One of Indiana University’s right-handed pitchers, sophomore Connor Manous, starts off the first inning with a fast ball. His arm is just warming up for what is to come in the Spring.
Focused Indiana University baseball player tosses a baseball up and down while waiting for his turn at bat. Assessing batting technique before stepping up to home plate is essential.
Indiana baseball players quickly collaborate in-between innings of the “intrasquad scrimmage.” Talking about past mistakes will carry the team towards success into the upcoming Spring season.
Laren Eustace, senior Indiana baseball player, hydrates after returning to the dugout from the outfield. Preparing and keeping the body healthy is one of the key essentials to success, especially in preparation for the in-season.
Freshman Lane Miller sits in the bleachers while assessing the position “right-handed pitcher” that he will hopefully assume in the Spring. Practicing is a key component in preparation for Spring, however, taking in the techniques from a step back will also contribute to this player’s success.
Two Indiana baseball players—Paul Milto (left) and Matt Lloyd (right)—pose for a quick picture in the dugout while waiting for their turn in the outfield. While “Fall Ball” is taken serious, morale is still sky climbing.
Sophomore, Jeremy Houston, stands patiently waiting for a fast ball at home plate. Being prepared for any type of pitch will keep his awareness high.
Shelves of organized helmets line the walls of the dugout. Players must wear all equipment necessary to prevent a team shortage before the Spring season.
Four players sit this scrimmage out while watching their teammates from the audience’s seats. Watching the scrimmage away from the dugout limits distractions and helps the players to see their entire team on the field.
One of the assistant coaches of Indiana University baseball, Zachery Mezger, sits in the dugout with the team. Guiding the team with the right advice will help them to win the inning of this fall scrimmage.
Players connect with one another on the inside of the fence, discussing the actions going on in the outfield. Discussing and pointing out mistakes and correctness will help these players recognize what they do and do not need to improve.
Sophomore, Jeremy Houston, runs back to the dugout after finishing a warm-up before the scrimmage. There are nothing but smiles on this player’s face practicing the sport he loves more than anything.
Baseball; it’s a spring sport—right? Essentially, in high school and college, it is considered a Spring sport. However, some type of preparation for the Spring is necessary. What is categorized as “preparation?” Well, Indiana University’s way of preparing for the Spring is holding practices year around, weight lifting, and holding “intrasquad scrimmages” during the Fall that are open to the public. These scrimmages are held on weekends, Thursday through Saturday. They are not against other teams, but against each other. Indiana University calls this preparation for Spring, “Fall ball.”
The importance of “Fall ball” not only includes weekend scrimmages, weight lifting, and daily practices, but also hours of sweat, tears, and hard work. The normal day for a baseball player begins with an early morning weight lifting session. Following the early morning weight lifting comes with a day full of classes—that is until the next practice. After practice, the team has time to grab dinner before heading to the required study tables at Indiana University’s Academic Center. Each week, every player must have at least 8 hours of studying logged. Not only are the players dealing with tiring practices, but they are also balancing academics as well.
On two separate occasions—September 16th, 2017 and September 23rd, 2017—I had the chance to attend two “intrasquad scrimmages.” While at the scrimmages, I explored different views from inside the Bart Kaufman Baseball Diamond. From sitting next to the dugout to sitting in the bleachers, I experienced a day in the life of an Indiana University baseball player. While exploring the diamond, I was able to capture a collection of images that best portray the action and what goes on behind the scenes during an “intrasquad scrimmage.”
There is more to these scrimmages than just practice. These scrimmages not only mimic a real baseball game, but they help the players improve their batting, catching, pitching, techniques, and baseball strategy. During and after the scrimmage, the team assesses what needs to be worked on and improved by the time Spring comes around. Another aspect to the importance of these scrimmages is that it allows the coaching staff to teach and work with the players.
When I asked Matt Petrosino, sophomore pitcher, why the team scrimmages during the fall, he confidently answered with, “we play fall ball because it helps us as players, and the coaches as well, to see where we are at physically and mentally and [recognize] what we need to improve on for the upcoming Spring season.” This is Petrosino’s second year of being a member of the team and believes all of the preparation will pay off.
Not many people get to hear the other side of the players’ point of view when it comes to the practices and preparation. Although the training season seems to last forever, the players do believe it helps tremendously. I got an inside on Petrosino’s thoughts about whether or not the players think “intrasquad scrimmages” help with improvement. Petrosino states, “I think it gives me a chance to improve my game on a day-to-day basis. It also gives me the opportunity to show the hard work that I put in during the off-season.
While the outside world only thinks of sports as a part of their designated season, teammates are putting in hard work in the off-season. Indiana University’s baseball players put in countless hours at the best of their ability—individually and as a team—so they are able to hold an improving record when Spring time rolls around. Although the players are busy with preparation, the expenses will lead to game winning and possibly record holding changes in the Spring time.