Smooth coaching transition has Irish baseball ready for season
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - What a ride the Notre Dame baseball team took fans on last summer, knocking off the No. 1 team in the country to punch a ticket to its first College World Series since 2002.
That was less than eight months ago, and a lot has changed. This team features five new coaches, including head coach Shawn Stiffler, and 20 new players.
But the goal remains the same, and there’s enough guys coming back who know what it takes to get back to Omaha. And Stiffler admits that he’s leaned on those grad students in the preseason practices.
“One of the easiest parts for me coming in was knowing that these guys had such a strong hold on the culture of the team. It’s not like you had to change much,” Stiffler said. “Truthfully, the elephant in the room was me. I was the one creating any of the waves. I think this is a group that, I’m the one in the room, but they could’ve done it without a coach this year, to be honest with you.”
Infielder Zack Prajzner touched on the state of the team with a new head coach, as the Irish are just two days away from opening day.
“I think he gives us more credit than we deserve sometimes,” Prajzner said. “He did a really good job not trying to come in and change a whole lot. He was very respectful, I guess, of what we did, which we appreciated. But we found a lot of success with Coach Jarrett by buying into what he was talking about right away, and we did the same with Coach Stiffler, and we feel ready to go.”
Notre Dame’s season begins on Friday at Lipscomb. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. EST.
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