Collegiate Baseball Newspaper http://baseballnews.com Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:35:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.15 Iowa’s Impressive Coronavirus Battle Plan http://baseballnews.com/iowas-impressive-coronavirus-battle-plan/ http://baseballnews.com/iowas-impressive-coronavirus-battle-plan/#respond Tue, 22 Sep 2020 16:32:15 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14919 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball BOONE, Iowa. — Iowa was the only state that saw high school baseball played for an entire season in 2020. Every other state shut down high school baseball because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The protocol the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) utilized for players and coaches is filled […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

BOONE, Iowa. — Iowa was the only state that saw high school baseball played for an entire season in 2020. Every other state shut down high school baseball because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protocol the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) utilized for players and coaches is filled with useful rules for every baseball playing state.

Only a small number of high school baseball players tested positive for COVID-19 during the past summer in Iowa despite thousands of games being played.

The exact number of players who tested positive is not known, but only 22 teams were asked to stop playing for a period of time. That factors in varsity, JV and freshmen teams.

There were no players or coaches hospitalized. Nobody was put on a ventilator, and no deaths took place to coaches or players, according to Todd Tharp, assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

He and Jared Chizek of the IHSAA oversaw the protocol plan through the June 15—Aug. 1 season.

Tharp said there are approximately 300 schools in Iowa that play high school baseball, and the teams average 15-20 players per squad. There were approximately 6,000 players and 900 coaches who were being protected with these protocols for every game during the season and playoffs.

“We didn’t have much time to put a protocol together,” said Tharp.

“Initially high school baseball in Iowa was suspended for two months because of COVID-19 concerns. Then on May 20, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that summer athletic seasons could be conducted in high schools.

“Typically our high schools play a 40-game season. But because of this late start, our schools were only able to play over four weeks. I believe the most any team played in the regular season was 26 games. The majority of our varsity teams were able to play 15-20 games.

“We had roughly 7-10 days to put a protocol together, and that was a difficult challenge to accomplish. We needed to have conference calls with all of our athletics directors, coaches and umpires go to through all of the new protocols and procedures to keep everyone safe.

“With practices starting June 1 and games beginning June 15, we only had a short window of time to put everything together.

“We worked with our baseball advisory committee which resulted in many suggestions. Then we bounced some things off them. We brought in a few athletics directors to talk about their aspect of things. It was a real cumulative effort between our staff at the IHSAA, coaches, ADs and umpires.”

Tharp said what made it extremely difficult to come up with a protocol is that nobody had really come up with one yet that they could tap into.

“We were starting from scratch on what to do. It was definitely uncharted territory for all of us.

“The two things we learned from this whole situation was that you can’t put teenage kids in a bubble,” laughed Tharp.

“We are social creatures. Our coaches did a wonderful job of making sure all of the protocols were adhered to. Each school put kids into pods of 6-8 kids and separated the freshmen coaches from the JV and varsity coaches as well as teams.

“There were some coaches who were working 5-6 hours a day. The varsity would practice. Then they made sure all of the equipment was sanitized. Then the JV team would arrive for a couple of hours. Then equipment would once again be sanitized again.

“After that, the freshman team may have practiced. It made for some long days. I know of one coach who went down because of dehydration. He didn’t bring enough water for himself and was there for 5-6 hours.

“Kids by and large did a great job all summer at the baseball field. But they would still go home to parents who might have been at work all day and were exposed to someone who had COVID-19. They might have gotten in a car with someone who wasn’t a family member and didn’t have a mask on.

“Or they might have went to the pool, beach or whatever.”

Problem Develops
Tharp said one situation took place the IHSAA didn’t anticipate.

“Of the 99 counties in Iowa, each department of public health did their tracing or mitigation a little bit different. There were a lot of inconsistencies between counties. One county might say that if you have one case of COVID-19, they would shut down an entire program. Other counties might be able to do a little more contact tracing. They might just hold out two or three kids.

“Dealing with 99 health departments was a big ordeal for us. That was the biggest thing our staff at the IHSAA had to deal with because their rules and regulations were not consistent.”

To read about the extensive protocols that were put in place by the Iowa H.S. Athletic Association for baseball last summer, purchase the Oct. 2, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the story explains how balls and equipment were sterilized, what the bus transportation plan was, who took temperatures, what happened when a player tested positive, hand sanitizers allowed, why nobody was allowed in dugouts during practices and why players and coaches after games never shook hands and simply gave a tip of the cap to opponents, plus much more.

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Lethal Righthanded Pickoff Plan Remarkable http://baseballnews.com/lethal-righthanded-pickoff-plan-remarkable/ http://baseballnews.com/lethal-righthanded-pickoff-plan-remarkable/#respond Mon, 21 Sep 2020 22:46:43 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14908 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball PLANO, Tex. — If you can shut down the running game of opponents, the chances of winning grow substantially. Nine years ago, Collegiate Baseball did an extensive 2-part series on the best lefthanded first base pickoff move in history devised by Mike Maack, current head coach at Prestonwood Christian […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

PLANO, Tex. — If you can shut down the running game of opponents, the chances of winning grow substantially.

Nine years ago, Collegiate Baseball did an extensive 2-part series on the best lefthanded first base pickoff move in history devised by Mike Maack, current head coach at Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Tex.)

As a southpaw pitcher in the Minnesota Twins’ minor system in the early 1980s, he picked off 90 runners at first base in three seasons prior to being injured.

Since no league records were kept at the time for actual pickoffs by pitchers, it is not known if this was an all-time record or not by a professional pitcher.

His highest pickoff total in any one game was five during a professional game and five in another contest when he pitched for Tulane during a contest against Florida State.

Maack was previously the pitching coach at the University of Central Florida as his pitchers picked off an NCAA record 287 over five seasons at first base. That is over 50 first base pickoffs a year.

The sad fact is that very little information is ever presented on what righthanded pitchers can do to pick off runners at first base.

For the first time ever, Collegiate Baseball has compiled an in-depth plan to shut down running games by righthanded pitchers courtesy of Mike Maack.

He will go into detail about all aspects of making righthanders weapons in holding runners at first and picking them off instead of being easy gateways for stolen bases.

“We have shut down the running game of opponents with our lefthanders as well as our righthanders,” said Maack.

“Obviously, it is important to have a catcher with a good arm behind the plate as well who will make opponents think twice about stealing.

“The righthander’s goal isn’t necessarily to pick off a runner. His mission is to shut down the running game.

“The bottom line is that righthanders must be willing to work on their pickoff moves every day in practice with eight specific techniques.

“As far as coaching, all you need to devote is 10 minutes a day in practice so they keep refining their moves as they get quicker on moves as the timing between pitchers and infielders becomes sharper.

“For righthanded pitchers, you want runners at first base to extend their lead. This is so different than lefthanded pitchers trying to set runners up. The lefty is trying to get the runner to be at a distance he is comfortable with so the runner doesn’t believe he can be picked off.

“The righthander has to be patient enough that he can make the runner believe he can take one more step. Then the runner gets himself in that danger zone.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Oct. 2, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. Mike Maack explains the 8 pickoff moves that are essential to picking off runners at first base. He also delves into moves that will pick runners at second and third.

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Miami Lands Top-Ranked Recruiting Class http://baseballnews.com/miami-lands-top-ranked-recruiting-class/ http://baseballnews.com/miami-lands-top-ranked-recruiting-class/#respond Fri, 18 Sep 2020 11:00:06 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14884 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball TUCSON, Ariz. — For the first time in 27 years, Miami (Fla.) has been crowned the national recruiting champion by Collegiate Baseball. It marks the Hurricanes’ fourth national recruiting title by Collegiate Baseball with other top-ranked classes in 1993, 1991 and 1988. It is the first time in 17 […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

TUCSON, Ariz. — For the first time in 27 years, Miami (Fla.) has been crowned the national recruiting champion by Collegiate Baseball.

It marks the Hurricanes’ fourth national recruiting title by Collegiate Baseball with other top-ranked classes in 1993, 1991 and 1988.

It is the first time in 17 years that a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference has landed the top class.

In 15 of the last 20 years, a team from the Southeastern Conference has won top honors. Thirteen SEC teams are ranked in the top 40 this year.

It is the 38th straight year Collegiate Baseball has evaluated NCAA Division I recruiting classes. Athletes who initially signed letters of intent with a school but then signed a pro contract after being drafted do not count in the overall evaluation.

Only athletes who came to school this fall are factored in.

Miami landed a star-studded class that includes 23 newcomers (15 freshmen, 6 junior college transfers and two 4-year transfers).

“This is a great class,” said Hurricane Recruiting Coordinator Noberto Lopez.

“We had a lot of top end players come to campus and join the program like RHP Victor Mederos (Westminster Christian H.S., Miami, FL), RHP Alejandro Rosario (Miami Christian H.S., Miami, FL), SS Yohandy Morales (Braddock H.S., Miami, FL), C Carlos Perez (Florida Christian H.S., Miami, FL), RHP Jake Smith (State College of Florida), 1B/OF C.J. Kayfus (Palm Beach Central H.S., Wellington, FL), OF Chad Born (Orange Lutheran H.S., CA), RHP/DH Ben Wanger (grad transfer from Univ. of Southern California) and LHP/OF Mike Rosario (St. Johns River State College).

“We feel we brought in an elite class this year that adds several outstanding pitchers and hitters to our program both from high schools and junior colleges as well as two grad transfers who can be key contributors.”

Mederos, Alejandro Rosario, Morales earned high school All-American honors and are high profile pro prospects. They could be high draft picks in the 2023 MLB Draft if they continue to progress.

“We got some guys on campus who are very, very high prospects,” said Miami Head Coach Gino DiMare.

“I mean extremely high prospects who in a few years could be top 10 picks in the draft or top half of the first round.

“That’s saying something about the kind of players you’ve got coming in, and we have a few of those guys. Along with those elite prospects, we got a lot of other very good players who we feel can be impact guys for us.

Wanger, a graduate transfer from the University of Southern California, was a second team All-American by Collegiate Baseball last season. In a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, he hit .410 with 4 doubles and 8 RBI. He also had 3 saves with 8 strikeouts and posted a 0.00 ERA.

Other quality players the Hurricanes landed include:

  • OF C.J. Kayfus (Palm Beach Central H.S., Wellington, FL).
  • C Carlos Perez (Florida Christian H.S., Miami, FL).
  • RHP Nick Regalado (Columbus H.S., Miami, FL).
  • RHP Nate Thomas (St. Thomas Aquinas H.S., Fort Lauderdale, FL).

Collegiate Baseball’s Top 40 Recruiting Classes

  1. Miami (Fla.)                                        
  2. Vanderbilt
  3. Louisiana St.
  4. Arizona
  5. Florida
  6. UCLA                                                               
  7. Texas
  8. South Carolina
  9. Arkansas
  10. Arizona St.
  11. Mississippi St.
  12. Florida St.
  13. Texas Christian
  14. Texas Tech.
  15. Georgia Tech.
  16. Georgia
  17. North Carolina
  18. Mississippi
  19. Auburn
  20. Virginia
  21. Louisville
  22. Oklahoma
  23. Oklahoma St.
  24. Houston
  25. Tennessee
  26. Stanford
  27. Southern California
  28. Clemson
  29. Washington St.
  30. Duke
  31. Florida International
  32. Wake Forest
  33. Missouri
  34. San Diego
  35. East Carolina
  36. Michigan
  37. Kentucky
  38. Texas A&M
  39. Oregon
  40. N.C. State

Other Top Recruiting Classes: Oregon St., San Diego St., Baylor, Washington, U.C. Santa Barbara, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa, West Virginia, Coastal Carolina, Alabama, Brigham Young, Tulane, Nevada, Long Beach St., Cal. St. Fullerton, Dallas Baptist, U.C. Irvine, South Alabama, Hawaii, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Nebraska, Wichita St., Grand Canyon, Cal Poly, Illinois, Maryland, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Charlotte, Florida Gulf Coast, Cal. St. Northridge, Stony Brook, Virginia Tech., Southern Mississippi, Louisiana-Lafayette, Pepperdine, Fresno St., Florida Atlantic, Kent St., Nevada-Las Vegas, Indiana, Rice, Ohio St., Michigan St., Troy, Winthrop, Ball St., Central Michigan, Kansas, Central Florida, Sam Houston St., Creighton, California, Bradley, Stetson, Radford, South Florida, New Mexico, Western Kentucky, North Dakota St., Dayton, Butler, Louisiana Tech., Oral Roberts, Rutgers, Tennessee Tech., Utah, Davidson, Northern Kentucky, Samford, Gardner-Webb, Boston College.

To read more about the top 40 NCAA Division I recruiting classes that came to school this fall, purchase the Oct. 2, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.

 

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Cause Bad Nightmares For Your Opponents http://baseballnews.com/cause-nightmares-for-your-opponents/ http://baseballnews.com/cause-nightmares-for-your-opponents/#respond Mon, 07 Sep 2020 17:27:23 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14860 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball STILLWATER, Okla. — The goal of every coach is to shut down the opponent’s offense so no runs score. Rob Walton, one of the elite pitching coaches in college baseball at Oklahoma State, has made this subject his life’s work. He pitched at Oklahoma State in the mid-1980s and […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

STILLWATER, Okla. — The goal of every coach is to shut down the opponent’s offense so no runs score.

Rob Walton, one of the elite pitching coaches in college baseball at Oklahoma State, has made this subject his life’s work.

He pitched at Oklahoma State in the mid-1980s and also in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization. Then he became area supervisor for the Cleveland Indians and assistant coach and head coach at Oral Roberts from 1999-2012 before becoming the pitching coach at Oklahoma State for the past eight years.

At every step, he has studied the game as few have to find out how to stop runs from scoring.

His plan of action is intriguing.

“Pitchers not only have to slow down the running game of opponents by keeping runners close to bases and picking them off. But your infielders and outfielders must limit runners to one base at a time.

“Whether the third base coach makes the decision to hold a runner or send him home will be dictated on when the defender in the outfield is touching the ball and where he is. With good scouting information, our infielders can catch more ground balls hit up the middle and in the holes. Then we are more likely to have the third base coach stop the runner at third instead of sending him home.

“One year when I was at Oral Roberts, we had 16 more assists than the year before, and our ERA dropped 1.5 runs. However, the pitching numbers as far as strikeout to walk ratio and hits to innings pitched were virtually identical to the year before.

“Another important factor is the slide step in our system. We use it with a runner on first and also with man on second so they can’t get a big secondary lead. We also slide step with runners on third in case the batter wants to safety squeeze. We are trying to create the longest run possible for their offense.

“If we can create the longest run for a base runner and can close distance from our fielders, we are forcing our opponents to go one base at a time except for obvious extra base hits.

“We also play ‘do or die’ outfield. The slide step for pitchers is incredibly important in our system. With our pick moves, runners are cautious. Many runners at first base are in that 10-11 foot lead area instead of 12 foot. With a slide step by our pitchers, they aren’t really expanding leads.

“It then allows us to have more double plays. On base hits, runners at first trying to go to third and are getting thrown out left and right.

“The second thing that happens is that runners from second base can’t score on a base hit with our outfield positioning. They usually stop at third. We will either throw them out at home or the third base coach will stop them because the outfielder is too close to the plate.

“By slide stepping and playing fast in the outfield, it completely changed our dynamic. Our pitchers really bought into it because they saw runners stop at third often. Then they would strike out the next guy, and the inning was over. They should have given up a run, and they didn’t.”

To read more of this article, purchase the Sept. 4, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE. 

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Baseball Coaching Legend Mike Gillespie Dies http://baseballnews.com/baseball-coaching-legend-mike-gillespie-dies/ http://baseballnews.com/baseball-coaching-legend-mike-gillespie-dies/#respond Wed, 29 Jul 2020 21:45:16 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14827 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball IRVINE, Calif. — Mike Gillespie, one of the most creative and bold baseball coaches in history, died at the age of 80 on July 29. He coached on the NCAA Division I level for 31 years with an overall 1,156-720-2 record with stops at the University of Southern California […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

IRVINE, Calif. — Mike Gillespie, one of the most creative and bold baseball coaches in history, died at the age of 80 on July 29.

He coached on the NCAA Division I level for 31 years with an overall 1,156-720-2 record with stops at the University of Southern California (20 years) and his final 11 years as the skipper at U.C. Irvine.

Counting his 16 years as a junior college coach, he led teams to 1,588 wins over 47 years.

Of the 50 or so times his teams have attempted to steal home, his players were successful every time but twice.

The most famous steal of home came during the championship game of the 1998 College World Series.

Clinging to an 11-8 lead in the top of the seventh against Arizona State, Gillespie called a steal of home with the bases loaded and two outs which was successful. USC went on to win the national title, 21-14.

Gillespie’s ball clubs have played 4-man outfields and 5-man infields.

Possibly his most unique use of an extra infielder was when his College of The Canyons ball club was playing Jerry Weinstein’s Sacramento City College ball club years ago.

One of Weinstein’s players had bunted for 30 base hits that season all along the third base line.

So Gillespie did the unthinkable. He pulled an outfielder and placed him 15 feet from home plate near the third base line to take away the bunt from this young man. And the strategy worked.

He was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

“Mike was a legendary man and coach,” said UCLA Head Coach John Savage.

“He just retired after the 2018 season at U.C. Irvine, and it is tragic that he passed so soon. Several months ago, he came down with a respiratory illness and never really recovered.

“People respected him for what he stood for as he helped thousands of people in the game over his long career. He made everyone feel important who played or coached with him. He had such an impact as a communicator and teacher and was a great role model. He will go down as one of the greatest college coaches baseball has ever seen.

“He had such an unbelievable presence whether you played for him or were in the opposing dugout. Everyone knew who Mike Gillespie was.”

Gillespie is one of only two men to both play for and coach an NCAA-championship baseball team. He was the leftfielder for USC’s 1961 national-championship squad and coached the Trojans to the program’s 12th title in 1998. 

Prior to being the skipper at USC, Gillespie coached at the College of The Canyons where he built the program from scratch.

In 16 seasons, Gillespie compiled a 418-167 record and won 11 Mountain Valley Conference championships, including six consecutive from 1981-86.

He captured three state titles and finished as the California runner-up twice.

His teams finished with 20 or more wins in 13 years of his tenure, posting 30-plus wins six times.

Gillespie’s final squad won 41 games in 1986, the most-ever by a California community college at that time.

In 2018, he was asked what he learned during his amazing college head coaching journey.

“It really has been a great life being a baseball coach,” said Gillespie.

“But I must plead guilty in being a great copycat. I can’t possibly mention every person who touched my life from a coaching standpoint. There have been a number of coaches I have learned from whether it be a coach on the other side of the field, a coach at a clinic or a coaching mentor.

“I would like to single out a few. The first is Wally Kincaid, Hall of Fame coach at Cerritos for many years.”

His teams won six California Community College titles, more than any other coach in California history.

Even more amazing is that his ball clubs produced an incredible 60-game win streak that spanned three seasons — the longest in baseball history.

“Other remarkable people I learned from include Jerry Weinstein (Sacramento City College/Colorado Rockies), Mark Marquess (Stanford), Jerry Kindall (Arizona), John Savage (UCLA). Plus, there are many, many others.”

Magic Of Wally Kincaid
Gillespie said he has acquired a mountain of knowledge through his years in the game.

But the one bit of advice that has stood the test of time was from Cerritos’ Kincaid.

“I watched this man closely through the years and picked up many things. But the one phrase which was so important to me and rang true was ‘Throw strikes, play catch and put the ball in play.’ That is the game stated in simple terms. But it is everything you need to do in a game for success.

“It really does describe the game if it is done right. I don’t know when I first heard him say that. But it has been at least 40 years ago.

“Another thing I picked up from coach Kincaid was that his pitchers were never afraid to throw 3-2 sliders or 3-2 changeups. It was completely foreign to me. While they were doing it, they made our hitters look foolish.

“I thought it would be a great idea to copy, but throwing a slider or changeup in a 3-2 count is extremely difficult for pitchers. If you can do that as a pitcher, it allows more success.

“His teams were so skilled and so disciplined as they played with such confidence. His teams never said anything. For me, he was the first coach to set the standard.”

Gillespie said that one key thing he learned in his career is that every player on the team should be taught as many skills as possible.

“I like home runs and would love it if every one of my players had power. But there comes a time in most games that you have a chance to win where a bunt is appropriate or hit and run is the right move or a stolen base and possibly a squeeze bunt.

“It just makes sense to me that every player’s skills are enhanced by learning all aspects of the game. Then when a situation comes up in a game, every player has a fighting chance to exploit it.”

Gillespie had some of the top closers in college baseball history over the years.

He rolled out Jack Krawczyk at USC in 1998 and Sam Moore at UC Irvine who each had 23 saves to rank tied for second in NCAA Div. I history, plus many more.

Krawczyk Was The Best
“Possibly the most amazing closer we had was Jack Krawczyk. He was a non-scholarship player who recruited us. We lucked into that deal. He didn’t pitch much as a freshman. He was very tall at 6-foot-5, and his best fastball at that time was about 85 mph.

“But he had this Bugs Bunny changeup that few people could hit. And he was absolutely fearless. He was never afraid and had that mentality that dared hitters to try and hit his pitches.

“Most couldn’t as attested to his 23 saves during the 1998 season which still is tied for second in NCAA Division I history. His changeup was probably 75 mph or slightly slower. But you could not detect anything different in his motion from his fastball and changeup. To the batter, they both looked identical.

“There was enough on his fastball that you couldn’t ignore it. When you talk about relievers, he was the best we had.

“There is a mindset that the successful closer possesses that I don’t think you can teach. What is hard to identify are pitchers with this mentality who can thrive in difficult situations late in games. We are talking about the 1-run or 2-run lead or inheriting runners.

“You must have the toughness to deal with situations like this. Some have it and most don’t.

“The other thing is being yourself as a pitcher. If you throw 88 mph, then throw your fastball at that velocity. Don’t try to throw it 94 mph. You see so many pitchers try to muscle up and fail in the process.

“If you have a great changeup, believe in it, dot it where you want it to go and don’t be afraid. It’s easy to say and not so easy to do.

“Wherever I have been, I don’t remember recruiting a pitcher with the idea of using him as our closer. We just sort pitchers out on the staff and see who is capable of doing it.”

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NCAA Baseball Rules Proposed For 2020-21 http://baseballnews.com/new-ncaa-baseball-rules-proposed-for-2020-21/ http://baseballnews.com/new-ncaa-baseball-rules-proposed-for-2020-21/#respond Fri, 24 Jul 2020 22:51:48 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14821 By GREG JOHNSON National Collegiate Athletic Assn. INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee recommended rules to clarify when pitchers are pitching out of a windup or stretch position. Committee members, who met by video conference July 21-23, felt this interpretation needs to be made to help umpires, base runners and coaches discern when […]

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee recommended rules to clarify when pitchers are pitching out of a windup or stretch position.

Committee members, who met by video conference July 21-23, felt this interpretation needs to be made to help umpires, base runners and coaches discern when a pitcher is in a windup or stretch due to the unique starting points on the mound that have entered the game in recent years.

If approved, it would become effective for the 2020-21 academic year.

Under the proposal, the pitcher would be in the windup when facing the batter while his pivot foot is in contact with the pitcher’s plate and the other foot is free.

A pitcher would be considered in the set/stretch position when he stands facing the batter with his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and his other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate while holding the ball in both hands in front of his body and coming to a complete stop.

With a runner or runners on base, a pitcher would be presumed to be pitching from the stretch if he stands with his pivot foot in contact with and parallel to the pitcher’s plate and his other foot in front of the pitcher’s plate.

However, in the scenario above, a pitcher could notify the home plate umpire that he is pitching out of a windup position before the beginning of an at-bat. The pitcher would be allowed to inform the umpire he is changing to pitch out of a windup during an at-bat when:

  • A substitution is made by the offensive team.
  • One or more base runners advance during the at-bat.

All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is tentatively scheduled to discuss baseball recommendations Sept. 9.

Concussion Evaluations

The committee proposed allowing any player who is removed for a concussion evaluation to return to the game if cleared by medical personnel.

The committee supported the proposal, which came from the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

The player undergoing concussion evaluation, whether a starter or a substitute, could be replaced by any eligible player who has not participated in the game.

If the injured player is cleared to resume participation, he may resume his lineup spot only. A player may reenter the game only one time. The temporary replacement player may again participate in the game as a substitute in the same lineup spot only.

If a temporary replacement player is substituted for (pinch runner, pinch hitter or defensive substitution), that player would not be allowed to reenter the game.

If a temporary replacement player is removed for a concussion evaluation, that player may reenter only in that position in the lineup.

If a team has no remaining eligible players, a starter or substitute who has previously participated in the game could replace the injured player.

Coaches Challenges

The committee recommended that if a coach initiates a video-review challenge and the original call is overturned, the coach would keep the challenge. Currently, coaches are allowed only two video-review challenges, regardless of whether the original call is overturned.

Designated Hitter

If approved, the NCAA designated hitter rule would be simplified and more closely resemble the rule used in professional baseball. A starting pitcher could be co-listed in the lineup as the designated hitter.

Visual Bat Inspection

Since the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel delayed implementation of regular-season bat barrel compression testing in Divisions II and III due to budget constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee clarified visual bat inspection protocols.

They are:

  • Ensure the bat model appears on the approved bat list.
  • Ensure the bat model does not appear on the NCAA noncompliant bat list.
  • Ensure the bat does not have flat spots.
  • Ensure the bat does not have an audible rattle.
  • Ensure the bat does not have cracks, attachments, or a loose knob or end caps.

Penalty For Leaving Dugout, Bullpen During An Altercation 

Committee members recommended that any team personnel, besides the coaching staff, who leave the dugout or bullpen and enter the field of play during an altercation or fight would be ejected and have to serve a one-game suspension.

The rationale for the proposal is to prevent further escalations or unsportsmanlike conduct.

Foreign Substance

The committee proposed that any pitcher or defensive player caught putting a foreign substance on the ball would be ejected immediately. Currently, a player caught adding a foreign substance is warned first and ejected on any subsequent violations.

Experimental technology rule

Committee members approved extending the current experimental rule that allows for one-way communication from the dugout to the field to signal in pitches. Teams may be approved to use communication devices such as a wrist device, in-ear device or digital display board in or on top of the dugout.

Conferences must request to implement the experimental rule through the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.

Since the 2020 season was canceled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, committee members faced a unique task for this year’s rules meeting.

“The committee had to factor the current climate into some of the decisions that were made,” said Fritz Hamburg, rules committee chair and coach at Saint Joseph’s. “We had some very lengthy discussions on several proposals to ensure that we felt comfortable with our decisions.”

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COVID-19 Protocol To Keep Baseball Safe http://baseballnews.com/covid-19-protocol-to-keep-baseball-safe/ http://baseballnews.com/covid-19-protocol-to-keep-baseball-safe/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 20:58:22 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14797 (EDITOR’S NOTE: As public service to all baseball coaches, athletic administrators, conferences and summer leagues, Collegiate Baseball is running this complete story to help those trying to formulate a COVID-19 protocol for practices, weight training and games). (Updated Aug. 6, 2020) By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball ATLANTA, Ga. — What should the protocol be for […]

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(EDITOR’S NOTE: As public service to all baseball coaches, athletic administrators, conferences and summer leagues, Collegiate Baseball is running this complete story to help those trying to formulate a COVID-19 protocol for practices, weight training and games).

(Updated Aug. 6, 2020)

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

ATLANTA, Ga. — What should the protocol be for baseball coaches to protect their teams from coronavirus once they come back to school this fall?

In this special report, Collegiate Baseball presents a detailed look at what health professionals recommend to minimize the risk.

As of press time, there have been over 16.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the world with 653,425 deaths, according to www.ncov2019.live/data  

Across the USA, there have been 4.3 million confirmed cases as 149,945 people have perished.

Collegiate Baseball found that with precautions in place, practices and weight training can be conducted as well as games played with minimal risk.

All of this information will also be helpful in battling the flu and other ailments as well.

Study after study vividly shows that you are safer wearing face masks, respirators or face gaiters with the coronavirus pandemic taking place.

The Cadillac of respirators is the N95 which health professionals utilize to prevent contracting coronavirus and other viral and bacterial infections.

They have been successful in managing patients with tuberculosis or highly contagious diseases such as influenza and SARS which is closely related to the coronavirus. Another key factor is having the mask fit perfectly over the nose and mouth.

While these masks work great for health professionals, doctors, nurses and dentists report that it can be difficult to breathe with them on for lengthy periods of time.

The athlete must have something more efficient for their needs since they are much more physically active than a health professional.

Realizing this, Randy Cohen, University of Arizona Associate Athletics Director for Medical Services, and Gerry Detty, owner of Pro Orthopedic Devices, Inc., teamed up to design a face gaiter that can protect athletes at Arizona from coronavirus, plus allow athletes to easily breathe. In addition, the material is ultra light.

It essentially is a tube of polyester-spandex that extends from the collarbone to the ridge of the nose.

It is double the thickness of other gaiters currently on the market.

With the thicker material, it has moisture control, and it stands up to daily use and washings. With regular face masks, they trap moisture from sweat which is a big problem for athletes. 

It was reported by the Arizona Daily Star that every Arizona athlete will get two of the gaiters when they return to campus later this summer.

Cohen realized athletes could not easily wear protective face masks for long periods of time because of the cumbersome nature of these masks which pull on the ears. Breathing easily was another vital design element.

He thought about what ultra-marathoners utilize to keep the sand out of their mouths and noses which were much thinner gaiters. So Cohen and Detty went to work to design a potential game-changing protection for athletes. After a number of modifications, the face gaiter for athletes was born.

It also is interesting to note that roofers in Arizona face 150 degree plus temperatures in the sun when working on top of houses every summer.

Many wear face gaiters to keep their skin from being severely burned. The material they use is much thinner which allows sweat to go through the material. Any breeze that comes by cools their faces off.

Sterilizing Equipment
Weight training rooms have always been a breeding ground for bacteria. For years, athletes have been encouraged to wipe down equipment with sanitizing wipes to prevent the spread of germs and especially MRSA.

This bacteria is tougher to treat than most strains or staph because it is resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

Now more than ever, baseball must embrace sterilization treatments of bats and balls that can be teeming with bacteria along with other surfaces that baseball players and coaches touch.

Dr. Herb McReynolds, retired Medical Director of Emergency Services at Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., has been a physician for 40 years.

He played baseball for 40 years, and said that certain procedures can be utilized in baseball to stem the tide of coronavirus, influenza and other germs.

“At a hospital, doctors are expected to use sanitizing gel on their hands before going into a room and then once again when they come out,” said McReynolds.

“Why not do the same on baseball fields or hitting facilities? You could have a Purell Hand Sanitizer Dispenser near the dugout or by the door of each batting cage in a hitting facility. As players come in, they are asked to sanitize their hands. Once practice is over, they can sanitize their hands as they leave.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have hitters own their bats which are never touched by other players. Every bat should be wiped down in the handle areas with Chlorox-based wipes prior to practice and after practice. Players who share bats must wipe down the handles between hitters.

“Players who are obviously sick should be sent home so they don’t spread germs.”

McReynolds said players who are at practice and coughing and sneezing could have the flu, another influenza like virus or coronavirus. A player showing such symptoms must be sent home until he receives a coronavirus test and is cleared.

“What you don’t want a player to do is cough or wipe his nose in his hand. Instead, coaches should ask players to cough or sneeze into their shirt sleeve and NOT into their hands. Many times people will turn away and cough into their hand. This causes a problem in baseball since the hand will touch baseballs that are utilized by many different players.

“If a hitter coughs or wipes his nose in his hand and grabs a bat, guess what happens? There are now germs all over the place on the bat grip. If someone else uses that bat, they will probably be infected.

“It would be an excellent idea for schools to have hand sanitizers in restrooms. Knobs of doors should be disinfected regularly since many people touch them along with faucets.

“Many viruses can live up to 24 hours on a door handle.

“One more piece of advice I would give is to get a flu shot in the fall prior to the flu season. It takes two weeks for the antibodies to work properly.”

When a coronavirus vaccine ultimately is available that is proven to be safe, athletes and coaches should have the vaccine administered to them.

To disinfect dugouts and areas which are non-corrosive, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention suggests using a diluted bleach solution (1/3 cup bleach per gallon of room temperature water). Leave the solution on the surface for at least one minute. Diluted bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.

McReynolds said sanitizing baseballs is a unique challenge.

“You obviously can’t use Clorox-based liquids or similar products on the leather because it would ruin baseballs. Hospitals have been using ultraviolet light to disinfect rooms and equipment for years. But these devices are extremely expensive.”

Gloves that defensive players use as well as hitting gloves could be sterilized with ultraviolet light as well.

The protective gear for catchers is typically shared from shin guards, chest protectors to face masks and even catcher’s gloves. Unless each catcher has his own gear, all three must be sanitized prior to different players utilizing them.

If schools work with local hospitals, there is a possibility that they would allow baseballs, gloves shared by players and catcher’s protective equipment to be sterilized with ultraviolet light on a regular basis.

Think of how many times players touch baseballs in practice or the same glove is used by multiple people.

Power Of Ultraviolet Light
Collegiate Baseball contacted Melinda Hart of Xenex Disinfection Services of San Antonio, Tex.

This company sells different machines that hospitals across the USA utilize to disinfect rooms.

“UV has been used for disinfection for decades,” said Hart.

“What makes our robots different is their use of pulsed xenon (not mercury bulbs) to create UV-C light.

“Pathogens (like the flu virus, MRSA and coronavirus) are vulnerable to UV-C light damage at different wavelengths depending on the organism.

“Xenex’s pulsed xenon lamps produce a flash of full spectrum germicidal light across the entire disinfecting spectrum delivered in millisecond pulses.

“I talked to our science team, and it would be possible to put baseballs in our LightStrike Disinfection Pod ($25,000) and disinfect them in just a couple of minutes. Our robot ($125,000) is inside the Pod that does the work.”

In hospitals, these collapsible, mobile units can be positioned anywhere without disrupting or impeding daily workflow to clean equipment such as ventilators, pressure monitors, wheelchairs, ventilators and mobile imagine machines.

Hart said that several of the hospitals that utilize their robots to clean hospital rooms include MD Anderson and the Mayo Clinic. 

Hart acknowledged the price is steep for the robot and Pod. But not having a disinfected room at a hospital can result in serious consequences for new patients being rolled into them. If they contract a dangerous bacteria that was caused by negligence, the treatment to correct the problem could be extremely expensive.

The easy solution is to kill off the germs so rooms are as close to being sterile as possible.  

There are other companies on the internet that have smaller UV-C lamps, but they don’t utilize xenon technology.

We are not aware of any baseball team that has ever utilized such machines to disinfect baseballs. The cost of these small lamps range from $800 on up.

NCAA’s Battle Plan
The NCAA recently came out with a document called Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Action Plan Considerations.

Among the recommendations:

  • Physical distancing (6 feet or more between people).
  • Utilize masks when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces. You also can use hand sanitizer.
  • Use a tissue, or the inside of your elbow, to sneeze or cough into.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
  • Stay home if you feel sick and follow the advice of your health care provider.
  • Isolation and quarantine for new infections or for high-risk exposure.

The document states that 1/3 of American deaths from coronavirus has to date occurred in nursing homes and other long-term facilities.

The coronavirus death rate among young, healthy Americans is currently similar to the most recent death rates resulting from influenza.

Asymptomatic infections have been common, especially in young, healthy Americans.

Drinking Water, Helmet Use
The use of shared water bottles by athletes should never be allowed.

Each player should bring his own bottle of water to practices and games. Or the school should supply sealed bottles of water for use.

In October of 2005, Austin Phillips of Tyler Junior College (Tex.) died suddenly of bacterial meningitis.

Phillips pitched two innings for Tyler J.C. on a Thursday evening but didn’t feel well.

He felt he was coming down with the flu. Phillips went to his girlfriend’s home the day after he pitched and felt worse. Then a short time later, he went in and out of consciousness as an ambulance was called.

A few hours later, Phillips went into a coma at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Three days later, the once vibrant and athletic baseball player passed away due to this killer disease.

It was determined that 48 people came into contact with Phillips. The health department in Tyler, Tex. ordered each of these individuals to take antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

Can you imagine the potential for disaster if several kids drank from the same water bottle Phillips used?

He isn’t the only baseball player to die of meningitis.

RHP Addie Joss of the Cleveland Bronchos died of tubercular meningitis in April 1911 at the age of 28. He collapsed on the field during spring training and died a few days later.

He had won 160 Major League games which included four 20-win seasons.

Helmets are another area of concern.

When only a few helmets are shared through a team, it is unsanitary and unsafe.

When each player dons a helmet, he adds sweat, body fluids and skin flakes in the helmet and deposits some of the parts onto his own head.

Then coaches usually dump the helmets into a duffel bag and stow the gear away in a hot, closed trunk. It’s a veritable breeding ground for mold spores which at times can be dangerous.

Plus, head lice can travel from player to player quickly if such practices are allowed. Well informed coaches never allow this to happen as each player has his own helmet.

To top it off, players end up wearing helmets that may not fit properly or are so damaged that they provide little protection.

If schools can’t afford individual helmets, it makes sense for players to purchase their own which they can use in practice and games with the same school color and decals added.

Coronavirus Issues
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus.

However, there are 149 vaccines in development. So the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Steps to protect yourself from the coronavirus include:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, cough or sneeze.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 75 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

It is important to only use hand sanitizers that utilize at least 75 percent isopropyl alcohol or 75 percent ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol).

Do not us any hand sanitizer that contains methanol (wood alcohol). The Food and Drug Administration has advised consumers not to use more than 100 hand sanitizers manufactured by Mexican companies due to the presence of methanol. The FDA discovered that several companies had illegally labeled their product to contain ethanol but tested positive for methanol contamination. Not only read the label of any hand sanitizer you purchase, but check the Food and Drug Administration FDA Recalled Hand Sanitzer List to see if the hand sanitizer has been banned. 

Consumers are also urged not to use hand sanitizers that are subpotent, meaning they have less than the required amount of ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride. The above link in red includes these recalled products among list of 115 banned hand sanitizers.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate medical treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

To help with the prevention of coronavirus, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay at home if you are sick except to receive medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick and will be around other people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. The most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include diluting household bleach (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

New World Baseball Rules
The World Baseball Softball Confederation published a set of health and operational recommendations for the safe return of baseball and softball activity.

Recommendations to mitigate the risk of coronavirus infections include:

  • Avoid sharing of competition equipment. Each player should have his own bat, helmet, glove, batting gloves, rosin bags, etc.
  • Batters shall retrieve their own bat when possible.
  • No chewing tobacco, seeds or spitting at any time.
  • Players (in particular pitchers), shall not lick their fingers.
  • Umpires shall wear virus protection masks and gloves.
  • If possible, avoid line-up exchange at home plate.
  • Avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands, high fives, fist bumps, hugging, etc.
  • Ball prep (mud rubbing) to be done by one appointed person with protective rubber gloves.
  • Different set of official balls for home and visiting teams while on defense.
  • Coaches may approach umpire keeping a minimum distance of six feet.
  • Home plate umpire shall avoid coming in contact with catcher.
  • Minimum physical distance of six feet shall always be kept in dugout.
  • Bases shall be cleaned every half inning.
  • No bat boys/girls shall be allowed.

As Collegiate Baseball went to press, Major League Baseball was on the verge of playing games again.

Several of the new rules to protect players, without repeating others in this story, include:

  • Hitters who were at the plate and runners left on base will have to go back to the dugout to get their caps, gloves and sunglasses when an inning ends rather than have someone run them out to them.
  • Spitting is prohibited, including sunflower seed shells. Smokeless tobacco is prohibited. Chewing gum is allowed.
  • Pitchers licking their fingers is prohibited. Pitchers will be permitted to carry a “wet rag” in their pocket to moisten their fingers before pitches.
  • Fighting and instigating fights are strictly prohibited and will be handled with “severe discipline.”
  • Players may not make physical contact with any other players outside of making tags and other incidental contact that might normally occur in the course of a game.

This includes high fives, fist bumps and huge, which are prohibited.

To read more in-depth articles such as this, subscribe to Collegiate Baseball by CLICKING HERE. For only $28, you receive one full year (14 issues).

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Talking Shop With Mississippi’s Mike Bianco http://baseballnews.com/talking-shop-with-mississippis-mike-bianco/ http://baseballnews.com/talking-shop-with-mississippis-mike-bianco/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 20:55:00 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14812 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball UNIVERSITY, Miss. — Mike Bianco is one of the most progressive coaches in the business. The skipper at Ole Miss was recently named Collegiate Baseball’s National Coach of The Year after leading the Rebels to a 16-1 record before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mississippi […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

UNIVERSITY, Miss. — Mike Bianco is one of the most progressive coaches in the business.

The skipper at Ole Miss was recently named Collegiate Baseball’s National Coach of The Year after leading the Rebels to a 16-1 record before the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mississippi started the season against pre-season No. 1 ranked Louisville.

After losing the first game, the Rebels won the next two and never stopped winning as they rolled off 16 straight wins before the season stopped.

It was the longest winning streak in the nation at the time of the stoppage.

Collegiate Baseball presents a special question and answer session with Bianco which delves into his system and what he has learned as a coach.

Collegiate Baseball: Your mentor was Hall of Fame Coach Skip Bertman at LSU. What did you learn from him that has allowed you to be the superb coach you are today?

Mike Bianco: I have been fortunate to not only play for but coach with arguably the greatest college baseball coach of all time in Skip Bertman. I learned so much from him. So much of what we do today at Ole Miss in 2020 is similar to when I was a catcher at LSU and when I coached there. Through technology, the game has changed. We have tried to change along with it. So many people ask me about coach Bertman’s system. One of the great things about his system was that it always evolved.

One of the biggest compliments you can give Coach Bertman is that his teams were the first to buy into strength training and look at how physical his teams were during the 1990s with all the home runs they hit. When he gave motivational talks and showed his videos, he would talk about the mental game well before it was fashionable. He is a person whose system we have tried to emulate here for the past 20 years and also be on the cutting edge of anything that will help our program. The key is being sincere about helpful new technology and not the flavor of the month.

Collegiate Baseball: What else have you found to be important to being a great coach?

Mike Bianco: Being involved with everything is important as a head coach. At the end of the day, you need to know what the hitters are doing and know what the pitchers are doing. You also need to know what is happening from a marketing and promotions’ standpoint, what the grounds’ crew is doing along with every aspect of your program. You need to know every little detail of what is happening within your program and surrounding it.

You can’t make a good program happen just by yourself. You have to surround yourself with great people. And I have been fortunate through the years to have some great assistants and others who have touched our program. The biggest thing is to understand how every part of your program functions and what you need to do for it to become better.

Collegiate Baseball: Coach Bertman was a remarkable innovator. I remember him telling his teams short motivational stories prior to every game that made his players realize that anything was possible in athletics. He also showed his players special videos prior to games that allowed his players to reach new heights of achievement.

One of his favorite stories was how London medical student Roger Banister busted through the 4-minute barrier with a time of 3:59 on May 6, 1954. Runners prior to that had been chasing the 4-minute mile since at least 1886. But it became as much a psychological barrier as a physical one. Only 46 days after Banister broke through, John Landry, an Australian runner, broke Banister’s record with a time of 3:58. Just a year later, three runners broke the 4-minute mile in a single race. Over the last half century, more than a thousand runners have conquered a barrier that had once been considered impossible to break.

Mike Bianco: We still use those stories in our program to help motivate Ole Miss players. When I was an assistant for Coach Bertman, Skip would type those stories out on his computer and then print them out. He asked me if I could organize them for him in different motivational areas. So that was one of my duties back in the mid-90s. I put them all in a notebook and put a table of contents to them. I made one book for him and one for me. I treasure the book I have, and it is in my desk today which I refer to.

Now it is much easier to find those great motivational stories that you can use for your players. I never used to be a big reader. But over the last 20 years, I have read a ton of books and discovered many more stories which I share with my players. The internet is an extremely valuable place to find stories as well. I now have my assistants make me books so there are fresh messages for the players on a routine basis. You try not to repeat stories to your players year after year. It isn’t so difficult now to find great stories. But keeping them in order is the hard part.

To read more of this question and answer session with Mike Bianco, purchase the July 10, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. He delves into more of what he learned from Skip Bertman and the remarkable high tech tools that he and his staff utilize at Ole Miss.

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San Jacinto’s Remarkable Pitching Factory http://baseballnews.com/san-jacintos-remarkable-pitching-factory/ http://baseballnews.com/san-jacintos-remarkable-pitching-factory/#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 15:59:07 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14794 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball HOUSTON, Tex. — Woody Williams is one the elite pitching coaches in all of baseball. The former 15-year Major League pitcher with Toronto, San Diego, St. Louis and Houston finished his fifth year as a volunteer assistant with San Jacinto College this season. In the past five years, 15 […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

HOUSTON, Tex. — Woody Williams is one the elite pitching coaches in all of baseball.

The former 15-year Major League pitcher with Toronto, San Diego, St. Louis and Houston finished his fifth year as a volunteer assistant with San Jacinto College this season.

In the past five years, 15 San Jacinto pitchers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Six of his pitchers were drafted in the 2019 MLB Draft alone.

Houston area baseball fans are well versed in the success of former San Jacinto pitchers Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens, but the list doesn’t end there.

Pitchers Jackson Rutledge (Washington Nationals), Luis Quinones (Toronto Blue Jays), Matt Albers (Washington Nationals), Anthony Banda (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Daniel Stumpf (Detroit Tigers) are former Gators now on Major League rosters.

Rutledge was selected by the Washington Nationals as the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft.

The next in line may be LHP Luke Little who was selected in the fourth round by the Chicago Cubs last month in the MLB Draft.

The 6-foot-8 southpaw hit 105 mph on his fastball in a bullpen session this spring and fanned 17 batters with 3 walks over 9 innings in 5 appearances with a 2.00 ERA before the season was stopped.

Mitchell Parker was picked in the fifth round by the Washington Nationals last June. He finished the 2020 season with 64 strikeouts in 30 innings and posted a 1.19 ERA.

RHP Brandon Birdsell wasn’t drafted last June but topped out at 97 mph.

Williams explains the development of each pitcher at San Jacinto.

From 92-105 MPH
When Little came to San Jacinto two years ago as a 6-foot-8 raw pitcher with plenty of potential, nobody could have seen his velocity jump from 92-105 mph.

“Luke’s success is a testament to the work he put in and the development of his physical, mental maturity and desire to great,” said Williams.

“Luke just turned 19. He was a young 17-year-old when we got him two years ago. He was the youngest kid on the team when he came to San Jac. We all get caught up on how tall he is, and we want to put the label of mental and physical maturity on that because he is so big.

“But that’s not where he was when he arrived here. When he came in, he had a hard time controlling his 6-foot-8 body for even a small amount of time. He really started to mature mentally when he realized he couldn’t go out there and see how hard he could throw every time.

“He needed to learn how he was going to sustain what he wanted to accomplish. So he started putting in the work. One thing has led to another. I know he will continue to get better because he doesn’t have a mature man body yet where he has total strength and control.

“When he first got here, he threw a lot of fastballs 90-94 mph. We gave him a chance to start his freshman year. He would start the first inning and throw 94-95 mph. The next inning he would be at 92-93 mph. The next he would be at 91 mph. By the fourth inning, he would be 89-90 mph.

“He was having a hard time keeping it all together. His fastball is now around 100 mph consistently after two years in our program. Last fall I saw him hit 101 mph twice, and he hit 105 mph in a bullpen setting in an indoor facility away from our program last spring.”

To read more of this article, purchase the July 10, 2020 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. He discusses more about how Luke Little was refined. He also explains how pitchers in his system are developed at San Jacinto College giving examples of three key pitchers on the 2020 ball club. It is a fascinating look into one of the top pitching coaches in the business.

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50 Amazing College World Series Memories http://baseballnews.com/50-amazing-college-world-series-memories/ Thu, 18 Jun 2020 20:44:59 +0000 http://baseballnews.com/?p=14723 By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR. Editor/Collegiate Baseball OMAHA, Neb. — Since there is no College World Series this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Collegiate Baseball thought it would be a good idea to remind people what a remarkable event this tournament is. So we present the 50 greatest memories in CWS history. 1. Most Dramatic […]

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By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

OMAHA, Neb. — Since there is no College World Series this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Collegiate Baseball thought it would be a good idea to remind people what a remarkable event this tournament is.

So we present the 50 greatest memories in CWS history.

1. Most Dramatic Moment To End Game: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth in the 1996 College World Series championship game, Miami (Fla.) was on the cusp of winning the national title over Louisiana St. with 1-run lead.

With one runner on, LSU’s Warren Morris stepped to the plate.

He did not play for 39 games due to a fractured hamate bone in his right wrist and only came back to the starting lineup in the South II Regional.

He had not hit a home run all season long.

With one runner on, he hit the only walk-off homer to win a College World Series in history as it barely cleared the right field wall as LSU pulled off a 9-8 win in the national title game.

2. Greatest Championship Game: Southern California and Florida State played the greatest College World Series championship game in history.

The Trojans beat the Seminoles, 2-1 in 15 innings.

To reach the title game, USC had to beat Texas in 14 innings, 8-7 two days prior.

In USC’s final two games of that Series, the Trojans navigated 29 innings of pressure packed baseball over three days to win its sixth national title.

What made the achievement even more amazing is that USC pitcher Jim Barr worked 16 innings over those three days for the Trojans.

3. Greatest Program In CWS History: Southern California has won the most national baseball titles of any NCAA Division I program with 12.

No other program has won more than six national titles, and only two have done it in LSU and Texas.

At one point, the Trojans won five consecutive championships from 1970-74.

Legendary Coach Rod Dedeaux was at the helm of USC for 11 of those championships while Mike Gillespie led the Trojans to their final title in 1998.

It is highly unlikely any other program will ever win 12 national titles.

4. Amazing Comeback: The greatest ninth inning comeback in College World Series history took place in 1973.

Minnesota held a 7-0 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth against Southern California. The Trojans scored eight runs to beat Minnesota.

Dave Winfield was pitching for the Golden Gophers on this day and held the Trojans to only a weak infield single heading into the final frame.

It should be noted Winfield struck out 15 USC batters heading into the ninth.

According to USC’s Dedeaux, the turning point actually came with Minnesota batting in the top of the ninth.

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