Notre Dame has one of the oldest lineups in NCAA Division I college baseball. After a second-straight regional championship, the Link Jarrett-coached Fighting Irish (40-15) beat No. 1-ranked and overall top seed Tennessee 2-1 in the three-game super regional held in Knoxville, Tenn. (8-6 win June 10, 12-4 loss June 11, 7-3 win June 12) to earn a berth in the 2022 College World Series. The event runs June 16-27 in Omaha, Neb. The Notre Dame starting lineup in the super regional clincher featured righty-swinging left fielder Ryan Cole (22), switch-hitting second baseman Jared Miller (23), righty-swinging first baseman Carter Putz (22), designated hitter Jack Zyska (22), righty-swinging catcher David LaManna (23), third baseman Jack Brannigan (21), righty-swinging shortstop Zack Prajzner (22), righty-swinging right fielder Brooks Coetze (22), switch-hitting center fielder Spencer Myers (23) and right-handed pitcher Liam Simon (21). Cole, Miller, LaManna and Myers are all graduate students. Putz, Prajzner and Coetze are seniors. Brannigan and Simon are juniors. Ace John Michael Bertrand (24) started Game 2 against Tennessee. Usual No. 2 weekend starter Austin Temple (22) took the ball for Game 1 to keep Bertrand on his usual rest. Lefty-hander Bertrand and righty Temple are both graduate students. On Wednesday, Bertrand, Brannigan and ND left-hander Jack Findlayreceived All-American honors — Bertrand second team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Branigan third team by Perfect Game and Findlay second team by PG. The last time Notre Dame went to Omaha was 2002 when the Irish went 2-2 and were eliminated by semifinalist Stanford in a year when Texas won the national championship. Bertrand, who was born in 1998, was not yet 4. Texas (47-20) is Notre Dame’s opponent in CWS Game 2 of Bracket 1 at 7 p.m. Friday, June 17. The Longhorns won the Greenville Super Regional with a Game 3 starting combination against host East Carolina featuring four redshirt seniors, two redshirt juniors, three redshirt sophomores and one sophomore. Texas A&M (42-18) plays Oklahoma (42-22) in Game 1 of Bracket 1 at 2 p.m. Friday. In Bracket 2 on Saturday, June 18, it’s Stanford (47-16) vs. Arkansas (43-19) at 2 and Ole Miss (37-22) vs. Auburn (42-20) at 7. The double-elimination phase goes through June 23 with the best-of-three finals June 25-27. Anderson (Ind.) High School graduate Michael Early is the Texas A&M hitting coach. Jarrett is in his second season leading Notre Dame. He began establishing his system in the fall of 2019. He has continued to share his ideas about building complete hitters and has talked about what it means to be a coach. College World Series games will air and be streamed by ESPN.
With a four-game sweep at Miami (Ohio) during the week of May 16-22, Ball State earned the right to host the four-team Mid-American Conference baseball tournament May 25-28 in Muncie. The Cardinals are one of eight teams from Indiana going into NCAA Division I conference tournaments this week. Ball State (38-17), the MAC regular-season champions for the first time since 2014, is the top seed, followed by Central Michigan No. 2, Toledo No. 3 and Ohio No. 4. BSU is 7-3 in its last 10 games. The Rich Maloney-coached Cardinals are 18-4 at Ball Diamond at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. Twelve teams will compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament May 24-29 in Charlotte, N.C. Pool play is May 24-27. No. 4 seed Notre Dame (33-13) is in Pool D with No. 5 seed Virginia and No. 9 seed Florida State. Link Jarrett is the Notre Dame head coach. The Irish are 7-3 in their last 10. The eight-team Big Ten Conference tournament is slated for May 25-29 in Omaha, Neb. Maryland is the No. 1 seed, Rutgers No. 2, Iowa No. 3, Illinois No. 4, Michigan No. 5, Penn State No. 6, Greg Goff-coached Purdue (29-19) No. 7 and Jeff Mercer-coached Indiana (25-30) No. 8. The Boilermakers are 4-6 in their last 10, the Hoosiers 5-5. The eight-team Missouri Valley Conference tournament is scheduled for May 24-28 in Springfield, Mo. Southern Illinois is the No. 1 seed, followed by Wes Carroll-coached Evansville (30-22) No. 2, Dallas Baptist No. 3, Bradley No. 4, Mitch Hannah-coached Indiana State (25-20-1) No. 5, Missouri State No. 6, Illinois State No. 7 and Brian Schmack-coached Valparaiso (16-31) No. 8. The Purple Aces are 6-4 in their last 10, the Sycamores 3-6-1 and Beacons 3-7. The six-team Horizon League tournament May 25-28 in Dayton, Ohio. Wright State is the No. 1 seed. Oakland is No. 2, Illinois-Chicago No. 3, Doug Schreiber-coached Purdue Fort Wayne (18-35) No. 4, Youngstown State No. 5 and Northern Kentucky No. 6. The Mastodons are 5-5 in their last 10. Notre Dame is No. 17 in the D1Baseball.com RPI. Ball State is No. 70, Evansville No. 86, Indiana State No. 99, Indiana No. 115, Purdue No. 124, Valparaiso No. 210, Butler No. 238 and Purdue Fort Wayne No. 258. Automatic bids go to the winners of the MAC, ACC, Big Ten, MVC and Horizon tournaments and more. There are 31 automatic bids and 33 at-large picks that will be made by NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. The tournament bracket for the 64-team event will be revealed at noon Eastern Time May 30 on ESPN2. Butler (20-35-1) did not qualify for the four-team Big East Conference tournament, which is May 26-29 in Mason, Ohio. Bulldogs head coach Dave Schrage concluded his 38-year career with a 6-4 victory Saturday against Seton Hall. He recently announced his retirement. Taylor (41-18) and Indiana University Southeast (40-15) both went 1-2 and bowed out at separate NAIA Opening Round sites — the Kyle Gould-coached Trojans in the Upland Bracket and the Ben Reel-coached Grenadiers in the Santa Barbara Bracket. Earlham (26-13) lost twice at NCAA Division III regional at Lynchburg, Va. The Steve Sakosits-coached Quakers qualified by winning the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament. Vincennes (25-32) saw its season end with two losses in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Mid-West Athletic Conference tournament in Normal, Ill. Chris Barney is the VU Trailblazers coach.
Santa Barbara Bracket Antelope Valley (Calif.) 3, IU Southeast 2 Championship Westmont (Calif.) 12, Antelope Valley (Calif.) 0
Junior College Wednesday, May 18 Mid-West Athletic Conference Tournament Danville Area 6, Vincennes 3 Parkland 2, Lewis & Clark 1 Lincoln Land 10, Illinois Central 0 Illinois Central 5, Lewis & Clark 3
Thursday, May 19 Mid-West Athletic Conference Tournament Heartland 7, Danville Area 0 Lincoln Land 5, Parkland 0 Illinois Central 7, Danville Area 6 Parkland 6, Vincennes 5
Friday, May 20 Mid-West Athletic Conference Tournament Heartland 8, Lincoln Land 4 Illinois Central 12, Parkland 3 Lincoln Land 11, Illinois Central 1
Saturday, May 21 Mid-West Athletic Conference Tournament Championship Heartland 4, Lincoln Land 2
Jarrett Bickel had a decision to make after playing junior college baseball for two seasons. The infielder from South Bend, Ind., with two years of eligibility remaining could take another year at the JUCO level allowed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Head coach Kyle Forbes invited him to stay at Palm Beach State College. “I was ready to move on to a four-year school and play at the (NCAA) Division I level,” says Bickel, who chose Purdue Fort Wayne over East Tennessee State, New Orleans, Alcorn State and Savannah State. Why the PFW Mastodons? “I was sold on Coach (Doug) Schreiber and his history at Purdue University,” says Bickel. “I knew he was coming here to turn the program around. “He’s awesome. His knowledge for the game is through the roof.” Bickel appreciates Schreiber not only for what he can do for him on the diamond, but away from it. “He shows you how to carry yourself off the field and be a man,” says Bickel, 22. As a player, Bickel has gone from third base to shortstop and settling in as Purdue Fort Wayne’s starting shortstop and lead-off hitter. His double play partner is redshirt sophomore second baseman Brian Erbe. “He has a confidence and swagger he brings everyday,” says Bickel of Erbe. “We kind of feed off that energy.” Going into an April 27 non-conference game at Michigan State, righty swinger Bickel was hitting .259 (38-of-147) with five home runs, 12 doubles, 19 runs batted in, 18 runs scored and a .306 on-base percentage. He collected a season-best four hits April 3 against Wright State and drove in a season-high three runs April 16 at Northern Kentucky. Bickel even pitched 2/3 of an inning Feb. 27 at Cal Baptist. Though he was not in the middle of either, two memorable moments for Bickel came with walk-off wins March 20 against Youngstown State and April 22 vs. Northern Kentucky. Away from the field, Bickel likes to hang out with teammates. He also likes to play golf and go fishing. “I’m an outdoorsy person,” says Bickel. “I don’t like to be inside that much. I love to fish.” A St. Joseph River dam near campus gives him a chance to pull in catfish and bass. In the warm climes of Florida, he liked going on the ocean and catching snook. Bickel grew up a few minutes from Notre Dame and Bickel got to play against the Irish April 20, going 1-for-4 with an RBI. “I’ve always been a Notre Dame fan since I was little,” says Bickel. “Going back there and playing them was pretty special.” ND is No. 3 behind Tennessee and Dallas Bapist in the D1Baseball.com RPI. Bickel assessed the Link Jarrett-coached Irish. “They’re very well put-together and do all the little things,” says Bickel. “They’re well-coached. They are good at situational hitting and have very good (pitching) arms.” Currently fifth in the Horizon League, the Mastodons are looking to finish in the top six to earn a berth in the conference tournament May 25-28 with games hosted by the top seed. The last HL series wraps May 14. The regular season is to end May 21. Enrolled at Purdue Fort Wayne as a General Studies major, he has been taking mostly Business classes. Bickel plans to spent the summer with the Prospect League’s Lafayette (Ind.) Aviators. Mastodons pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Brent McNeil managed that team a few years ago. Chris Willsey, Bickel’s head coach two years ago in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., is slated to guide the Aviators in 2022. A 2018 graduate of Marian High School in Mishwawaka, Ind., Bickel played for Joe Turnock. The Knights won an IHSAA Class 3A Jimtown Sectional title in 2016. In 2019, Bickel played 41 games for Miami Dade College. He did not play in the spring of 2020 — the COVID-19 season. That summer, Bickel was with the Indiana Collegiate Summer Baseball League’s Mishawaka Brewers as well as the CSL’s Snakes and Northwoods League’s Bismarck (N.D.) Bull Moose, hitting .271 with a .403 OBP in 16 games. He played for the Bismarck Larks in 2021 with a OBP of .321 over 112 at-bats. Jarrett is the middle son of Joe and Megan Bickel. Tyler Bickel (24) is working toward becoming a fireman. Xavier Bickel (18) is a Marian senior. Cousin Trey Bickel is head baseball coach at Marian University’s Ancilla College — a junior college in Donaldson, Ind.
Franklin — with a 17-5 overall record — has gotten off to the best start of 2022 among the state’s NCAA Division III schools. The Lance Marshall-coached Grizzlies enjoyed a 4-1 week (March 28-April 3). One of the highlights was senior Logan Demkovich’s four home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Bluffton. Munster High School graduate Demkovich is now hitting .410 with 12 home runs and 36 runs batted in. Earlham (13-5) won its first two HCAC games. Quakers head coach Steve Sakosits reached the 200-win plateau earlier this season. D-III Trine enjoyed a 3-1 week, including a three-game Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association sweep of Olivet. The first two games were the Thunder’s first home contests of the season.
With a win Sunday against Aquinas, Indiana Tech gave Warriors coach Kip McWilliams his 500th career victory. NCAA Division I Ball State saw its 10-game win streak end with a loss Sunday at Toledo. The Rich Maloney-coached Cardinals (17-9) fashioned a 6-1 week and moved to 12-2 in the Mid-American Conference. Griffith graduate Amir Wright (.344) leads the BSU attack for the lead-off spot. Hamilton Heights graduate Tyler Schweitzer (4-2), Lawrence North alum Ty Johnson (4-1) and Bloomington North grad Sam Klein (six saves) are among the leading pitchers. A 4-0 week for Notre Dame included a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference sweep at Florida State. The Irish won 2-0 in 12 innings, 5-4 (with one run in the eighth inning and two in the ninth) and 9-7 (with two eighth-inning runs). ND head coach Link Jarrett played at FSU. A 4-0 week for Evansville (13-14) included a three-game non-conference sweep of Michigan State. Wes Carroll’s Purple Aces are 7-4 on their home turf. Butler (14-14) went 4-1 on the week. Dave Schrage’s Bulldogs have won five of their last six heading into a Tuesday game at Notre Dame. Schrage reached 850 career wins earlier this spring. NCAA Division II Indianapolis won three of four Great Lakes Valley Conference games at Truman as part of a 3-3 week. Al Ready’s Greyhounds are 5-5 in away contests. Inclement weather meant no games for Dave Griffin’s Purdue Northwest squad. The Pride is 10-7. Following a 5-1 week NAIA Taylor (24-10) is tied atop the Crossroads League standings with Mount Vernon Nazarene at 14-4. Kyle Gould’s Trojans were to play two at Saint Francis today (April 4). Also in the Crossroads League, Rich Benjamin’s Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats (17-14) went 5-1 and Seth Zartman’s Bethel Pilots (13-21) went 4-2.
Week of March 28-April 3 NCAA D-I Monday, March 28 Ball State 2, Western Michigan 0 Ball State 12, Western Michigan 5
Tuesday, March 29 Butler 7, Bellarmine 4 Evansville 10, Austin Peay 5 Notre Dame 11, Northern Illinois 2 Illinois-Chicago 10, Purdue 9 Purdue Fort Wayne 11, Valparaiso 3
Friday, April 1 Ball State 8, Toledo 1 Butler 1, Eastern Illinois 0 Evansville 7, Michigan State 2 Indiana 5, Northwestern 4 Indiana State 4, Illinois State 2 Notre Dame 2, Florida State 0 (12 inn.) Illinois 8, Purdue 1 Wright State 5, Purdue Fort Wayne 3 Illinois-Chicago 9, Valparaiso 7 Valparaiso 8, Illinois-Chicago 3
Saturday, April 2 Ball State 7, Toledo 3 Ball State 10, Toledo 2 Eastern Illinois 3, Butler 2 Evansville 7, Michigan State 5 Northwestern 7, Indiana 6 Illinois State 12, Indiana State 2 Notre Dame 5, Florida State 4 Illinois 11, Purdue 10 Wright State 17, Purdue Fort Wayne 11
Sunday, April 3 Toledo 5, Ball State 1 Butler 2, Eastern Illinois 0 Butler 2, Eastern Illinois 1 Evansville 5, Michigan State 4 Northwestern 13, Indiana 6 Indiana State 5, Illinois State 2 Notre Dame 9, Florida State 7 Illinois 11, Purdue 8 Wright State 12, Purdue Fort Wayne 3 Valparaiso 5, Illinois-Chicago 2
NCAA D-II Tuesday, March 29 Kentucky Wesleyan 8, Indianapolis 2 Kentucky Wesleyan 4, Indianapolis 1 Maryville 15, Southern Indiana 8
Friday, April 1 Truman 3, Indianapolis 2 Quincy 7, Southern Indiana 2
Saturday, April 2 Truman 3, Indianapolis 2 Indianapolis 4, Truman 2 Southern Indiana 5, Quincy 1 Quincy 5, Southern Indiana 3
Sunday, April 3 Indianapolis 9, Truman 3 Quincy 6, Southern Indiana 4
NCAA D-III Monday, March 28 Franklin 9, St. Olaf 8
Tuesday, March 29 Carson-Newman 13, DePauw 3 Wittenberg 10, Earlham 5 St. Olaf 4, Franklin 3 Hanover 15, Mount St. Joseph 14 (13 inn.) Hanover 9, Mount St. Joseph 5 Rose-Hulman 7, Wabash 1 Ohio Northern 12, Trine 11
Wednesday, March 30 Anderson 15, Greenville 5 DePauw 10, Earlham 3 Franklin 7, Williams 6 Heidelberg 8, Manchester 2
Saturday, April 2 DePauw 12, Wooster 4 Wooster 13, DePauw 6 Earlham 7, Mount St. Joseph 4 Earlham 12, Mount St. Joseph 8 Franklin 16, Bluffton 4 Franklin 13, Bluffton 3 Manchester 6, Hanover 2 Manchester 6, Hanover 2 Trine 3, Olivet 0 Trine 13, Olivet 3 Allegheny 8, Wabash 3 Allegheny 11, Wabash 0
Sunday, April 3 Anderson 4, Rose-Hulman 3 Anderson 6, Rose-Hulman 5 Trine 4, Olivet 2
NAIA Tuesday, March 29 Bethel 6, Marian 4 Marian 8, Bethel 0 St. Francis (Ill.) 7, Calumet of St. Joseph 1 IU Southeast 16, Campbellsville 7 Indiana Wesleyan 9, Grace 7 Grace 5, Indiana Wesleyan 3 Spring Arbor 16, Huntington 14 Huntington 15, Spring Arbor 2 Concordia 6, Indiana Tech 5 Indiana Tech 5, Concordia 3 Taylor 13, Saint Francis 1 Taylor 11, Saint Francis 0 Mt. Vernon Nazarene 5, Goshen 3 Mt. Vernon Nazarene 3, Goshen 1
Wednesday, March 30 Lawrence Tech 5, IU Kokomo 4 Lawrence Tech 10, IU Kokomo 4 St. Francis (Ill.) 12, IU South Bend 4 Indiana Wesleyan 18, Thomas More 4
Friday, April 1 Grace 9, Bethel 4 Bethel 13, Grace 3 Taylor 12, Goshen 1 Goshen 3, Taylor 2 IU Kokomo 15, Midway 5 Midway 5, IU Kokomo 4 Olivet Nazarene 10, IU South Bend 0 Olivet Nazarene 11, IU South Bend 3 IU Southeast 8, Oakland City 7 IU Southeast 16, Oakland City 4 Indiana Wesleyan 12, Saint Francis 1 Indiana Wesleyan 11, Saint Francis 5
Saturday, April 2 Bethel 4, Grace 2 Bethel 3, Grace 0 Taylor 13, Goshen 1 Taylor 10, Goshen 3 Huntington 10, Marian 6 Huntington 14, Marian 12 (8 inn.) IU Kokomo 7, Midway 6 (10 inn.) Olivet Nazarene 9, IU South Bend 5 Oakland City 10, IU Southeast 9 (11 inn.) Cornerstone 5, Indiana Tech 4 Cornerstone 9, Indiana Tech 3 Indiana Wesleyan 11, Saint Francis 1 Indiana Wesleyan 13, Saint Francis 6
Notre Dame baseball generated plenty of base path traffic in 2021 — Rich Wallace’s second season in the third base coach’s box for the Irish. ND led the Atlantic Coast Conference in on-base percentage (.379), runs scored per game (7.06) and runs batted in per game (6.55). Wallace talked about coaching the bases for the South Bend Cubs Foundation Coaches Club Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Pepsi Stadium Club at Four Winds Field. Wallace has been coaching the bases for almost half his life. He started as a 22-year-old graduate assistant at the University of Central Florida in the first base box. At 24, he began coaching third. Over the years, he’s learned to be ready for all situations. “One thing that I always try to do is prepare enough that I can become invisible,” says Wallace. “I do enough work with our guys and with the scouting that nobody even notices me out there.” Wallace looks at coaching the bases from both internal and external perspectives. “At Notre Dame we practice base running and I practice base coaching more than any place I’ve ever been,” says Wallace, who is on a staff led by Link Jarrett. “We’ll never run the bases without both base coaches out there for our drills. “Good base runners do not need help. The problem is they’re very hard to find and are getting harder to find. “We’re on the bases (as coaches) all the time to get to know (the runners) — the way they run, the types of jumps, what they screw up and what they’re good at.” Runners also get accustomed to Wallace and first base coach Brad Vanderglas. “I have a different cadence from another third base coach they’ve had,” says Wallace. “I have different mannerisms.” There is also creativity in the Notre Dame practice plan that allows for base running work. “Anything that we feel is going to come up in a game or something we’ve screwed up before or might screw up we do it live,” says Wallace. “You have to have some tough skin to make it through base running because it happens so fast. “But if you don’t put them in those situations there’s really no way they can handle it.” Communication between coaches and players is key. “The language needs to be the same from the head coach to the first base coach to myself so that (players) are not hearing one thing from the first base coach and it sounds like something different from me and something different from (Coach Jarrett),” says Wallace. The Irish use a wristband system. “We have more things in our offensive package than you could possibly imagine,” says Wallace, who notes that ND has nine different ways to bunt. “We haven’t missed a sign in three years.” Not that the execution has always been right 100 percent of the time. But no signs have been missed. When Wallace yells out instructions, it’s always “yes, yes, yes or no, no, no.” “I never say ‘go’ because ‘go’ sounds like ‘no,’” says Wallace. “Make sure that you practice hand signals.” Verbal signals are just a single word — one for advance and another to go back. Wallace addressed spacing for base coaches. NCAA Division I rules say the coach must be touching the coaches box and the time of the pitch, but can move after that. “Then you can be as far north (toward the outfield) and as close to the dugout as you want from that spot,” says Wallace. “Use your space. I think about what might possibly happen and I put myself in position (to make a decision where the runner will be able to see me).” With no runners on-base, Wallace likes to get as deep as possible in anticipation of a triple. “Everything else in the field (runners) are making their own decisions,” says Wallace. “If the ball gets in the corner then I’ll help them. “If there’s a runner on second, I’ll be down the line as far as I can. “I want to make sure I can see the runner and both middle infielders. Depending on where the umpire is, you adjust from there.” Coaches also help the runner read the pitcher’s pick-off move. There’s also the back-pick attempt by the catcher. Wallace says it blows his mind when a first base coach lets a runner get picked off with the first baseman playing behind him. “There’s really nothing else for you to do except tell the runner what is happening behind him,” says Wallace. “So (the back-pick) should never happen.” Wallace says its the first base coach’s job to gather information on things that will help the runner like pitcher’s grip, rhythm of delivery, catcher’s set-up and arm strength, defensive positioning and more. The coach communicates this to the dugout without tipping anything to the opponent. As a third base coach, Wallace is always looking for “chinks in the armor” of the opponent. “Is there something out there I can see that’s going to allow us to exploit them and do something pretty cool that the guys enjoy themselves and score runs?,” says Wallace. External preparation includes watching the opponent warm up to study outfielders’ arms, cut-off systems, speed of players and more. Wallace addressed the Coaches Club in 2019 about recruiting. Jarrett talked about what it means to be a coach in January 2022. Notre Dame opens the 2022 season Feb. 18 against Manhattan in Deland, Fla. The first ACC game is March 11 at North Carolina State. The Irish’s first home game is slated for March 15 against Valparaiso. Performance consultant Dr. Amber Selking will be the guest speaker at the next South Bend Cubs Foundation Coaches Club meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29.
Instruct, Motivate, Inspire. Jarrett said being accessible means being there 45 minutes before practice for extra hitting cage work. It’s something that ND volunteer assistant Brad Vanderglas, who was in attendance Tuesday, knows well since he is the first coach to arrive at the office each day and the last to leave. As for studying and communicating, it’s about giving players the right information. “If you’re giving them the wrong information it’s not going to work,” said Jarrett. “You’re not going to ultimately be as successful as you would want. The older players start to figure out what works and what doesn’t. “If you want them to listen, you better give them the right stuff. You have an obligation to give them the right information. (You must) study what they do and how they do it and use your resources.” Jarrett suggests that something like a quick phone video of a player’s swing at practice and a review can be very helpful. To promote competition, especially during the winter months of what can be tedious indoor work, Jarrett keeps score with some of the drills. Motivation is not a cookie-cutter kind of thing. “It’s just one at a time and pushing the right buttons,” said Jarrett. “Like some guys can take being crawled on a little bit and some you might have to sandwich what you’re trying to message in between two good things so they don’t melt down. “If you’re not accessible and you don’t study and communicate, how can you learn what each guy needs and then give the right instruction?” J.T. Jarrett, Link’s son, is a fifth-year player at North Carolina State University. The Wolfpack’s head coach Elliott Avent, who constantly sends strong motivational and inspirational messages. Jarrett considers belief a part of inspiration. “Sometimes (players) have to think that they’re better than they are,” said Jarrett. “You almost can make them believe that they’re going to win just telling them that if we do this the right way — man — you guys we’re gonna win and win big. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If you can get them to buy in and understand that this you can do. That confidence, that swagger, that belief when they walk out there, it does matter.” Jarrett gave a presentation at the 2020 Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association State Clinic on “Building Complete Hitters” and he shared many offensive pointers at Tuesday’s gathering. Among the concepts that he broke down was hitting approach. Jarrett, who was part of an ABCA virtual coaching clinic on hitting approach in 2020, defines approach as “a mental and physical strategy to competitive success.” Each hitter must develop their own approach. One size does not fit all. What made sense for lefty slugger Niko Kavadas did not necessarily apply to other hitters in the Irish lineup in 2021. The coach says there is no universal way to finish a swing. Hitters must be able adjust for hard stuff and off-speed pitches. “We’re just trying to flush up as many balls as we can flush up and (hitters) know that,” said Jarrett. “The line drive is the ticket. Kavadas (a Penn High School graduate who hit 22 home runs and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox) missed some and they go out (to the opposite field). The hard ground ball and the hard fly ball are productive. But the goal in this is to how hard can you hit it on a line.” Looking for his ND hitters to do damage, Jarrett says a .400 on-base percentage is elite in major college baseball and he wants his club to average seven runs per game and make a third of all hits to go for extra bases — something that’s not easy at Frank Eck Stadium where the wind tends to always be a factor. “Somebody’s got to step on some balls because you don’t get enough opportunities against good pitching to string together 12 singles,” said Jarrett, who saw the 2021 Irish average post a .379 team OBP with 7.06 runs per game and 166 extra-base hits (36.8 percent). Notre Dame opens the 2022 season Feb. 18 against Manhattan in Deland, Fla. The first home game is slated for March 15 against Valparaiso.
The next South Bend Cubs Foundation Coaches Club session in the Pepsi Stadium Club (second floor) at Four Winds Field is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Notre Dame’s Rich Wallace will talk on base coaching. All are invited. Admission is free.
Brady Gumpf and Ryan Lynch were youngsters when they were first baseball teammates. The two buddies played in the summers for the Granger (Ind.) Cubs with Chris Hickey as head coach and Greg Lynch (Ryan’s father and former University of Wisconsin baseball player) as an assistant. Then came the Jay Hundley-coadhed Indiana Outlaws. That travel organization became the Evoshield Canes (now Canes Midwest). Both have earned All-American and all-tournament honors from Perfect Game. “We car-pooled down to Indianapolis every weekend,” says Lynch of the trips to meet up with the Outlaws or Canes. “It was always fun playing against him at school.” Lynch and C.J. Kavadas tried to coax Gumpf to play with them at Penn High School. But Gumpf stayed at South Bend (Ind.) Saint Joseph where his father – John Gumpf — was Indians head coach. When it came time for college ball, 2020 high school graduates Gumpf and Lynch both landed close to home at the University of Notre Dame. Because of depth and talent for head coach Link Jarrett’s Irish, Gumpf did not get into a game and Lynch pitched 2/3 of an inning in the spring of 2021. ND went 34-13, won the South Bend Regional and lost to eventual national champion Mississippi State in the Starkville Super Regional. This summer, righty-swinging outfielder Gumpf and left-handed pitcher Lynch were again teammates with the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League-champion Bethesda (Md.) Big Train, where Sal Colangelo was manager, Sam Bender hitting coach and Craig Lopez pitching coach. They were placed there along with Irish mates Matt Bedford and Danny Neri by Notre Dame assistant Rich Wallace. In 28 regular-season games, Gumpf hit .290 (20-of-69) with three home runs, one triple, one double, 13 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. “At the beginning of summer I was struggling a little bit at the plate, but I turned it around pretty easily,” says Gumpf, whose last game action came in the fall of 2019 for Team Indiana, coached by Prep Baseball Report Indiana’s Phil Wade and Blake Hibler. “It was the first time playing in awhile. I was still able to grow as a player and improve. It was mostly just getting the reps.” Gumpf, a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, split his defensive time for Bethesda between right and left field and did make an appearance at third base. A catcher/outfielder in high school, Gumpf has been mostly an outfielder at Notre Dame. “With my overall athleticism, I made the transition to that pretty easily,” says Gumpf. “I can still catch.” Brady played at what is now South Bend East Side Baseball Softball Association before joining the Granger Cubs. At Saint Joe, he was on the roster as a freshman as the Indians won the IHSAA Class 3A state championship in 2017. There was another sectional title in 2018. The 2019 season ended in the final game of the Griffith Regional with a loss to eventual 3A state champion Andrean. Gumpf was honorable mention all-state as a sophomore and junior and all-conference second team in 2018 and first team in 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic there was no 2020 prep season. Gumpf was invited to play in the College Summer League at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., but was advised by Notre Dame coaches to take the summer off and train on his own. Gumpf has declared himself to be a Management Consulting major. Brady’s mother, Deanna Gumpf, is head softball coach at Notre Dame. Deanna and John also have a daughter — Tatum. Lynch, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, made regular-season mound appearances (seven in relief) for the 2021 Big Train and went 2-1 with a 5.54 earned run average. In 13 innings, the southpaw produced 22 strikeouts and eight walks. “It was a good experience for me to get some innings in and to develop,” says Lynch, who pitched in mid-week scrimmages with ND substitutes last spring. “I want to try to become a starter,” says Lynch. “I think I have the skill. “We do have a lot of guys who started coming back and there are transfers that we picked up. I want to compete this fall and earn some kind of spot.” Chuck Ristano is the Notre Dame pitching coach. Lynch employs both a four-seam and two-seam fastball as well as a change-up, curveball and slider. The lefty gets plenty of arm-side run on his fastballs. The four-seamer sat at 88 to 91 mph in the spring. He tosses a “circle” change and gets his “12-to-6” curve to run in on lefties and drop a little bit. The slider is harder than the curve — mid 80’s vs. about 75. “One of my strengths is that all of my pitches look the same when they come out (of my hand),” says Lynch. “That’s good. That’s what I want — to keep the hitters off-balance.” Lynch has decided on Finance as a major as he enters his sophomore year at Notre Dame. He moves back to campus this weekend and classes begin Monday, Aug. 23. Baseball activities are expected to begin shortly after that. At Penn, Lynch was the 2020 Gatorade Indiana Baseball Player of the Year. Penn topped Saint Joe for the Northern Indiana Conference title in 2019. The Greg Dikos-coached Kingsmen were Class 4A state runners-up in 2017 with freshman Lynch in center field. He pitched a no-hitter that same season. Greg and Diana Lynch have three children — Kristina, Ryan and Brandon. Kristina Lynch plays soccer at Florida State University, where the Seminoles won a national title in 2018.
Notre Dame powered its way to a South Bend Regional championship and now the Irish know they will play host and No. 7 national seed Mississippi State in the NCAA Division I tournament‘s Starkville Super Regional (the Bulldogs went unbeaten in winning the Starkville Regional, which wrapped Monday, June 7). The winner of that best-of-3 super regional series June 11-14 at Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium will advance to the eight-team College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Former Indiana University head coachChris Lemonis is the bench boss for the MSU Bulldogs. Link Jarrett is in his second season as head coach at Notre Dame (33-11). The No. 10 seed Irish lashed 49 hits with 23 for extra bases and 15 home runs in beating Central Michigan 10-0, Connecticut 26-3 and Central Michigan 14-2 Friday through Sunday June 4-6 at Frank Eck Stadium in taking the South Bend Regional. Irish senior first baseman Niko Kavadas (Penn High School graduate) belted two home runs and drove in four runs in the first win against CMU. The lefty slugger that smacked two homers and drove in eight against UConn. In the second game against Central Michigan, Kavadas hit one homer (his school record-setting 21st of the season) with one RBI. The other dingers rang off the bats of junior Carter Putz (4), senior Ryan Cole (3), junior Brooks Coetzee (2) and senior David LaManna. Indiana State saw its season end at the Nashville Regional hosted by Vanderbilt. The Mitch Hannahs-coached Sycamores lost 7-6 to Georgia Tech, beat Presbyterian 9-2 and lost 9-0 to Georgia Tech. Redshirt junior Jordan Schaffer (West Vigo High School) hit .367 with seven homers, one triple, 10 doubles, 34 runs batted in, 52 runs scored and 11 stolen bases for ISU (31-21). Indiana University Southeast was greeted by a large crowd when it got back to New Albany after its first appearance in the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Playing May 28-June 1, Ben Reel’s Grenadiers (50-16) topped against Concordia (Neb) 4-2, lost 11-5 to Central Methodist (Mo.), bested Keiser (Fla.) 9-7 and lost 14-10 to Faulkner (Ala,). For the season, senior Matt Monahan (who missed the World Series because of injury) hit .428, junior Brody Tanksley (Bedford North Lawrence High School) drove in 70 runs and junior Clay Woeste (Lawrenceburg High School) stole 38 bases. Georgia Gwinnett — coached by former Saint Joseph’s College (Rensselaer, Ind.) assistant Jeremy Sheetinger — won the red banner as 2021 NAIA national champions. Sheets returned to coaching this season after serving with the American Baseball Coaches Association. He hosts the Dugout Chatter Podcast Powered by Stick & Ball TV.
After beating Virginia Tech 8-0 and losing to Virginia 14-1 at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., the Irish will host the South Bend Regional. It will be the first time postseason baseball has been at ND since 2004.
Each regional field features four teams, playing in a double-elimination format. All 16 regionals are scheduled to be conducted from Friday, June 4 to Monday, June 7 (if necessary).
Notre Dame (30-11) plays Central Michigan (40-16) at 1 p.m., followed by Connecticut (33-17) against Michigan (27-17) at 7. Irish head coach Link Jarrett was named the ACC Coach of the Year.
Indiana State went 3-2 at the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in Carbondale, Ill. — beating Illinois State 5-2 and Southern Illinois 11-8, losing to Dallas Baptist 10-1, beating Southern Illinois 9-7 then losing to Dallas Baptist 12-8 (in 11 innings).
The Sycamores are in the Nashville Regional. Georgia Tech (29-23) plays Indiana State (30-19) at 1 p.m. Friday while Vanderbilt (40-15) takes on Presbyerian (22-21) at 7.
Indiana State earned its 11th NCAA postseason appearance in program history and the third under head coach Mitch Hannahs.
Ball State (38-18) swept a four-game Mid-American Conference home series with Miami (Ohio). The Cardinals did not hear their name called Monday.
Nor did Indiana (26-18). The Hoosiers went 1-2 in a Big Ten Conference series at Maryland.
Purdue (16-26) wrapped the season with one win against Penn State and a doubleheader split against Minnesota in a Big Ten pod weekend.
The 2021 season also closed at the MVC tournament for Valparaiso (16-35) and Evansville (28-27). Valpo went 2-2 and UE 1-1 in Carbondale.