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Archive for February, 2011

Preparing for Florida

Greetings College Baseball Fans,

The Concordia Golden Bear baseball team has been hard at work since my last post. We have been working extensively on both our team defensive strategies (bunt defenses, first-and-third scenarios, and situational defense), as well as getting our pitchers and catchers live appearances against one another.

Inside the Concordia Dome at Sea Foam Stadium

We have been utilizing our new practice home in the Concordia Dome at Sea Foam Stadium (right) to set up a full size infield and take ground balls on the turf. Coaches have also been able to hit fungo fly balls to our outfielders in the 65 foot high dome.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we do a lot of live throwing pitchers versus hitters in our pole barn indoor facility. The pole barn has three clay mounds, and we are able to have pitchers throw to hitters to simulate game like situations.

We are starting to use this time to set up our pitching staff for our 10-day spring break trip to Orlando, Florida. During that trip we play eight games in the span of eight days. Theoretically we should use six different starting pitchers on the trip. Because of that we have started to extend out our pitchers. Our four returning weekend starters have now reached the 70 pitch plateau having thrown 5 innings worth of 15 pitches this week. We have also extended two younger pitchers to this 5×15 mark to prepare them for possible starts in Florida.

Myself, I have been extended to throw 3×15 on three occasions now. My last outing was my best session as a Concordia Golden Bear. I threw 3×15 (48 pitches in total after finishing the at-bat of the last hitter faced) for 73% strikes. I have been throwing mostly cut-fastballs (“cutters”), while also mixing in four-seam fastballs, change-ups, and curveballs. The cutter has started to develop as my primary weapon, and throwing that for strikes will be a major factor in my success this spring.

My group, which will start the season coming out of the bullpen stretched out to 3×15 to help get through the “dead arm” period that most pitchers experience as they prepare for the season. Major League pitchers go through this in spring training, so this is our version of spring training. When pitchers velocities start to go up as they get through this dead arm period we will start to do more role specific sessions. My arm seems to be getting over that dead arm period based on velocity. I had been throwing my first few sessions with my four-seam fastball at roughly 76-79mph, but in my last appearance I saw a spike up to 82mph, including my 48th pitch of the outing which was gunned at 82.

With that being the case my next few sessions will probably be more tailed to my role as a left-handed reliever with more frequent outings throwing anywhere from 3×15, 2×15, or 1×20 depending on which type of preparation our coaches want the relievers to focus on that particular day. This type of preparation should give our pitching staff the best chance to succeed early on in the season, as well as getting our hitters a jump start on seeing live pitching before they step up to the plate in a game.

Our pitching staff is looking better than ever with all of our probable starters throwing quality strikes and perfecting their pitches before we head to Florida, and our bullpen guys getting comfortable with their workloads and roles. As we start the season I expect guys to get comfortable in their roles and their arms to strengthen and to see a spike in velocity as we move into our conference series.

The season is now just three weeks away. All the guys on the team and the coaching staff are definitely getting anxious to put the uniforms on and take on another team. We start our season on March 5th in Orlando against nationally ranked West Chester (PA) University (17th nationally in the latest CB Lineup Poll). We expect tough competition in Florida, but we have high expectations and expect to be competitive on all levels this season. WCU is just the first of multiple nationally ranked teams on our schedule, including conference rivals Minnesota State-Mankato and St. Cloud University who are ranked 12th and 25th in the nation respectively.

Dan Simmons pitching in Hawaii

A shout out to my summer teammate on the Kamuela Paniolos of the Hawaiian Collegiate League, Dan Simmons who threw a complete game for UC San Diego (#1 ranked by CB Lineup) in their opening weekend sweep of Western Oregon, and also my summer roommate in Hawaii, Josh Hinkle of Florida Tech (#22) who hit .500 in their opening series.

From left-to-right, summer roommates Ryan DeJesus of San Francisco State, Josh Hinkle, and Kyle Dyer

March 4th and 5th two of my summer roommates in Hawaii square off when Kyle Dyer (Drury University (MO) travels to play the previously mentioned Hinkle and his Florida Tech team. I will definitely have to give a little report on that match up, especially if Dyer, a pitcher, faces Hinkle, an outfielder.

As for the Concordia Golden Bears, we will continue to prepare for WCU and the rest of our 2011 schedule!

-Go Golden Bears-

Great Start!!

Greetings Baseball Fans!!   This has been a GREAT first week to the season!  Our team came out extremely excited and eager to prove how good we are on the field.   We beat Montevallo via the 10-run rule both games, and won two games over #29 ranked Rollins, in Winter Park, FL.   Basically the first 4 games could be described by saying, “WOW”!  Our pitching has been dominant, our first three starts of the year the starting pitcher didn’t give up a run.  Danny Vargas went 5 shutout innings, freshman Kevin Peters went 5 shutout innings giving up 1 hit in his first collegiate start, and Jason Postill highlighted the trio with a 7 inning, 1 hit shutout performance.

Sr. Danny Vargas

As good as the pitching has been, the hitting has been just as good!  Kenny Stalls and Greg Pron have highlighted the first 4 games, with Stalls batting .615 with 2 bombs and 11 RBI.  Pron leads the team so far at .643 with 6 doubles and 9 RBI.  They aren’t the only ones hitting though, the team is batting over .400!  We are hitting, pitching, and fielding.  All aspects of the game have been good, but as always we have a lot of room for improvement.   We recently moved up in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll to 16th in the country.  It is the highest ranking we’ve achieved since 2007 when we were ranked 15th.  It’s nice to be given the recognition nationally, but we still have a lot to prove, and we have some big series coming up that will test the team and show us how good we really are.

Now for my pitching update!  I have been doing 100% better than I could have imagined in the last 2 weeks, I’ve been working daily with Coach Jeffcoat on mechanics, using video of my bullpens, and basically I’ve changed almost everything in my mechanics besides throwing sidearm.  A lot of it was changing my approach to the plate with my legs, and changing the way I bring my arm back so I can be in a better position to find a consistent release point.  Every bullpen continues to get better, I’m throwing A LOT more strikes, throwing harder, getting better movement, and throwing more strikes with the change up.  I threw like 10 strikes in a row yesterday, which was pretty cool… I’ve never done that before..  Everything just seems to be clicking for me right now, the other aspects of pitching are coming more natural to me, and I’m just waiting to see some hitters!!  It’s hard during the season to get intersquad innings because we usually have mid-week games and we need to save pitching for the games.  But after this week we’ll have 3 weeks where we only play on the weekends, so I’m sure we’ll have time to throw a few innings here and there..

Stalls and Pron

After the last 2 weeks, I’ve shown a lot of improvement and it has kind of energized me to continue to work harder and harder.  After the fall I was basically in the mood of just happy to be at practice and be apart of the team, but now I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been to want to get on the field and have coach put the ball in my hand and know that the team has confidence in me!

I had some good questions this week, and I appreciate all of the support you guys are giving me!

Matthew J- Fort Pierce, Florida Indian River State College writes:

I love the blogs! They are very informative and show the reality of college baseball. My question to you is how do you prepare from going to a 20-25 game high school season, to a 50 plus college baseball season? Both physically and mentally.
Matt-  Thanks for the great question!  This really is a big deal for a lot of freshmen when they first get to college.  I’ll start with the physical aspect… A lot of guys play all summer long before they come to college, and that could be a disaster in the making!  In college, as you know from being at Indian River, practices are a lot more intense and fast paced.  There isn’t a lot of down time during practice.  Also, you practice all week while also playing 4-5 games a week.  It’s A LOT of baseball and the best way to be prepared for it is to work HARD in the gym!  Conditioning is also an important aspect, and to make sure you don’t over-do it with throwing.  One of the most common things I’ve seen in guys is that they don’t do a lot over the summer and when they come back they go TOO HARD and end up with arm trouble.  Now on the mental aspect of it.  A lot of guys coming from high school are in shock when they get to college and realize, my parents aren’t here to wake me up, make me food.. blah blah blah.  It takes a disciplined person to make sure you’re doing the right things, like going to class, putting good food into the body, not staying up until 3am every night because you don’t have someone to tell you to go to bed, and preparing yourself to not take practice for granted because you’re worried about something that is happening outside of baseball.   I know this is a lot, but there is so much that goes into this question, I could go on for pages!  Thanks for the question!  Shout out to GC PRIDE!
Michael J-  Birmingham, AL Samford University
Mr. Ebert,
During the long season your body must break down. How does your in season work out differ from your off season work out?
Hey Mike, thanks for the question!  We have a great strength and conditioning staff here at UWF.  During the fall we go hard 4 days a week.  We work hard to get stronger, doing baseball specific training.  During the spring we’ve cut back to 2 days a week working on low reps with high volume.  During the spring we’re not just trying to maintain what we’ve gained in the fall, we’re still trying to get stronger.  The workouts have helped me gain and maintain about 12 pounds of muscle since the beginning of the fall.  Thanks for the question!  Good luck this year at Samford!
As always, feel free to email me any questions you have about baseball at Philipebertuwf@yahoo.com
Also, follow me on twitter at  www.twitter.com/phillybert36
Here are some pictures for you guys to check out!
-Philip Ebert #36
Taye Larry and myself

Sr. Tyler Hastings

Sr. Dustin Lawley and Sr. Zac Taylor

Jr. Kenny Stalls

Coach Kyle Brown

It’s Not Raining In Seattle

Hello college baseball fans! Thanks for checking in on my first installment here on College Baseball Lineup. I am honored to be a part of CBL’s stable of baseball bloggers. Thanks to those guys for the opportunity to share some thoughts on both our program here at Seattle University, as well as our great game in general. I hope some of you find my ramblings at least mildly interesting. I will do my best to provide some insight into what is happening on the west coast baseball scene, and certainly with our club up here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I would love to hear from anyone out there with comments, suggestions, and/or questions. You can also follow me on Twitter – @coachferg.

This has been a whirlwind year for me personally and professionally, having joined the staff at SU this past summer, just weeks after the season ended for my previous school, Tacoma Community College. I had spent the last five seasons as the head coach there, but was intrigued by what Donny Harrel was building up the road in Seattle. I had to decide whether or not I wanted to go back to being an assistant coach after running my own program for several years. I also had to make the incredibly difficult decision to leave the players I had recruited and coached. In the end, the chance to work with the coaches here at Seattle U, all of whom I had known for years, and to be involved in laying the foundation of a great Division I program was too much to pass up. My wife has been incredibly supportive through this transition, as we have two very small children and she is having quite a few more nights without me home, as the travel at the Division I level is obviously much greater than at the junior college level. So far I am energized by the new challenge and have thoroughly enjoyed working with this new crop of players. They are full of passion for the game, and they come to the facility every day ready to learn. There is nothing more invigorating for a college baseball coach than young men who are not satisfied with the status quo and who are humble enough to truly accept coaching.

For most of the country, and honestly, even to some in our region, Seattle University, or Seattle U as we are more commonly referred to, is a bit of an unknown entity. Our athletic department, and really the whole school, is engaged in a big marketing push to change that. We are currently in the midst of our NCAA transition from Division II to Division I, and the baseball program is only in year two after a roughly 30 year hiatus. Needless to say we have our challenges as we work to fully phase in our new budgets, get all the teams equipped, get our facilities upgraded and/or built, and find a conference affiliation. Nevertheless, it is an incredibly exciting time around campus and this city. Our alumni base is fired up and filled with pride as they get to watch their alma mater take the diamond once again. It has been so much fun to get to meet the players that built the SU tradition that this new crop of players hopes to take to even greater heights.

As we rapidly approach the first pitch of the 2011 season, it’s hard not to get antsy and lose focus on the daily work that has to be done. Everyone with Redhawks Baseball is chomping at the bit to go out and make a statement but we have to continue to grind right up until we are wheels-up on Alaska Airlines headed to LA to battle Cal St Northridge. I will do my best to help them do that. I will also do my best to give you all out there something to read that won’t make you want to start watching The Real Housewives of Lake Erie. Talk to y’all next week…

Blackbirds Baseball 2011

Hello baseball fans! I’m looking forward to blogging during the 2011 College Baseball season and keeping you up to date on the Long Island University Blackbirds!

I’d like to thank the guys over at College Baseball Lineup for the opportunity to update you on the Blackbirds 2011 season. I hope to inform you about our players, coaches and experiences of the 2011 season.

The guys have been working very hard preparing for the season and the attitude of our team is always moving in a positive direction. This is a really good group of positive thinking young men we have here. We are excited to open up in Fairfax, VA against a very good opponent in George Mason University on February 25, 2011. Mother Nature has not been very kind to us so far this Winter but it is just another obstacle we must overcome on our way to an NEC Championship.

If you want to learn more about the Blackbirds, please visit us at: www.liuathletics.com/baseball

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