Hoosiers Wrap Up Fall Ball
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team recently wrapped five weeks of fall practice, and head coach Bob Morgan came away feeling good about what he saw and what was accomplished.
"We were very productive (this fall), from both an offensive and defensive standpoint," Morgan commented. We got a lot of work in with our position players, and I feel like we have some solid choices for our lineup."
Morgan mentioned several players he could see in starting positions if the season were to start tomorrow. Corby Heckman would get the nod at third base, and Seth Bynum would return to the shortstop position. David Hughes would be at second base, and Jay Brant should see action as well when he returns fully from injury.
"Of our upperclassmen that are returning, Bynum, Heckman and Hughes have all three improved a lot. Ryan Parker has gotten better as well. "
Senior Cody Wargo is the frontrunner to return as the starting catcher, and junior Kurt Weigle and sophomore Chris Hynes will see plenty of action backing him up.
Parker, sophomore Troy Ragle and junior Joe Kemp are all three possibilities at first base. Kemp is back in action after missing last season due to Tommy John surgery.
"It's great to have him back," Morgan noted.
Kemp, along with sophomore Reggie Wastson, could also play for the Hoosiers in center field.
"Reggie showed the biggest offensive improvement," Morgan said. "His arm strength has gotten better, and he has always been pretty good defensively."
Seniors Ryan Donley and Kevin Mahar should contend for positions in left field and right field.
Morgan also cited a pair of newcomers, freshmen Josh Richardson and Michael Nilles, for proving themselves this fall.
"Richardson and Nilles both showed promise and proved that they could play at this level," Morgan said.
Injuries that were sustained over the summer kept several key pitchers from practicing this fall, but Morgan said the team was still productive.
"With guys like Nick Vitielliss, Steve Nielsen and Josh Lewis healthy, we could have a very good year," Morgan said.
All in all, Morgan has a positive outlook for the 2004 season.
"I think we're going to be a good team offensively," Morgan explained, "and I feel like we are solid defensively. We are going to be strong one through nine in our lineup. We're aggressive and have good team speed, which fits our philosophy. We will go as far as our pitching will take us."
Indiana capped the fall season with its annual Parents and Alumni Weekend. The festivities were held Oct. 10-12 in conjunction with University Homecoming activities.
On Friday, Oct. 10, alumni and parents were invited to participate in a golf outing at the IU Golf Course. Fifty golfers played in the event and the team winners were as follows:
First-place: Kevin Mahar, Sr., Rick Head, George Spanos and Rich Mahar
Second-place: Jim Shoup, Steve Sorgius, Frank Knopf and Barry Burnett
Third-place: Kevin Goins ('93), Mike Woodside and Jeff Calcaterra ('92)
IU baseball also hosted a tailgate prior to the Hoosiers' football game with Northwestern on Saturday, Oct. 11. More than 80 players, alumni, parents and friends were in attendance.
After the football game, the 2003 IU Baseball Banquet was held at the Bloomington Convention Center. At the banquet, awards were handed out to selected members of the 2003 team. Vasili Spanos received the Bill Gros Award, which is given an IU player who leads the Big Ten Conference in batting average. Spanos hit .435 last seasons, more than 50 points better than the next closest player in league games. He was also named the team's Best Offensive Player and Most Valuable Player. A first-team All-Big Ten selection at third base, Spanos was drafted by the Oakland Athletics.
Other awards handed out at the banquet included:
Ryan Smith (4.39)
Vasili Spanos (75)
Quality At Bat
Vasili Spanos (61 percent)
Jacob Cary (7)
Newcomer of the Year
Best Defensive Player
Best Offensive Player
Players Taken in the MLB Draft
Vasili Spanos (11th round, Oakland Athletics), Seth Bynum (38th round, Montreal Expos)
Academic All-Big Ten
Nathan Lasley-Jr.-Health Education
Austin Rhoads-So.-Teacher Prep
Ryan Smith-Sr.-Exercise Science
CREAM AND CRIMSON SERIES
Each year, the Hoosier baseball team plays a five-game intrasquad series that signals the end of its preseason team practice sessions. In this year's version, the Crimson squad topped the Cream team, four games to one, to earn bragging rights.
Sophomore outfielder Reggie Watson proved to be an offensive spark plug for the Crimson team. Waston hit .579 over five games, including eight extra-base hits, and drove in seven runs. In game five, Watson accomplished something truly special in the game of baseball. He hit for the cycle. In his fourth and final at bat, Waston needed a double to complete the set, and he got one.
"Reggie had an outstanding series," Morgan said. "He played really well."
Junior infielder Corby Heckman also contributed to the Crimson's series victory with a .500 batting average. He hit a pair of home runs and had five RBI.
On the mound, incoming freshman Matt Saba stepped up to earn two wins for the victorious Crimson team. In 9.2 innings of work, Saba allowed just four hits and two earned runs, while striking out nine.
Check back soon