The Arrival and Game Time

April 16, 2013

Coach Jim Penders and I rolled into UConn at around 9am, and after a brief tour around the campus we headed to the office.  Assistant coaches, Jeff Hourigan and Josh MacDonald were already hard at work discussing recruiting and going over the game plan for the afternoon.  After introductions Coach Penders and I went down to get my uniform.  Since the very beginning the UConn staff, and the University have been extraordinarily generous, treating me as a part of the team.  I have felt included and integrated since the first second I stepped onto campus.  

Once back in the office, coach MacDonald went over their approach to recruiting, and what they look for in players.  We got into discussions about both the physical and mental aspects of baseball, and the unique position of the collegiate program to develop not just great ball players, but well rounded individuals. It was a great way to start the day, to hear about the theory behind the program, what UConn Baseball is all about: Attitude, Concentration, Effort.  

Coach Hourigan then went over their approach to hitting, charting, and the use of video analysis with hitting mechanics.  We took a look at some of the players' swings in Right View Pro, and talked about both good aspects of a swing, and some adjustments some players could make.  It was a great look into how they approach hitting, and the use of vid analysis as a tool.  I'll include pics of the charts they use as well.  Every game, players not in the game are charting.  

"Game day is a great day"

Agreed.  3:00 game means get to the field at 12:30.  We got to the field and players were already working to set up for BP.  Players trickled out, and they got loose on their own, many coming direct from classes.  Once BP started, things moved with pace.  
Round 1- Executions: everyone gets one swing and out
Split into hitting groups.
Round 2- Bunts
Round 3- Slashes
Round 4- Hit and Run
Round 5- Keep hitting if you hit the ball hard
Round 6- HWP: Hit it where it's pitched/ 2-strikes/ Runners in scoring position.

Catcher getting some work

The Barn
Coach Chris Podeszwa hit fungos to infielders, and those not hitting we running the bases.  Everything was fast paced, direct, and concise.  Great to see.

Inside the Barn
After all groups hit, players threw and kept loose, or went to hit in "the barn" to get some more swings in.  Pitchers worked on hitting spots from shorter distances, or threw some easy long-toss.  

Game Time.
To stand on the field, hat over heart, the National Anthem playing, a sunny afternoon in Connecticut; it's an honor to share in this experience.  
The Huskies took the game, showing incredible resolve after getting behind early.  Freshman hurler Christian Colletti got the W, and LJ Mazzilli hit a go ahead bases clearing double in the fourth.  
Full game recap and boxscore here: http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/041613aaa.html
Colletti fixing the mound to celebrate his W

Tomorrow is a lifting and practice day, so I'm looking forward to see how they approach in-season lifting and conditioning.  More to come.  For now, here is a video of reliever Feehan, whose fastball moves like a LHP slider... no joke, really unique delivery...

I want to restate how generous and gracious the UConn staff have been.  They have truly made me feel welcome, and it is an honor to learn from them.  I would like to especially thank Coach MacDonald for opening his home to me, and allowing me to stay with him.  Thanks also, to the EBCA for giving me this opportunity and setting up this experience. 

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