

Huntington 12-3 (5-3 CL) 

Saint Francis 11-10 (3-5 CL) 

Oakland City 8-10 (1-5 RSC)

Indiana University-Kokomo 7-9 (3-3 RSC)

Grace 7-9 (4-4 CL)

Indiana University South Bend 4-10 (0-0 CCAC)

Indiana Tech 4-12 (0-0 WHAC) 

Bethel 4-16 (1-7 CL) 

Calumet of Saint Joseph 0-9 (0-3 CCAC)

Goshen 0-11 (0-8 CL) 

Junior College

Vincennes 10-4 (0-0 MWAC) 

Ivy Tech Northeast 6-9

Ancilla 2-10 (0-0 MCCAA)

Baseball in Richmond played to the tune of Jazz

rbilogosmall

By STEVE KRAH

http://www.IndianaRBI.com

Richmond, Ind., has long appreciated the crack of the baseball bat.

The Rose City fielded professional teams throughout most of the first half of the 20th century and brought pro ball back with the independent Frontier League’s Richmond Roosters (1995-2005).

Charles Weeghman, the man who built what would become known as Wrigley Field, was born in Richmond in 1874.

These days, the crack comes in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League with the Richmond Jazz.

Playing at John Cate Field at Don McBride Stadium (which dates back to 1936), the Jazz came into the league in 2016. The Richmond RiverRats played collegiate wood-bat baseball in the Prospect League. That team sold and moved to Lafayette, Ind. The GLSCL approached Richmond about joining and a new baseball brand came to town.

Richmond native Deanna Beaman has been a part of the Roosters, RiverRats and Jazz.

A 1996 Richmond High School graduate with a sports management and marketing degree from Indiana University, Beaman served as an intern with the Roosters and served in several capacities with the club for eight seasons.

When the Roosters sold and moved to Traverse City, Mich., to become the Beach Bums of the Frontier League beginning with the 2006 season, it left a baseball void in Richmond.

The hole was filled with changing from pro to college ball and joining the new Prospect League for the summer of 2009 for what turned out to be a seven-season run.

“The college wood bat model is better in this market,” says Beaman.

Then with expansion, costs began to rise in the collegiate summer league world.

“The Prospect League grew and is became more and more expensive to be in that league,” says Beaman, who estimates the team was spending $40,000 per season on travel, not including hotels. “The Great Lakes League approached us. We found that the business models are different in the two leagues.

“There was an interest to keep baseball in the community. You have to be a 501 (c) 3 (non-profit organization) to be in the (GLSCL).”

Beaman is president and general manager of Hitters Hangout Sports Foundation, which operates as the Richmond Jazz.

Richmond players are charged a participation fee (similar to travel baseball) and the club pays a frranchise fee to the league, which must abide by NCAA regulations.

She identifies the top benefits of Great Lakes membership for Richmond is the short season (the team plays a 42-game regular season) and travel is relatively short with no overnight trips.

Richmond is in the GLSCL’s Southern Division with Ohio teams Cincinnati, Hamilton, Southern Ohio and Xenia.

The Central Division features five Ohio teams — Galion, Grand Lake, Licking County, Lorain County and Lima.

Making up the Northern Division are Grand River, Irish Hills, Lake Erie and Muskegon in Michigan and Saint Clair in Ontario, Canada.

Richmond would not see Northern teams until the playoffs.

There were growing pains with the transition from to the Great Lakes. Richmond got a new mayor and park superintendent and the baseball team got a new lease at McBride Stadium in 2016. On the field, Matt Brankle managed the Jazz to a record of 12-29.

Things were completely revamped on the baseball side for the 2017 season. Floridians Brett “Buster” Schneider (assistant coach at NCAA Division I Florida Atlantic University) and Brian Thomas (coach at Gainesville High School) were recruited to be head coach and pitching coach, respectively, and former RiverRats players Joe Pourier was named as a volunteer assistant.

“We have to get a winning ball club in the community,” says Beaman. “Buster has been a great addition for us — both on and off the field. He’s changed some lives in our community. If you want to play at the D-I level, he can tell you what it takes.”

Schneider came to Richmond through a connection Beaman made with a former player.

Jeremiah Klosterman was a catcher on back-to-back Frontier League championship teams in Richmond in 2001 and 2002. The former Florida State University standout owns Hard Knoxx Baseball Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., and Schneider was one of his instructors.

Schneider is in his first season as a summer collegiate head coach, but he did serve three seasons as an assistant for Green Bay of the Northwoods League.

Hitting the ground running (leaving Florida June 2 and beginning practice June 4), Schneider immediately began working on team chemistry with a roster made up of players with hometowns in eight different states. Some players live close enough to commute for games and workouts while others stay with host families.

“You have to get them to buy into your system and play for a chgampionship,” says Schneider. “You have to have a plan in place and you have to win early (with such a short season).”

Through their connections, Beaman and Schneider helped form a Jazz roster that includes players with hometowns in eight states.

“You reach out and get as many good, quality players as you can,” says Schneider. “I want them to use the summer to get better and go back and be conference players of the year and All-Americans.”

By rule, league members must carry a certain number of Division I players in order to be funded by Major League Baseball for developmental reasons. There are numerous collegiate wood bat leagues across the country.

This summer, Richmond has pitchers James Meyer (Valparaiso), Ben Nelson (Virginia Commonwealth) and R.J. Wagner (Dayton), catchers Chase DeBonis (Bethune-Cookman) and Jordan Stacy (Bethune-Cookman), infielder Jordan Gillerman (St. John’s) and outfielders Jack Holden (Eastern Illinois) and Cole Parks (Bethune-Cookman).

“We can get hitters all day long,” says Beaman. “Pitching is the issue. D-I coaches are protecting their starters (and often shutting them down for the summer).

“Across the league, bullpens are very thin. Sometimes we have to go ‘Mississippi State style 3-3-3’ to finish a game.”

Says Thomas, “We’ve done pretty well with the guys we’ve received … We try to keep their pitch counts down … I try to get to know everyone at a personal level.”

GLSCL rules do not allow for a disabled list and player can’t be released based on talent or performance. That means the roster is pretty steady throughout the season.

RICHMONDJAZZ