Oct. 10, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University's baseball program has initiated its fall training, with a focus on skills development, strength and conditioning and individual instruction. The theme `commitment' is being emphasized as the program prepares for its first official team practice Monday, October 19.
"We're trying to get a number of things established this time of year," said ninth-year Santa Clara head baseball coach Mark O'Brien. "First and foremost is the commitment level. Equally important is the infrastructure; how we do things, how we run our offense, how we run our defense, almost establishing a team identity in a sense."
Important dates this fall:
Monday, September 28 - Conditioning/skill work began
Monday, October 19 - First team practice
October 19 through November 20 - Intrasquad games held Tue/Wed/Fri @ 3 p.m.
Friday, October 23 - Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament
Saturday, October 24 - Alumni Game
Friday, November 20 - Final intrasquad game/last day of skill work
O'Brien and his staff have assembled a roster loaded with talent. All-America catcher Tommy Medica (.361 career batting average) returns after a redshirt year, designated hitter Geoff Klein is coming off an outstanding 81-hit, 21-double junior year in 2009 and the Broncos welcome back its Friday starter, All-West Coast Conference right-hander Nate Garcia.
"We have some premier players coming back and that's exciting for our program," said O'Brien, who has coached more than 25 MLB players throughout his 12-year coaching career. "But we are evaluating everyone at this point. We not only need to see physical ability and toughness, but mental toughness and leadership qualities as well. The fall offers every player a clean slate. Roles have yet to be determined."
Prep All-America pitcher Jon Hughes, a redshirt in 2009, is one of 18 first-year players hoping to make an impact for the Broncos next spring.
The new players will benefit immediately from the addition of Ron Forbes as baseball's new strength and coaching coach. Forbes' scientific approaches comes from over 15 years of experience with some of the nation's top baseball programs, including training College World Series team's at the University of Florida and Stanford.
"Integrating the training program with the skill work on the field is important," said Forbes. "The specific movements to each position must be developed within our strength training program. We are addressing biomechanical, metabolic, nutrition, hydration and sleep habits, all key components to maximizing the player's physical development."
Santa Clara's official 2010 schedule has yet to be announced but the team will most-likely open its season Friday, February 19. The NCAA will allow team's to begin spring practice Thursday, January 29, 2010.
NOTES: The Broncos are one-year removed from a 33-win season in 2008, nearly missing a chance to play for the WCC title and berth into the NCAA Regionals... after 11 years the WCC announced it will no longer sponsor a season-ending `WCC Championship Series' between the league's top two regular-season teams.