BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – The Kokomo baseball team held its first Wildkat World Series in an effort to develop camaraderie while working on fundamentals during the off-season. New Wildkat skipper Sean Swan, Kokomo’s assistant athletic director and a varsity assistant coach last season, said the event was a success.
“A lot of college programs do this to punctuate its fall workout season. We had upwards of 28 kids work out this fall and had 18 kids participate in the World Series,” said Swan, who noted that student-athletes in fall sports could not participate in the games. “It is just a fun thing for them to experience.”
While being a fun event for the players, the Wildkat World Series allowed Swan and his staff to see players he had not watched on the field before the World Series.
“We got to see some new faces and some kids in new roles,” said Swan, who has six years of head coaching experience at Lapel and Tri-Central. “And it allowed some younger kids who don’t play a fall sport a chance to get some work in and get to know some varsity coaches. It was a win for us and a win for them.”
Swan said that with a new coach comes a new coaching system, and this event allowed the new and returning players a chance to see that new system in action. He said that during the winter, more workouts will be planned so the athletes who played fall sports will have a chance to work with the skipper and his staff.
“These types of events allow players to learn our terminology, learn our system and learn our expectations,” said Swan. “As we go into the winter season, we will get a whole new set of kids come in and work out. Some of these (fall) kids will be playing other sports. It has been a good experience this fall.”
Swan said he was able to teach fundamentals and new drills during the fall workouts and Wildkat World Series.
“It was nice to be able to introduce the drills we will be doing this spring when baseball officially starts,” he said. “We were able to expose them to those drills while also teaching about our mentality and our approach to the game.”
In the end, Team Top Gun defeated Team Dinger 2-1. Swan said Top Gun lost the opener 5-0 but battled back from the 1-0 deficit to take game two 3-1. Game three was a close 3-2 contest to determine the first Wildkat World Series champion.
“It was good. I think the kids really enjoyed it and I think it surprised them how much they got into it,” said Swan. “It was a nice way to wrap things up.”
Kokomo is scheduled to open its 2015 baseball campaign at the new Kokomo Municipal Stadium in April.