The Creighton baseball team was left with a sour taste in its mouth after last year’s season that ended unexpectedly, but the Jays have no time to feel sorry this off-season as they anticipate a tough schedule for 2015.
Creighton captured the Big East regular-season title, but the Jays’ season ended abruptly when they were upset by Xavier in the Big East Tournament championship game in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Jays finished fall practices before leaving for fall break and immediately jumped into off season conditioning upon their return to campus.
Creighton has a strict regimen in the off-season, including conditioning on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as weight-lifting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During these days, the players are allowed four-on-one’s, also known as individuals. Four players are allowed instructions from one coach at a time.
“Individuals are very helpful. Anytime you get individual attention from a coach on your own flaws helps fix your personal problems,” junior catcher Joey Mancuso said. “In fall ball you get a little individual attention, but it is more of a team atmosphere and a ‘get to know you’ time.”
Along with new players, the Jays also feature two new coaches and one coach in a new position.
Rich “Sarg” Wallace is the new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, while helping out with the hitters and catchers. Brian Furlong was promoted this summer to pitching coach from Director of Baseball Operations. Assisting the infielders and hitters is former Creighton infielder Vicente Cafaro.
“With all the changes in staff, it is a feeling-out process between players and coaches. But I feel we have the right guys in place that have even helped me personally coming off my injury,” senior catcher Kevin Lamb said. “Sarg is a genius when it comes to catching, and I feel that he will help us all in that aspect as well as hitting.”
The baseball team is utilizing this off-season to get stronger in the new Championship Center weight room, as well as gain speed.
“The amount of new agility we can do in the new place that goes with our lift for that day is unreal,” Mancuso said. “This year we will be in way better shape for the grueling schedule we have to play this year.”
The Jays face a challenging schedule this year that includes many well-known teams, such as Tulane, Kansas State, Minnesota, Arkansas and Stony Brook. The Jays will also continue their annual tradition of playing Nebraska.
“We play some big teams this year that can only help us,” Furlong said. “We want the boys to see some good competition that will give us a real platform of where we are at and what we need to be.”
The players are very excited to take on the schedule and are fully committed to the amount of work it will take to compete with these teams.
“We will do a ton of traveling this year coast to coast,” Lamb said. “All that travel takes a toll on your body, let alone the caliber of teams we are going to be up against.”
“Many guys have transformed their body and have a nasty taste in their mouth from the way last season ended,” Mancuso said. “We want to be known on a national level and have the chance to do that this year with the teams we play and the goals we have set.”