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ABCA’s Dave Keilitz Announces Retirement

ABCA’s Dave Keilitz Announces Retirement

Dave KeilitzMOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Dave Keilitz has announced that he will step down as Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association in June of 2014.

He has served with distinction in that capacity for the last 20 years. Prior to that, he was the Athletics Director at Central Michigan University for 10 years, leading the Chippewas to 26 Mid-American Conference championships, a span in which every coach was named MAC Coach of The Year at least once.

He also was the head baseball coach at Central Michigan for 14 years and never had a losing season, compiling an impressive 456-203 record. He coached eight All-Americans, and 51 of his players signed pro contracts with seven eventually making it to the major leagues. He was involved with the baseball program for 20 years and was a graduate assistant and coach of the freshman baseball team for five years as he established an 84-26 record.

Keilitz was Central Michigan’s first All-American baseball player and established 19 game, season and career records for the Chippewas.

During Keilitz’s time as Executive Director of the ABCA, the association’s membership and number attending the annual convention have grown significantly.

In addition, he had his hand in important NCAA legislative accomplishments for baseball over the years as ABCA Executive Director including NCAA Division I bracket expansion, change of season, bat standards, academic performance, as well as recruiting and practice schedules, just to name a few. He helped stop attempts to reduce the number of games in NCAA Division I on several occasions and other potentially damaging NCAA legislation.

He is a member of the ABCA Hall of Fame, Midland County Sports Hall of Fame, Central Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame, NAIA Hall of Fame and MAC Hall of Fame.

A in-depth look at what Keilitz has meant to baseball coaches on all levels of baseball will be in the Sept. 6 issue of Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Greatest Closer Was Once An Afterthought

Greatest Closer Was Once An Afterthought

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

OMAHA, Neb. — UCLA closer David Berg is able to juggle four balls at a time and six with a partner.

It only seems fitting since he is the greatest closer in college baseball history and seems to juggle anything batters have waiting for him.

No closer in college baseball history has put up the staggering numbers that Berg has in his first two years with the Bruins.

As his sophomore year recently concluded with UCLA’s first national baseball championship, Berg has now appeared in 101 games in two years (50 as a freshman and NCAA record-tying 51 this season) as he saved an NCAA record 24 games in 2013.

In 101 appearances, he only has two blown saves. And both times, he came back to post a win.

The Louisville Slugger first team All-American also posted a 7-0 record this season in 78 innings with a 0.92 ERA (second best in the nation) and struck out 78 batters with only 11 walks.

As hard as it is to believe, three seasons ago at Bishop Amat High School (La Puente, Calif.), his pitching career was on the rocks.

During his junior year, he only was allowed to pitch 9 1/3 innings as he was learning to throw as a sidewinder from his normal ¾ arm slot. He had a 6.00 ERA with 4 walks and 3 hit batters as he gave up 8 earned runs. 

“David came in as an outfielder/pitcher as a freshman and was a good athlete,” said Bishop Amat Head Coach Andy Nieto.

“Entering the fall of his junior year, he was having some difficulty pitching on the varsity level. It just wasn’t happening. I talked to my pitching coach Chris Beck and told him that we had to ‘Muckey’ him.

“There is a well known coach in Southern California by the name of Scott Muckey at Crespi High School who annually turns one of his pitchers into a sidearmer to give opponent hitters a different look.

“Both Chris and I felt David would be a good candidate to try this. There was no guarantee it would work.

“So we talked to David about it, and he took it from there as he worked extremely hard to learn this new delivery. And he wasn’t allowed to throw over the top any more.

“From that point on, he was only allowed to throw as a sidearmer.”

Nieto acknowledged that Berg had a tough junior year as he worked on his new arm angle.

“In fact, it took about a year for him to figure out how to throw from this arm slot with a completely new release point.”

During Berg’s junior year, he appeared to be a nervous wreck when he did pitch as he walked halfway to the plate to retrieve balls from his catcher and constantly paced around the mound.

Nieto and pitching coach Chris Beck had to remind Berg to stay on the pitching circle.

“He was definitely a pacer at that time. But now he has grown up physically and mentally and has a chance to pitch in the Big Leagues in a certain role.

“He has shown he can pitch to both right and left handed hitters which is rare for a sidearmer.

“We could see the potential he had, but David just needed some work at the change.

“We knew he was a diamond in the rough. The movement he had with the new arm angle was terrific, and the deception was superb.

“We felt if he tackled this new arm slot with the commitment he had in the classroom, he would make it work. And boy has he ever.”

Amazing Senior Year
His senior year at Bishop Amat was sensational with a 7-1 record, 1.05 ERA and 4 saves as he led the Lancers to the CIF championship with a 29-4 overall record.

He had 21 appearances in 33 games that season and threw 46 2/3 innings. It was a transformation for the ages.

“During his senior year at Bishop Amat, he was our salvation,” said Nieto.

“He pitched in every big game we had. I will never forget his outing against Torrance High School in the CIF semi-final game. We were down 4-0 after two innings, and he came in and no-hit Torrance for the next five innings as we rallied to win, 5-4. We then won the CIF title at Dodger Stadium in the final.”

Berg’s pitches darted under and over bats as hitters had trouble even making contact.

With renewed confidence, he was now a mentally tough pitcher who could conquer anything.

The breakout game of his senior season was at the National Classic when Bishop Amat took on St. Francis High School (Mountain View, Calif.) which was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time.

The game didn’t start well for Bishop Amat as starting pitcher Daniel Zamora was chased from the game after 2 1/3 innings.

Berg came in to face this remarkable ball club and struck out 10 of the final 14 batters over 4 2/3 innings of relief work. Nobody could hit him as a re-tooled sidearmer.

Strangely, no college offered him an athletic scholarship despite his superb senior season.

His only offer was an academic grant from NCAA Division III Cal. Lutheran. Late in May, UCLA Recruiting Coordinator T.J. Bruce felt the Bruins should take a chance on him, and Bruin Head Coach John Savage agreed. U.C. Irvine and Nevada-Reno also started showing interest.

More On David Berg: The full story of David Berg is in the July 12, 2013 edition of Collegiate Baseball. He explains that he hasn’t been on any scholarship his first two years at UCLA despite throwing in 101 games and why he might not next season as well. He delves into how he made the adjustment to throwing sidearm, what type of pitches he has and the challenge of being a closer. Head Coach John Savage discusses why Berg is so special is as well as UCLA baseball team sports psychologist Ken Ravizza. To obtain this issue, CLICK HERE.

Summer Instruction Series: Throwing Drills

Summer Instruction Series: Throwing Drills

Throwing Game-LikeBy CHARLIE GREENE
Special To Collegiate Baseball

MIAMI, Fla. — Practicing to throw in game-like drills has long been needed in baseball to allow players to maximize their throwing skills.

The typical practice routine involves two players throwing the ball back and forth in order to build up arm strength and develop some degree of accuracy and quickness. However, the game requires wide variety of throws, few of which are found in just playing catch.

At the Major League level, teams rarely take “infield” anymore, and as one longtime Major League coach confided in me, “I can’t find four guys who want to.”

This has led to a decreased level of throwing skill. It is my opinion that players do not want to re-warm their arms when batting practice has been completed for both teams, and therefore are inclined to skip infield drill.

Starting in the early ‘80s our teams started to take infield immediately after warming up, and before batting practice at home games.

The advantages of having a freshly maintained field and the players properly warmed up were obvious.

No longer did the players have to be alerted to prepare for “infield in a few minutes” and rush to warm up their arms, sometimes insufficiently. Injured arms were often the result.

I would like to propose a series of throwing drills that involve the use of a various sized square formations, each providing a chance to practice game-related options. Groups of four in square formation can be set up near each foul line.

Getting sufficient repetitions is the basis for all acquired skills and throwing is no exception. Start out slow before picking up the tempo. Insist on proper footwork and arm action.

20-Foot Square
Four players form the corners of a square 20 feet apart and execute short throws in a clockwise, counter clockwise and diagonal direction.

The two types of throws are the underhand toss and the arm side “flip” where the player extends his arm while pronating (thumb down).

The coach can call out clockwise, counter clockwise, diagonal or allow player options.

Reminders: The underhand toss should be executed with a firm wrist extended directly at the receiver’s chest.

The arm side extension is best executed when the fingers also extend to the receiver’s chest. Both types of throws should be completed with a walking follow through.

60-Foot Square
Four players form the corners of a square 60 feet apart and execute overhand throws, also in a clockwise, counter clockwise, diagonal and player optional direction.

The emphasis at this distance is quickness.

Proper footwork will almost automatically occur, something that is missing in just “playing catch.”

Catch ball close to body. Don’t get quick until you secure the catch.

120-Foot Square
The enlarged square give the players a chance to stretch out their arms in the same directions as the smaller squares and will make the 90-foot infield dimensions seem easier.

90-Foot Square
This regulation distance is a test for the effectiveness of the other drills.

Coaches may want to use a stopwatch to objectively measure how much improvement is taking place.

Drills afford increased opportunities for needed repetitions. Footwork will come naturally with an occasional reminder from the coach.

Use all four drills each day or place emphasis on one or more. Skills are difficult to store and should be reviewed often.

The square formations provide an efficient method to duplicate game-like throwing challenges.

They are particularly effective for infielders and catchers, but pitchers and outfielders can also benefit.

(This story is part of an ongoing Summer Instructional Series Collegiate Baseball newspaper will be running in July and August. Please check back for more great ideas on playing baseball from top coaches and players. To subscribe to Collegiate Baseball, CLICK HERE.)

Summer Instruction Series: Catcher Communication

Summer Instruction Series: Catcher Communication

Coach/Colorado Rockies

Catchers must always be in communication with defensive players.

Here is how I suggest they work with pitchers, umpires and infielders.

To Your Pitchers
1. Subtle body language mechanical reminders.

2. No more than one simple verbal cue.

3. Positive reinforcement whenever necessary and appropriate.

4. Remind the pitcher before the pitch to get over to first base with a left-handed pull hitter up.

5. Get pitcher off the mound whenever the ball is hit. It’s especial important on balls hit to the right side. (“Get over there” loud and early.)

6. Make sure that the pitcher knows who he is working with on come backers. Make sure that the pitcher is reminded to throw to second on a come backer with runners on first and second with less than two outs or to second with runners on first and third with one out.

With runners on first and third and no one out, the dugout should tell you where they want a come backer to the pitcher thrown. It’s usually to second unless it’s late in the game. Just find out before the pitch.

Occasionally the dugout will want you to come home with one out and runners on first and third base on the running speed of the batter-runner or on a 3-2 count when the runner on first will most likely be running.

You must help the pitcher react to this situation if the runner from third does not break and there is no play at second.

Make sure that the pitcher stops the runner at third before he throws to first base.

1. Make sure the pitcher knows when the first baseman is playing behind a runner on first.

2. Remind the pitcher to stop especially with a runner on third and he is pitching out of the stretch. This should be a subtle sign or verbal so as not to heighten the umpire’s awareness and lead to a balk being called.

Use something other than “make sure to stop” or hold your hands at your waist.

1. When the pitcher is winding up with a runner on third, remind him to look the runner back at third before starting his windup.

2. Bases loaded and less than two outs remind the pitcher to come home on a comebacker.

3. With a runner on third or a runner on second and less than two outs, remind the pitcher to look the runner back before throwing to first base.

To Your Infielders
1. Give the infielders the outs frequently both verbally and visually.

2. Remind the corner infielders when base hit bunters are up.

3. Let all the infielders know when there is a plus runner at the plate.

4. Tell corner players to throw home or to second with the bases loaded and less than two outs.

5. Check “no doubles” positioning and make sure infielders have told the outfielders to keep the hitter off of second base.

6. Make sure that the defense is not way out of position based on the pitch call.

7. Give the infielders a dive reminder with a runner on second.

8. Three-two count and two outs and the force one, remind infielders to throw the ball to first base.

9. Subtle hand signal to middle infielders to heighten their awareness to delay without alerting the offensive team that you are ready for a delayed steal.

10. Remind third baseman that you’ll be at third base if he fields a bunt with a runner on first.

11. Remind first and third basemen of their cutoff and relay responsibilities.

12. When there is no possible play at the plate, go down the fence line and help the corner infielders on foul pops down the lines and near the fence.

To The Umpire
1. Non-confrontational discussions regarding pitches. No one should be aware of your conversation. (Do not turn around and don’t change your body language. Call him by his first name, never “Blue.”) If you show up an umpire, he’ll eventually win and you’ll lose. Umpires share information within their fraternity, so an overly aggressive confrontation with one umpire or umpiring crew is known to all.

2. Remind him to make sure the batter-runner is in the running lane the last 45 feet to first base when the bases are loaded and there is a potential force play at home.

3. Ask for an early and loud call when there are runners on first and third or first and second and there is a three ball count on the batter. The exception would be a 3-2 and 2 outs. So you are not needlessly throwing to second base or third base on a close pitch.

There is a fine line between community and over communication. If it slows the game down or people stop listening, you are probably over communicating.

(Since summer is a time to improve and work on your baseball skills, Collegiate Baseball is offering a special instructional series for coaches and players. Various top coaches from around the country will share information on all aspects of playing the game.) To subscribe to Collegiate Baseball, CLICK HERE.


UCLA’s Savage Named Coach Of The Year

UCLA’s Savage Named Coach Of The Year

UCLA Head Coach John SavageUCLA Head Baseball Coach John Savage has been named National Coach of The Year by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

One of the most respected coaches in college baseball, Savage led the Bruins to their first national baseball championship at the recent College World Series with an 8-0 win over Mississippi St.

The Bruins, 49-17, rolled through the NCAA Tournament with a 10-0 record and finished 5-0 at the College World Series.

UCLA faced possibly the most difficult gauntlet of teams in history during its undefeated run to the national championship. The Bruins started off by beating two ranked teams in Cal. Poly and San Diego in Regional action along with San Diego St.

Then UCLA travelled to No. 4 ranked Cal. St. Fullerton and eliminated the Titans two straight.

At the College World Series, UCLA knocked off No. 1 ranked LSU, No. 5 N.C. State, No. 2 North Carolina and then swept Mississippi State two straight in the Championship Series.

Incredibly, the Bruins’ pitching staff only allowed four runs over five CWS games against these elite teams.

That achievement is especially relevant because Savage is also the pitching coach at UCLA and one of the best in the business.

In the 67-year-history of the College World Series, only one national champion has given up fewer runs than UCLA this year as California allowed three in 1957.

The Bruins were the first team in CWS history to allow one run or less in each of the five games they played.

UCLA only surrendered one run in two games played against hard-hitting Mississippi State in the Championship Finals. The lone run is the fewest ever given up by a team in the Finals.

UCLA’s pitchers only allowed 14 runs in 10 games during Regional, Super Regional and College World Series games.

The core of every Savage team has been the remarkable pitching staffs he has molded.

The top three starters on the 2013 staff included Adam Plutko (10-3, 2.25 ERA), Nick Vander Tuig (14-4, 2.16 ERA) and Grant Watson (9-3, 3.01 ERA).

The bullpen was incredible with All-American closer David Berg (NCAA record 24 saves in 51 appearances, 0.92 ERA, 78 strikeouts, 11 walks), James Kaprielian (34 appearances, 1.55 ERA in 40 2/3 innings), and Zack Weiss (43 appearances, 2.25 ERA in 40 innings), among others.

Pitchers posted a 2.55 ERA and struck out 457 batters with only 163 walks.

The staff, along with catcher Shane Zeile, only allowed 42 stolen bases in 64 attempts over 66 games and just one stolen base at the College World Series.

UCLA’s team ERA the last four years has been remarkable thanks to the tireless work of Savage.

  • 2010 (3.00 ERA).
  • 2011 (2.44 ERA).
  • 2012 (3.13 ERA).
  • 2013 (2.55 ERA).

Never in the history of UCLA baseball has the pitching been so good for so long, and that is a direct reflection of Savage who teaches every aspect of pitching to his hurlers, including the vital mental and emotional side.

Over his nine years, Savage has produced some of the nation’s top drafted pitchers, including Gerrit Cole (first overall pick in 2011 Draft by Pirates), Trevor Bauer (third overall pick in 2011 draft by Diamondbacks), David Huff (first round supplemental pick in 2006 by the Indians) and Rob Rasmussen (second round pick in 2010 by the Marlins), just to name a few.

Savage has guided the Bruins to the post-season in seven of the last eight seasons

He became UCLA’s first head baseball coach to lead the Bruins to the finals of the College World Series in 2010, guiding UCLA to a 51-17 record that year in a second place national finish to South Carolina.

Savage has also led the Bruins to their third College World Series appearance in four years and guided the Bruins to a top three Pac-12 Conference finish in each of the last eight seasons, the only Pac-12 team to do so.

UCLA has had 65 players drafted by professional baseball since Savage came on the scene

Previous Collegiate Baseball National Coaches of The Year include:

• 2012: Andy Lopez, Arizona
• 2011: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
• 2010: Ray Tanner, South Carolina
• 2009: Paul Mainieri, Louisiana St.
• 2008: Mike Batesole, Fresno St.
• 2007: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2006: Pat Casey, Oregon St.
• 2005: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2004: George Horton, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 2003: Wayne Graham, Rice
• 2002: Augie Garrido, Texas
• 2001: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 2000: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1999: Jim Morris, Miami (Fla.)
• 1998: Mike Gillespie, Southern Calif.
aaaaaaMike Batesole, Cal. St. Northridge
• 1997: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1996: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.,
aaaaaaAndy Lopez, Florida
• 1995: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1994: Larry Cochell, Oklahoma
• 1993: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1992: Andy Lopez, Pepperdine
• 1991: Skip Bertman, Louisiana St.
• 1990: Steve Webber, Georgia
• 1989: Dave Snow, Long Beach St.
• 1988: Larry Cochell, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1987: Mark Marquess, Stanford
• 1986: Jerry Kindall, Arizona
• 1985: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1984: Augie Garrido, Cal. St. Fullerton
• 1983: Cliff Gustafson, Texas
• 1982: Ron Fraser, Miami (Fla.)
• 1981: Jim Brock, Arizona St.
• 1980: Jerry Kindall, Arizona

UCLA, Mississippi St. Seek First National Title

UCLA, Mississippi St. Seek First National Title

UCLA's David Berg Has 23 Saves, 0.96 ERAHistory will be made when UCLA and Mississippi St. square off in the best of three championship series at the 67th College World Series.

Both teams will be gunning for their first national baseball championship.

Heading into the championship series, UCLA has won nine in a row. The Bruins finished third in the Pac-12 this season with a 21-9 conference record behind Oregon St. and Oregon.

Mississippi St. finished fifth in the SEC regular season with a 16-14 record and caught fire in the NCAA tournament by winning eight of its last nine games.

Ball clubs from these two powerhouse conferences have won seven of the last eight CWS titles. Overall, current Pac-12 teams have won 27 national baseball championships.

SEC teams have won nine College World Series The UCLA-Mississippi St. championship series matchup will be the fifth time in CWS history that the Pac-12 and SEC have squared off in the finals (other years being 1977, 2000, 2010, 2012). It is the sixth straight year an SEC team has made it to the CWS final.

Both teams rolled through their 4-team brackets with 3-0 records and feature All-American closers in David Berg of UCLA (23 saves, 7-0, 0.96 ERA) and Jonathan Holder of Mississippi St. (21 saves, 1.24 ERA).

Here is a quick look at both teams:

UCLA: The Bruins’ pitching and defense rank No. 1 in the College World Series. UCLA has given up only three runs in three games(1.00 ERA) as the pitching staff has struck out 18 batters with six walks and only allowed 17 hits in 27 innings. On defense, the Bruins have only committed one error in three games for a .991 fielding percentage and turned two double plays while not allowing a stolen base. On offense, UCLA ranks dead last at the College World Series with a .182 batting average after three games. But the team has been resourceful in scoring eight runs on 16 hits. When batters do get on base, they are usually sacrifice bunted into scoring position. And a timely hit brings those runners home. UCLA beat LSU 2-1, N.C. State 2-1 and North Carolina 4-1 in their bracket to advance to the championship series.

Mississippi State's Jonathan Holder Has 21 Saves, 1.24 ERAMississippi State: The Bulldogs lead all College World Series teams with a .297 batting average after three games with five doubles, one home run and 14 runs scored. The pitching staff has a 2.33 ERA after three games and only allowed seven earned runs. But the bullpen has been special as it has only allowed two runs in 14 1/3 innings. The defense has committed three errors in three games with four double plays and only allowed one stolen base. Mississippi St. came from behind to win its first two games of the College World Series in its bracket (5-4 over Oregon St., 5-4 over Indiana) but never trailed in a 4-1 win over Oregon St.

Power Outage At College World Series

Power Outage At College World Series

Offenses sputter at College World SeriesBy LOU PAVLOVICH
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
© 2013 Collegiate Baseball

OMAHA, Neb. — A staggering downturn in offense has taken place during the past two College World Series because of the BBCOR specification bats which have been required since the 2011 season.

The lowest amount of home runs in 38 years were hit the last two championships. In addition, batting averages have plummeted as well as runs scored which also are the lowest in 38 years.

During the 2011 College World Series over 14 games, only 9 home runs were hit as the eight teams batted .239 with 101 runs scored (average 3.6 runs per team per game).

The 2012 CWS offensive numbers were just as anemic.

Only 10 home runs were hit in 15 games while the batting average was .234 and only 107 runs were scored (3.5 runs per team per game).

The numbers the last two years closely mirror the wood bat era in college baseball which took place up to the 1973 season.

Aluminum bats first started being used in 1974. Over time, the alloys were refined to the point that the balance of the game shifted.

With thinner and thinner bat barrel walls being manufactured, which had a dramatic trampoline effect on balls coming off bats, more and more home runs were hit.

The 1998 season featured the highest offensive numbers in NCAA Division I history as 273 teams set records for batting average (.306), scoring (7.12 runs per team per game), home runs (1.06 per game) and earned run average (6.12 per team).

The College World Series that year featured a home run derby of sorts as an all-time record 62 home runs were hit over 14 games.

In all, 62 homers were hit by 42 different players which was an all-time high. The batting average for all eight teams was .318 while 225 runs were scored.

The championship game saw Southern California beat Arizona St., 21-14 in what many thought was an abomination considering both pitching staffs had elite hurlers.

Nine home runs were hit by eight different players in that game, including Arizona State’s 5-foot-10, 170-pound shortstop Michael Collins who had only hit three home runs all season long heading into the CWS.

The 62 homers that year eclipsed the old standard of 48 hit during the 1995 CWS.

Louisiana St. and Southern California each hit 17 home runs to set a new record. The two teams combined for 34 home runs which would rank as the third highest total in College World Series history for one ‘Series. Only the 48 hit in 1995 and 35 belted in 1996 would rank higher.

During the 1996-1998 seasons, no team practiced “gorilla ball” better than LSU as the Tigers hit 131 homers in 1996, 188 in 1997 and 157 in 1998 for a staggering 3-year total of 476 home runs!

After the 1998 season, the NCAA Rules Committee put a stop to high performing bats and ultimately worked with physicists to utilize a new bat specification protocol (BBCOR) that would bring the game more in balance as metal bats performed closer to wood bats.

Now teams are fortunate to hit 40 home runs during an entire season.

More On This Story: Find out how college coaches feel about changing the bat or ball to infuse more offense into the game. ABCA Executive Director Dave Keilitz explains surveys he has taken from coaches, the potential issues involved in a possible change to a hotter ball and why Clemson’s Jack Leggett feels more offense is vitally needed in the college game with a hotter baseball. To obtain this issue of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe, CLICK HERE.

NBC Changes World Series Format

NBC Changes World Series Format

NBC 2013 World Series LogoWICHITA, Kan. — The National Baseball Congress and the City of Wichita have made several major changes to the NBC World Series.

The changes are effective immediate and will apply to this year’s tournament. The 79th edition of the NBC tournament will be divided into two one-week periods that will be played consecutively from July 26 through August 10.

The top two teams from the first week advance to a 16-team championship week. The championship week bracket will be comprised of the champions from the 10 most successful leagues over the tournament’s last 10 years, two at-large clubs determined by NBC officials, and the previous summer’s national champion and runner-up. Both weeks events will follow a double-elimination format.

“We considered many things when coming up with the new format,” Tournament Director Casey Walkup said in a press release. “We wanted to accommodate the many wishes of local teams, traveling teams, fans, and the tournament’s history and tradition. Our number one goal is to get the NBC World Series back on the right track. We hope this format will allow us to seek more affiliates outside of our geographic locations, which in turn, will increase the quality and presence of our great tournament.”

The compensation pool for the teams has been increased from $62,200 to $65,300, including a $1,000 raise for both the national champion and runner-up. Additionally, the two teams advancing to Championship Week from the first week will earn $5,000 each.

Also ticket prices for all sessions will be lowered and specific nights will be “Buy-Out” Nights providing fans free general admission vouchers during both weeks of the new format.

John Scolinos Taught With Amazing Passion

John Scolinos Taught With Amazing Passion

John ScolinosBy LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball
© 2013 Collegiate Baseball

CLAREMONT, Calif. — I really miss John Scolinos.

He was possibly the greatest human being ever involved in college baseball and passed away at the age of 91 in 2009. 

He led Cal Poly Pomona to three national championships (1976, 1980 and 1983) in 30 years and retired in 1991 as the winningest coach in NCAA Division II history.

Scolinos was named NCAA Division II Coach of the Century by Collegiate Baseball for not only his coaching ability but the influence he had on thousands of baseball coaches across the nation and athletes who played for him.

Prior to becoming Pomona’s head coach, he spent 14 seasons at Pepperdine University where his teams went 376-213. His all-time record in 44 years of coaching was 1,198-949.

Scolinos’ overall record is highly misleading since his teams always played the best teams in Southern California and Arizona, including all the top NCAA Division I teams.

This giant in the profession influenced more coaches than possibly any skipper has in the history of the game with the way he broke down the game during clinic sessions — often in front of standing room only crowds at American Baseball Coaches Association conventions with audiences approaching 4,000.

And after almost every presentation, he would be given a standing ovation from the crowd.

Here are some of those priceless lessons coaches learned from Scolinos through the years that Collegiate Baseball has collected.

“On days when nothing goes right, I call them ‘jock games,’ ” said Scolinos.

“That’s when all the defense does is throw their jocks out there, the hitters get faked out of their jocks, and the pitchers get their jocks knocked off.

“If a team gets in a jock contest, they don’t have a chance.”

About the type of ball players there are in the game:

“There are a lot of puppy dogs and hot dogs with a few bull dogs scattered among the group. We want the bulldogs.”

Possibly the greatest moment I have of Coach Scolinos was as at the 1990 American Baseball Coaches Association Convention in New Orleans where he gave a clinic in front of thousands of coaches discussing the finer points of hitting. He sternly told coaches in attendance they should never allow players to have their heads in their jocks.

To demonstrate the point, he quickly pulled a jock strap over his forehead. Every coach in attendance howled with laughter. But Coach Scolinos made his point.

This legendary skipper has always been a fascinating person to study at baseball clinics. Most coaches over the age of 50 have a set system for teaching all aspects of baseball and rarely change. But every clinic I ever saw Coach Scolinos at, he was always sitting in the first row gleaning information from hundreds of clinicians over the years. Even at the age of 72 during the 1990 convention in New Orleans, he was learning from others in the game.

Years ago, I interviewed former Cal. Poly Pomona assistant coach Steve Osaki who explained in detail Scolinos’ other legendary clinic sessions.

“At clinics, he was well known for giving his talk on handshakes to demonstrate fielding mistakes,” said Osaki.

“The first one was the halitosis handshake. Coach Scolinos and another coach would each shake hands but turn their heads away to demonstrate how a fielder turns his head away from the ball. The next one was the political handshake. Coach Scolinos would walk up to another coach on stage and extend his hand.

“Just prior to a handshake taking place between the two, Coach Scolinos would slip his hand back and flip his glove.

“The third demonstration was the mafia handshake. Two people were shoulder to shoulder embracing each other in a handshake as Coach Scolinos says, ‘Let’s make a deal.’

“Then comes the Japanese handshake. Two people walk up and bow to each other signifying the player who lets the ball roll through his legs.

“The final one was the best way to field called the American handshake. You look your opponent right in the eye with arms not locked and shake.”

To read more about the amazing John Scolinos, purchase the May 17, 2013 issue of Collegiate Baseball by clicking here. A detailed rundown on his favorite clinic moments are explained.

Hanson Explains How To Conquer Slumps

Hanson Explains How To Conquer Slumps

Editor/Collegiate Baseball
© 2013 Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a baseball player is being in a prolonged slump as a hitter or completely lose command of pitches as a hurler which is commonly called the yips.

Both conditions cause embarrassment for the athlete because he can’t perform at the level he is accustomed to and endures many sleepless nights and anxiety as he prepares for his next outing.

The affliction is all consuming and a nightmare which doesn’t usually go away unless professional help is obtained.

Few coaches really know what to do to tackle this horrible condition that has derailed too many careers in baseball.

After studying the athlete’s hitting or pitching mechanics, giving them continual positive reinforcement and exhausting every common sense approach to bring these players back to the level they once were, the coach ultimately has to move on and bench these athletes.

Dr. Tom Hanson, co-author of Heads Up Baseball with Ken Ravizza, came out with a book called Play Big which explains a tapping technique which helps many athletes bounce back.

“Having the ‘Yips’ or being in a prolonged slump is a mind set,” said Hanson.

“Our mind is constantly creating programs that we call beliefs. It takes individual experiences and generalizes them into a belief so we can process information quicker. For example, we look at a house and understand that it is a house. So we don’t check to see if it is safe to walk into.

“Our mind is doing that all the time. What happens in a slump is that you have a bunch of experiences where you fail or don’t feel good. Then your mind bundles them into a belief that you can’t hit or not hitting well. Then the hitter acts on those beliefs. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“So you must break that pattern. My way of doing it is to go over each at-bat that the person hasn’t liked while using the tapping technique that my book Play Big discusses in detail. And it actually changes the memory of what happened for the batter. It seems a little far fetched, but this is how the technique works.

“For example, I just worked with a player the other day. He was really struggling, and we went through each at-bat that he didn’t like. And using the tapping technique that I teach, we went through and changed him. Then he hung up the phone feeling like a million bucks.”

Tapping Explained
For those who aren’t aware of what the tapping technique is, Hanson explains.

“You literally tap with your fingers on different spots on your body which are acupuncture points and on meridians from the Chinese medical model. Tapping is only about 20 years old and is a combination of Western and Eastern philosophies. You also have a lot of Western psychology involved.

“It has evolved from Dr. Roger Callahan. He initially worked with a person who had a water phobia. Her stomach would tighten up when she saw any type of open water. Dr. Callahan remembered that just underneath the eye is a spot on the meridian for the stomach. So he had her tap on that area for several minutes. And amazingly, she didn’t feel so queasy with her stomach.

“She felt she could go in the water, and she walked right into the water after suffering for years from this phobia. This led to the tapping technique. While you are tapping, the traumatic events from your past that has created some emotion for you is being changed by the tapping. A signal is sent to your mid-brain saying, ‘It’s OK…it’s OK.’

“As a result, the brain shifts how it remembers those traumatic experiences. The big thing is that the past is over. And the only way that it exists is in the player’s mind and how the player’s mind is representing it. So if we can go into how his mind is representing his past failures, then he can free himself to hit or pitch with the freedom we want.”

To read more about how to solve the yips and prolonged slumps, you can purchase the May 17, 2013 issue of Collegiate Baseball by clicking here. Tom Hanson goes into detail about how his techniques can reach struggling baseball players.