Oct. 9, 2007
Notre Dame baseball second-year head coach Dave Schrage has stopped by und.com to file the first of four upcoming Fall Baseball Practice Reports - as part of the countdown to the team's annual Blue-Gold Series (see http://und.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/100907aab.html for the countdown listing of offerings).
Fall Baseball Practice Report #1 (Dave Schrage)
"Hello Notre Dame baseball fans. After a month of practice with the Fighting Irish baseball team, it appears the team is ready to make a run at reclaiming the BIG EAST Championship and taking a place among the nation's top programs. With 14 newcomers on hand this fall, it was the goal of the coaching staff to mesh the new talent with the talent of the returning players. The returning players - having one year under their belts with the coaching staff - have done an outstanding job of making sure the fall workouts have been very productive.
"Veterans such as Sean Gaston, Chris Soriano, Ross Brezovsky, Brett Lilley and David Phelps have done a tremendous job of leading this team in the fall. With so many new players, it has been very important to develop team chemistry. The above players have done an incredible job in developing a 'oneness' within the team.
"The biggest difference fans will see this year is depth. We have great competition at every position and this has created improvement in every player. We can go two deep at every position and feel comfortable in those players getting the job done.
"You never have enough pitching, but our roster has given us pitching depth so that we can define roles for our pitching staff. The work ethic at practice has been outstanding. This unit realizes we are going to have to outwork people to achieve this goal. On an everyday basis, many players have been coming before and staying after practice to work on their games. It has been very encouraging to see this drive in the players eyes.
"Our scrimmages have been very competitive. This is due to the fact that we have more talent and depth. Being young, we have made our share of mistakes but these players are getting better every day. If we continue to combine great leadership, determination, and work ethic in our winter workouts, this team is going to make some noise come the 2008 spring season.
"As I've mentioned earlier during the fall, it is up to us as a coaching staff to integrate the group of newcomers with the returning players. Our success as a team will depend on that meshing of all the players - that's a vital part to the competitiveness of the team.
"The other members of our coaching staff will be passing on their thoughts on fall ball during the next few days and will provide more specific insight into the team, as we approached the Blue-Gold Series. We held the "draft" for the Blue-Gold rosters today and there appears to be great competitive balance on each team - it should be an exciting three games.
"I know I speak for all involved with Notre Dame baseball in saying that we are looking forward to this weekend for the alumni game and the reunions of the 1957 and 2002 College World Series teams. These players were part of memorable and historic seasons, and it will be great to visit with them and the many other ND baseball alums (close to 100 total) who will be back on campus this weekend.
"Thank you all for your support of Notre Dame baseball - and Go Irish!"
- Coach Schrage