Charcoal grey uniforms showcased white numbers outlined in red, as the Titans took to the field for their second practice of the year.
Practicing at Four Winds Field, home of the South Bend Cubs, located in downtown South Bend, the team practiced in a competitive fashion.
The team currently holds no names to any positions. The practices are six weeks of competing to earn their spot on the field, with training at the highest level.
As the team jokes of looking like a football team, they hold the largest program by numbers, with a standing roster of 48 and host a variety of talent ranging from freshman, transfer students from Holy Cross College (HCC), recruits and previous IU South Bend students.
Former Bethel College ballplayer and former head coach at Holy Cross College, Coach Brian Blondell is a leader with a strong background in baseball.
Accompanying Blondell are former HCC baseball assistant coach Mike Huling, former Wright State University-Lake Campus (WSU-LC) assistant coach, Greg Cox, Assistant Coach Greg Aquino, and former HCC player and graduate Matt Schwitz, who will serve as the team’s pitching coach.
Practices are just beginning. At practice, they go down the line with all things baseball: speed drills, fielding, hitting, pitching and all fundamentals.
The team is practicing with high energy and the buzz is in the air.
“Everything has to be played and practiced at a championship level.” Blondell said to his practicing Titans. “So if we do something with a lack of intensity, if we do something with a lack of focus, that’s what is going to rollover.”
“I think offensively and defensively we look really good. We haven’t really seen our pitchers yet. We are in a position where we have more than enough talent, but talent doesn’t always win games,” Blondell said after practice.
The season is quickly approaching, with the team taking the road to Georgia for their first couple of games. The season is set to begin on February 19.
Opening night at home will be March 20, facing Purdue North Central (PNC), with a location yet to be determined.
Two of the home games will be hosted at Four Winds Field in late April before the return of the South Bend Cubs.
This may be the first year welcoming baseball to the Titan’s spring lineup, but that’s not the mentality of the team.
“If you were to talk to any of our guys, none of our guys would ever talk about this being a first-year program,” Blondell said. “It’s about what we are going to do to put ourselves in a position where we are ready to win a championship. So that’s kind of our focus.”
Baseball may be in the spring, but fall games start this September, creating an eagerness to get on the field.
“I’ll be honest the excitement level is really, really high, especially for us. We thought that we had lost something,” Blondell said, speaking of the Holy Cross College baseball program, “and we had spent a lot of time on building that to be successful and get into the conference tournaments. And to see that taken away and now get this, I think this is a really good opportunity. IUSB is headed in a fast-forward state with athletics. The excitement is there, it’s like the excitement where you can’t wait to play.”