Hoosiers Kickoff Fall Practice
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The 2003 Indiana baseball team officially kicked off its fall practice season on Tuesday afternoon. IU is coming off a 34-22 season and its second straight trip to the Big Ten Tournament.
"It's really good to get the fall started," head coach Bob Morgan said. "We've been doing some individual workouts with some of our younger players, but this is really the first time we've had the whole team together.
Morgan, who is one of just 26 active head coaches in Division history to win 1,000 games, was impressed with what he saw on the Hoosiers' first day on the field.
"I thought our upperclassmen did a nice job of setting the tone and I really feel like we're going to have some good leadership on this team," Morgan said. "We had 38 guys out there on the first day and I thought we made progress. That's what the fall will be about, improving and progressing everyday. The real key for our younger players this fall will be to learn our program and the work ethic and mental toughness it takes."
Morgan indicated that he can already see that many of his upperclassmen have improved over the summer.
"Seth Bynum was most impressive at shortstop, as was Corby Heckman over at third base."
Bynum is entering his senior season after starting for the Hoosiers last season. He hit .257 and is IU's leading returning home run hitter this season after belting seven long balls in 2003. The Louisville, Ky., product, was drafted by the Montreal Expos following last season, but chose to return to IU for his senior year.
Heckman, a junior, was a third-team All-Big Ten pick at second base as a sophomore, but may make the move to third base, a spot left vacant for the first time in four seasons after Vasili Spanos graduated. Spanos was drafted by the Oakland As in June. Heckman ranked second on the team with a .372 batting average and 15 doubles in 2003.
Morgan also welcomes the return of Joe Kemp. Kemp, a junior, missed the 2003 season after having Tommy John surgery last summer.
"It's good to see Joe Kemp out here this fall," Morgan said. "We're glad to have him back in the fold. He has a chance to be an outstanding first baseman or outfielder for us."
Unfortunately, several players will miss most of the fall season due to various injuries. Pitchers Nick Vitielliss and Steve Nielsen, infielder Jay Brant, catcher Chris Hynes and first baseman/outfielder Kevin Mahar are sitting out but are expected to be back in full force by the start of the spring season.
"Not being healthy will hamper us in fall workouts, but it does give other guys a chance to show what they can do," Morgan said.
The Hoosiers will continue fall workouts for five weeks leading up their annual Cream vs. Crimson series, Oct. 12-14. The Series will be held in conjunction with the IU Baseball Alumni Weekend.
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