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.
The event is slated for May 25-30 in Greensboro, N.C.
The Irish meet No. 12 seed Virginia Tech in Tuesday’s second game. ND’s current four-game win streak includes a three game weekend sweep at Virginia Tech.
Penn High School graduate and Notre Dame first baseman Niko Kavadas heads to Carolina with 16 home runs and 49 runs batted in.
Missouri Valley Conference tournament play begins and Indiana State (27-17, 14-10) goes in as the No. 2 seed while Evansville (28-26, 11-16) is No. 7 and Valparaiso (14-33, 9-19) No. 8.
Games will be played May 25-29 at Southern Illinois-Carbondale.
The Sycamores receive a first-round bye to Day 2 while UE (vs. Illinois State) and Valpo (vs. Missouri State) play on the first day.
Indiana State overcame an 8-0 deficit to win 13-10 at Evansville Saturday to secure the No. 2 seed in the eight-team tourney behind Dallas Baptist (33-15).
Left-hander Geremy Guerrero is 9-1 with a 1.92 earned run average and catcher Max Wright has 14 homers and 37 RBIs for the Sycamores.
Ball State (34-18, 25-11) won its first two games then lost two in a Mid-American Conference series at Ohio. The Cardinals wrap the MAC season May 28-30 with four games against Miami (Ohio) in Muncie.
Nick Powell (.353) leads BSU in hitting. Right-hander John Baker (7-3, 2.45) has been the No. 1 starting pitcher.
Indiana (24-16, 24-16) has lost the first three games of its Big Ten Conference pod series, dropping two to Nebraska and one to Ohio State in Bloomington. The Hoosiers host the Buckeyes again today (May 24).
A 9-8 loss for Purdue (14-25, 14-25) at Minnesota Sunday kept the Boilermakers from a four-game sweep of the Golden Gophers.
A three-team pod (Purdue, Penn State, Minnesota) in West Lafayette is slated for May 27-29.
The 2021 season came to a close for both Butler (14-23 overall, 8-13 in the Big East Conference) and Purdue Fort Wayne (11-35 overall and 8-28 in the Horizon League).
The five-team finals of the NCAA Division III Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament saw Transylvania emerge as champions.
Transy bested Earlham (25-20, 21-18) in the final game. Bluffton knocked out Anderson (23-19, 20-17). A loss to Anderson eliminated Franklin (25-14, 23-12).
Indiana Tech (35-27) and Indiana Wesleyan (44-14) both bowed out in NAIA Opening Round play in the Marion Bracket.
Vincennes (24-31) saw its slate finish in the junior college Mid-West Athletic Conference tournament.
Of the state’s 38 college baseball programs, eight are still playing. There’s seven in NCAA Division I and there’s one in NAIA.
Indiana University Southeast (48-14) earned its first trip to the NAIA College World Series, which is May 28-June 4 in Lewiston, Idaho.
No. 2 seed Indiana Wesleyan (43-12) and No. 5 Indiana Tech (31-25) are part of the five-team Marion (Ind.) Bracket at Indiana Wesleyan.
IWU, coached by Rich Benjamin, won the regular-season and tournament titles in the Crossroads League.
Indiana Tech, coached by Kip McWilliams, was the regular-season champion in the Wolverine-Hoosier Conference.
No. 2 seed Indiana University Southeast (45-14) will be one of five teams competing in the Kingsport (Tenn.) Bracket.
IU Southeast, coached by Ben Reel, was the regular season and tournament champion in the River States Conference.
The NAIA season has ended for Taylor (37-20), Saint Francis (34-22), Huntington (33-16), Indiana University-Kokomo (28-20), Marian (25-29), Indiana University South Bend (24-24), Oakland City (17-27), Bethel (15-39), Grace (12-31), Calumet of Saint Joseph (7-29) and Goshen (3-34).
The 34 wins is a single-season school record for Saint Francis and Panthers coach Dustin Butcher.
Franklin (25-12), Earlham (23-18) and Anderson ( 20-17) were among teams winning opening round series and making it to the five-team finals in the NCAA Division III Heartland Collegiate Conference tournament.
Transylvania and Bluffton will be the other two teams. The tourney is to conclude Sunday, May 23.
The 2021 season is over for Indiana’s other D-III programs — Rose-Hulman (23-14), Hanover (20-20), Manchester (19-22), Wabash (18-15), DePauw (15-21) and Trine (6-28).
NCAA D-III teams Indianapolis (27-21), Southern Indiana (24-20) and Purdue Northwest (11-22) have also seen their slates come to a close.
Ivy Tech Northwest (31-25) lost 2-1 to Kellogg in a three-game National Junior College Athletic Association Regional in Battle Creek, Mich., and wrapped its season.
Max Flock homered three times and collected five hits and six runs batted in as Vincennes swept a doubleheader from Spoon River and made the Mid-West Athletic Conference tournament May 20-23 in Normal, Ill.
NJCAA member Ancilla (6-29) has concluded its season.
NCAA Division I Notre Dame (26-10) was idle in Atlantic Coast Conference play and yet the Irish earned the program’s first regular season title since 2006 by winning the ACC Atlantic Division.
ND has one more ACC series May 20-22 at Virginia Tech before the conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C.
Indiana (24-12, 24-12) is second in the Big Ten Conference to Nebraska (25-11, 25-11). The Hoosiers have eight more conference games remaining. There will be no Big Ten tournament.
Ball State (32-16, 23-9) holds a slight lead on Central Michigan (32-17, 23-10) at the top of the Mid-American Conference standings.
BSU has a May 21-23 road series against Ohio and May 28-30 home series with Miami (Ohio) before the postseason.
The eight-team Missouri Valley Conference tournament is scheduled for May 25-29 in Carbondale, Ill. Right now Dallas Baptist (31-13, 16-4) and Indiana State (25-15, 12-8) are the top two seeds with Evansville (26-24, 9-14) No. 6 and Valparaiso (14-29, 9-15) No. 7.
Ivy Tech Northeast (30-23) swept a National Junior College Athletic Association sub-regional series against Lakeland over the weekend.
The Great Lakes Region 12 tournament will be hosted by the highest seed.
In the second season of the program (2019), Ivy Tech went 33-14. For now, that is the school victory record.
The 2021 sub-regional win was also the 10th postseason championship of Titans boss Lance Hershberger’s college coaching career.
He had earned two NAIA independent sectionals (1996, 1998), one conference tournament title (2000), five consecutive NAIA regional crowns (1998-2002) and one NAIA super regional title (2001) at Indiana Tech prior to Saturday’s feat for Ivy Tech.
Hershberger’s 55 postseason victories is the most all-time among college baseball coaches in Indiana.
Indiana University Southeast (43-14) has made it to championship game of NAIA River States Conference tournament.
By going 3-1 Thursday through Saturday, the Grenadiers earned the right to meet Point Park Monday (May 10) for the right to move on to the NAIA Opening Round.
With a RSC tournament loss to IU Southeast, Indiana University Kokomo (28-20) saw its 2021 season come to a close. Point Park put out Oakland City (17-27).
The top six seeds — Indiana Wesleyan (41-12), Taylor (36-19), Huntington (33-14), Saint Francis (34-21), Mount Vernon Nazarene (29-18) and Marian (25-28) — are still alive in the NAIA Crossroads League tournament at IWU in Marion, Ind.
Play began Friday and resumes Monday, May 10. The championship will be Tuesday, May 11 (Wednesday, May 12, if necessary).
With each win, Saint Francis adds to its single-season school record for victories.
With a 10-inning Saturday loss to Saint Francis, Bethel (15-39) concluded its season.
Indiana Tech (31-25) went 1-2 in the NAIA Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament and now awaits the NAIA Opening Round pairings.
Indiana University South Bend (24-23) went 1-1 in its first two games of the NAIA Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament and was slated to play again Monday, May 10 in Joliet, Ill.
Next up for NCAA Division II Indianapolis (21-19) and Southern Indiana (22-18) is the eight-team Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament, slated for Thursday-Sunday, May 13-16 at Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo.
The first part of the two-tier NCAA Division IIII Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament has been set.
Best-of-3 series are slated for Friday-Saturday, May 14-15 with No. 10 seed Defiance (6-31) at No. 1 Transylvania (26-10), No. 9 Mount Saint Joseph (12-26) at No. 2 Franklin (23-12), No. 8 Bluffton (16-22) at No. 3 Rose-Hulman (23-12), No. 7 Manchester (19-20) at No. 4 Earlham (21-18) and No. 6 Hanover (20-18) at No. 5 Anderson (20-17).
A five-team double-elimination tournament will follow May 20-23 at the best remaining seed after Round 1.
Fifth-year senior Danny Dopp is now the career hits leader at Earlham. His 194 — reached in Saturday’s doubleheader against Manchester — surpass the 192 of Nate Lynch, who played for the Quakers 2014-17.
DePauw (15-21) saw its season wrap Saturday in non-conference D-III play against Washington University of St. Louis.
NCAA Division I Indiana (23-10, 23-10) went 2-0 against Rutgers and 1-1 against Nebraska in Piscataway, N.J., and hold a 1/2-game lead on Michigan for the lead in the Big Ten Conference standings. IU is slated to play three at Michigan Friday-Sunday, May 14-16.
Even with a 1-2 series against Florida State, Notre Dame (25-10, 22-10) is well ahead of Louisville (26-15, 16-10) for the lead in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
By splitting a four-game series at Central Michigan, Ball State (30-14, 21-7) remains 1 game behind first-place CMU in the Mid-American Conference standings.
Indiana State (24-12, 11-5) went 3-1 in a Missouri Valley Conference series at Missouri State. The Sycamores trail MVC front-runner Dallas Baptist by 2 games.
With a win in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Youngstown State, Purdue Fort Wayne gave Mastodons head coach Doug Schreiber the 500th win of his collegiate coaching career.
Because of health concerns within the Northwestern program, the Northwestern at Purdue series was postponed.
Purdue has worked an arrangement with Ohio State to add a Tuesday, May 11 game at Alexander Field.
Jared Heard’s two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning helped Indiana University-Kokomo (22-16, 10-8) to a walk-off 2-1 baseball victory against Brescia Saturday, April 17 at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
It was the Cougars’ seventh straight victory — the longest current streak among Indiana’s 38 collegiate programs.
By beating Brescia 8-1 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, IUK gave head coach Matt Howard his 100th career victory.
Indiana Wesleyan (36-11, 25-3) built a three-game lead in the Crossroads League standings with a four-game sweep of Huntington. The Wildcats have won six in a row.
Frank Plesac pitched a seven-inning complete game with 14 strikeouts as Bethel (13-30, 10-18) completed a four-game sweep of visiting Crossroads League foe Goshen and ran the Pilots’ win streak to five.
Indiana State (20-8, 7-1) finally played games at Bob Warn Field after opening the season with 24 on the road. The Sycamores swept a four-game Missouri Valley Conference series against Valparaiso.
Ellis Hanna II drove in four runs in a 12-1 win in the series finale. ISU has won five straight.
Clay Woeste collected nine hits, scored nine runs and drove in seven as Indiana University Southeast (32-13, 20-1) racked up 41 runs in a three-game River States Conference series sweep at West Virginia Tech.
Indiana University Southeast is the hottest college baseball program in the state.
Through April 4, Ben Reel’s Grenadiers (24-11 overall, 15-0 River State Conference) had won 15 straight.
IUS, based in New Albany, has won at least 31 games every season since 2008 not including the COVID 19 pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign when the NAIA-member Grenadiers went 18-1 overall and 6-0 in the RSC.
At seven, Evansville (16-11) has the longest current win streak among Indiana’s NCAA Division I schools. It is last full season — 2019 — the Purple Aces went 24-29.
Indiana Wesleyan (29-10) has rolled since an 0-7 start to 2021. Rich Benjamin’s Wildcats could soon match or surpass the 37 wins of the 2018 and 2016 IWU teams.
A clash of the NAIA Crossroads League’s top two teams is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 9-10 when Taylor (17-3 in the league) visits Indiana Wesleyan (18-2) for a pair of doubleheaders.
Taylor (28-9) has won its last four games after dropping three of four at Huntington. Excepting 2021, Kyle Gould’s Trojans won at least 32 every year since 2009.
Saint Francis (22-13, 13-7 Crossroads League) has reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2013.
Leaving out 2020, Huntington (20-8, 13-7 Crossroads League) has now won at least 20 each season since 2014.
The longest current winning streak among the state’s NCAA Division II programs belongs to Southern Indiana with seven. Tracy Archuleta’s Screaming Eagles won the last three games of a four-game series at Mayrville then swept four games from Missouri-St. Louis in Evansville.
Notre Dame left-handed slugger Niko Kavadas (Penn High School graduate) slammed 24 home runs in 393 at-bats his first three seasons with the Fighting Irish.
In 58 2021 at-bats, Kavanda has already bashed 11 circuit clouts.
March is about to give way to April and NCAA Division I’s Indiana and Ball State and NAIA’s Indiana University Southeast and Taylor sit atop their respective conference baseball standings.
Indiana is 11-3 overall and in the Big Ten Conference. The Hoosiers went 2-1 on the weekend at Michigan State.
Ball State is 12-9 in all games and 6-2 in the Mid-American Conference. The Cardinals took three of four from visiting Toledo.
Riding a 11-game win streak, IU Southeast is 20-11 overall and 12-0 in the River States Conference. The Grenadiers swept a three-game set against Asbury at Koetter Sports Complex.
Winners of 17 straight, Taylor is 24-6 in all contests and 13-0 in the Crossroads League. The Trojans swept a four-game series at Huntington.
After splitting a Tuesday doubleheader against Trinity International and taking two from Calumet of Saint Joseph, NAIA Indiana University South Bend (9-13, 5-3) is 1.5 games Chicagoland Collegiate Conference leader Judson (7-9, 6-1).
NCAA D-I Notre Dame (11-4, 10-4) is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Atlantic Division. After topping visiting Valparaiso Tuesday, the Irish split a pair at home against visiting ACC foe and division leader Louisville (16-6, 8-3). The third game was not played because of inclement weather.
D-I’s Indiana State (11-6) and Valparaiso (5-12) have yet to play their first Missouri Valley Conference games while Evansville (12-11) in 1-3 in the MVC.
NCAA D-II Indianapolis (8-8, 6-2) is second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Blue Division. Coming off a non-conference doubleheader split at Wayne State, the Greyhounds are behind GLVC division front-runner Lindenwood (12-0, 8-0).
NCAA D-III Hanover (9-5, 9-5) is second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Panthers are 1.5 games below first-place Transylvania (8-3, 8-3) after a home sweep of Bluffton and road split at Earlham.
Turner played at Anderson High School, where he graduated in 2005, then two seasons at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill., before transferring to Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne, Ind. He played one season (2009) on the field with the Warriors before an injury and spent eligibility put an end to the middle infielder’s playing career.
“I’m not going to lie, I cried,” says Turner. “It hurt.”
But the next day Indiana Tech head coach Kip McWilliams asked Turner to join the coaching staff. He’s been there ever since. The 2021 season is his 11th. It’s Williams’ 14th leading the Warriors program.
“Once you’re done playing, you can always spread the knowledge of the game to somebody else and make them better,” says Turner — aka GT. “I’ve got the privilege to be a college coach. Not everyone gets that opportunity.
“I’m not going to take it for granted.”
Turner calls McWilliams the “heart and soul” of the Indiana Tech program and somebody who is always learning something new about baseball and passing it along.
“I’ve learned a lot from Coach Mac,” says Turner. “He has changed the culture. He looks into (recruiting) high-character guys who are coachable. He’s done a great job over the years.
“It’s nothing but positivity. It’s a great environment. He’s got his standards and he holds his players and coaches to them.”
Indiana Tech has varsity and developmental players and the NAIA program typically carries a large roster that has counted as many as 65 players.
Turner is the head reserve coach and leads that team in games against NAIA, NCAA and NJCAA competition.
But while some might be varsity and other junior varsity, all Tech players are on equal footing.
“We try to keep our guys involved,” say Turner. “Our developmental guys practicing with varsity. We keep them on the same page. We don’t want anybody to lose focus.
“It’s like family. You don’t want to leave nobody out.”
Turner notes that 2016 first-team NAIA All-American Brian Hakes started out on the developmental roster.
Tech has begun its 2021 season. A typical week at this time of the year means taking Monday off if the Warriors are coming off a weekend series. This gives players a chance to rest and to catch up with their studies.
There are sometimes mid-week games with practices to fix flaws and stay sharp.
“We try to get outside as much as possible,” says Turner. “Sometimes we use the turf soccer field and field fly balls and ground balls and do PFP (Pitcher’s Fielding Practice).
“We work on anything (the coaching staff says) we need to work on.”
There’s also in-seaon weight lifting to maintain strength.
“It’s a grind for 55 games as a northern team,” says Turner.
In the off-season, Turner has worked at camps both at Tech and other places.
He is also a substitute teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools. This year, was at Lakeside Middle School, where cousin Alan Jones (who played basketball at Muncie Central High School and Taylor University and earned his masters degree at Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne) is the principal.
Turner, who received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana Tech in 2012, has taught multiple subjects, but favorite is social studies.
“There’s something about geography,” says Turner. “Show me a place and I’ll show you 10 different ways to get there.”
Turner has also helped Tech players in graduate school to get substitute teaching jobs.
Terry Turner, who has won two IHSAA state titles at Daleville (2016 and 2018), was the Anderson head coach when GT played for the AHS Indians.
“T-Squared — that’s what we call him — was very laid-back,” says Gordon Turner. “If he saw senior had leadership and were taking control of the team, he let it happen. He let us play our game.”
That doesn’t mean the veteran coach did not have control.
“He was holding guys accountable,” says Turner. “If you show up, he’s going to let you know.”
Turner played with some talented players at AHS. In his class was Michael Lucas (who went on to Lincoln Trail College and Ball State University) and Zane Sparks (who played at Kishwaukee and is now with the Anderson Police Department). A year ahead of Turner and his classmates was Brandon Meadows (who played at Anderson University).
Michael Earley, a Class of 2007 graduate, went on to play at Indiana University and in pro ball is now on the coaching staff at Arizona State University.
Turner played at Kishwaukee for Josh Pethoud (now an assistant at Northern Illinois University).
“You really had to be tough to play for him,” says Turner. He had a lot of passion for the game and he knew how to accelerate guys’ games.
“He was very intense, Off the field, he’d give you the shirt off his back. I had a very good relationship with that guy.”
Turner values relationships.
“There’s trust in knowing someone has your back at all times,” says Turner. “There’s someone to help you out during struggles.”
Since he was 15, Turner has occupied parts of his summer playing fast pitch softball. In recent years, he’s been with Anderson-based Diamond In The Rough.
Two nephews have excelled in sports. Lawrence North High School graduate Harold Jones is on the football team at Ball State. LN senior Anthony Hughes is a two-time IHSAA Wrestling State Finals qualifier.
Turner lives in Fort Wayne with girlfriend Shelby Knepper. Together, they have a daughter — Aria Grace Knepper-Turner (2).
Tuesday, March 2 would have been Charles Turner’s 67th birthday. Gordon’s father died of pancreatic cancer Aug. 16, 2018 — about a month before his daughter was born.
“Before he passed away he told me that he was proud of me,” says Gordon. “I’m trying to be a better man as every day comes.”
In his current position, working for Urban Knights head coach Dan McDermott, Collins-Bride, 30, is in charge of pitchers, catchers and infielders.
“I’m a teacher,” says Collins-Bride, who joined the ArtU coaching staff in September 2019. “Baseball and strength and conditioning seems to be my best form of teaching.
“When you see people grow and see the light click on and they create really good habits, that’s the special part.”
Developing pitchers at the NCAA Division II PacWest Conference institution for Collins-Bride is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
“It’s individualistic once you have a base,” says Collins-Bride. “It depends on the players’ needs.”
Some pitchers possess good command and need to improve their stuff. Some have superior velocity but lack movement on their pitches. Others need concentration on the mental side of baseball.
“We’re picking and choosing what we focus on,” says Collins-Bride.
A strength and conditioning coach for several Indiana Tech teams, Collins-Bride has studied biomechanics as it relates to athletes. He has become OnBaseU-certified.
“You have to know how each player moves and how they’re supposed to move,” says Collins-Bride, who does a movement assessment on each ArtU pitcher. “That’s critical.
“You structure the off-season around filling those buckets.”
You’re not treating every car like a Toyota. You also have Dodges and Kias. You don’t spend all your time racing the Lamborghini, you also spend time working with it in the garage.
COVID-19 caused the Urban Knights’ 2020 season to halt after 20 games. McDermott and Collins-Bride helped the player see the quarantine as an opportunity for growth.
“It was a chance to check something on your bucket list,” says Collins-Bride. “If you don’t do it, shame on you.
“Many (players) came back (in the fall) in the biggest shape of their lives,” says Collins-Bride. “It was really cool to see what these guys did over 6-7 months after only hearing about it over the phone.”
Alameda resident Collins-Bride used the extra time to go on long bike rides, including a trek around Lake Tahoe.
ArtU practices at The Presidio and plays games at Laney College. During fall practice, players went through daily temperature and system checks.
Most of the time, workouts were conducted with just six to eight players.
“It was different,” says Collins-Bride. “But it was really good from a development standpoint.”
There was more one-on-one time with coaching while raw skills — running, throwing, fielding and swinging — were being refined mixed with intrasquad play.
“Ideally, that’s what a fall should be — create some raw skills and play a little bit,” says Collins-Bride. “Summer baseball is failing kids. They’re playing too much and not practicing enough or practicing too much and not playing enough.
“We had a really good balance (in the fall.).”
It’s about building proper motor patterns. That’s why weighted balls and bats are used to carve a new path for the brain.
“It’s a brand new road and they learn that quickly,” says Collins-Bride.
Born in San Francisco, the son of carpenter Bob Bride and professor/nurse practitioner Geraldine Collins-Bride grew up loving baseball.
Patrick’s father did not have much experience at the game, but he did come up with several tools to guide “FUN-damentals” for Little Leaguers. Bob devoured books and DVDs while researching training methods.
“He’d have us swing ax handles,” says Collins-Bride. “We’d hit wiffle balls with hoses to teach us to whip the bat. He turned a leaf blower into a wiffle ball pitching machine. To develop soft hands, we’d toss eggs or water balloons. We had stations all around my small house.”
Flood lights were installed over the garage so these sessions could go deep into the night.
Patrick went to the Boys & Girls Club and learned about pitching from major leaguers who hailed from Alameda. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis taught him how to play “strikeout.”
Middle schooler Collins-Bride learned about the proper way to field a grounder from shortstop Jimmy Rollins at an RBI camp held at Encinal.
Collins-Bride expresses gratitude of coaching with McDermott, who is heading into his 28th season as a college coach in 2021.
“It’s like coaching with your dad,” says Collins-Bride. “He really, really loves you and he’s not going to let you mess up.
“We get really great life lessons all the time. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
Collins-Bride coached for five seasons at Indiana Tech (2015-19), where Kip McWilliams is the Warriors head coach. “C.B.” worked with hitters, infielders, catchers and volunteered his strength and conditioning services while pursuing and after completing his Masters of Marketing and Management.
Indiana Tech typically carries a roster of 60 or more to help fund the program — with varsity and developmental teams.
“We had to carry a lot of players,” says Collins-Bride. “We decided if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it really well.
“Playoff time is when the Warriors showed up.”
Collins-Bride notes that almost all the players in the starting lineup in the 2015 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference championship game started out on the development team.
“That was so important,” says Collins-Bride of the large squad. “They all trained together. We created an efficient practice style. Everybody had a purpose.
“We competed. If you were recruited there, you worked hard. When you have that many guys with a passion for baseball, it makes for such a good atmosphere.
“To do it right, you make sure you treat each kid well. I think we accomplished that. The beautiful thing about baseball and life is what a kid can make out of himself in two or four years.”
Collins-Bride said the Tech culture was based on standards and not rules.
“There was an acceptable level of behavior for everyone in the program and accountability is a two-way street (standards applied equally to players and coaches),” says Collins-Bride. “Coaches didn’t just talk the talk, they walked the walked.”
Or — better yet — they hustled from station to station just like the players.
It was also an atmosphere of positivity.
“No BCE (Blaming, Complaining or Excuses) was allowed,” says Collins-Bride. “Because it’s not helping the situation.”
Dosson, a graduate of Heritage High School in Monroeville, Ind., was a highly-touted player in high school who wound up behind an All-American for a few seasons with the Warriors then got a chance to hit behind Tech standout and No. 3 hitter Glen McClain.
Barksdale, who went to Cass Tech High School in Detroit, spent a few seasons on the developmental team then got his chance to shine with the varsity in a game against Florida Memorial.
“He had been training really, really hard,” says Collins-Bride. “He hit a ground ball in the 6-hole and beat it out for a base hit. That was pretty special.”
Collins-Bride calls Biagini, hard-nosed player from San Francisco, the “most impactful kid I’ve ever been around.”
“He was the epitome of leadership,” says Collins-Bride of the national gold glove shortstop. “He’d say what coaches would have to say. He’d see things and fix them.
“They way he practiced, he raised the level of everyone around him.”
Collins-Bride had been with McWilliams when he observed a Spring Arbor University practice led by head coach Sam Riggleman. The SAU Cougars made workouts fast and as game-like a possible.
“Practice is the hardest thing we would do,” says Collins-Bride. “Games were slow. Everything (in practice) counted. Everything had detail.”
Collins-Bride noticed that long-time Lewis-Clark State College coach Ed Cheff and Folsom Lake College coach Rich Gregory (who played for future Indiana State University and University of Washington coach Lindsay Meggs on a NCAA Division II championship team at Cal State Chico) also took to that kind of preparation — skill under pressure.
It did no good to see 50 mph batting practice pitches when the game was going to bring 90 mph.
Collins-Bride went from Ave Maria, where he played two seasons (2011 and 2012) and coached two (2013 and 2014), after checking his options of serving as a graduate assistant to Scott Dulin at Fisher College in Boston.
On his first working day with Tech, he flew from San Francisco to Boston then drove 15 hours to Fort Wayne. He met McWilliams at 5 a.m. and they drove all the way to Vincennes (Ind.) for a junior college showcase.
“We talked baseball the whole way,” says Collins-Bride.
During Collins-Bride’s entire at Tech, Debbie Warren was the athletic director.
“She was an unbelievable leader of people,” says Collins-Bride. “She knew how to push you. She was very tough and phenomenal to work with.”
Warren helped get the weight room updated just about the time Collins-Bride was leaving to go back to California.
While he was there he planted a desk near the weights and managed 80 athletes in a two-hour window.
Shawn Summe, a graduate of Penn High School and Bethel College (now Bethel University) in Mishawaka, Ind., was the head coach at NAIA Ave Maria. He started the program. The Gyrenes’ first season was 2010.
“(Summe) is a very intense person and an emotional leader,” says Collins-Bride. “We practiced really hard. He was really awesome to play for.
“He deeply had your back and wanted you to succeed.”
Collins-Bride, who received a Politics degree from Ave Maria, sees his transition from player to coach as a smooth one.
“It was easy to step into a role of leadership and demand respect,” says Collins-Bride. “We had a special senior group in 2013.”
Lennon, who died in 2019 at 80, won three baseball letters at Notre Dame and later taught at the university and served as three decades for the Notre Dame Alumni Association.
Lennon’s zeal was on display even at early hours when Collins-Bride was getting a few more winks before greeting the day on an Ave Maria road trip.
“He’s say, ‘Wake up C.B., the world is waiting for us,” says Collins-Bride. “Talk about positivity. He was a beaming, shining light.”
After a semester at Cal State East Bay, Collins-Bride transferred to California Community College Athletic Association member Laney and played two seasons (2009 and 2010) for Eagles coach Francisco Zapata.
“Coach Z is a great human being,” says Collins-Bride. “He really knew his stuff and he knew how to push you.
“It was really hard to let him down. You know what he had to go through to play baseball. You’ve got nothing to complain about.”
Zapata grew up in Nicaragua and brought a work ethic to his coaching.
“There was an expectation level,” says Collins-Bride.
His prep career began on the Alameda High junior varsity for coach Joe Pearse and concluded at Encinal for Jim Saunders.
“(Pearse) was a hard-nosed guy,” says Collins-Bride. “We were working hard and there was a lot of competition.
“(Saunders, who coached Rollins) was an excellent manager of talent.”
During his time as a player and manager with the San Francisco Seals, Collins-Bride not only got a chance to enjoy the rivalry with the Arcata-based Humboldt Crabs but got the chance to play all over the place. During a two-year span, he traveled through 33 states and played in around 20.