Misericordia University Looks to Build on 2012 NCAA Tournament Appearance

By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

MisericordiaThe Misericordia University baseball program will have a new place to call home beginning with the 2013 season. Tambur Field was constructed in 2012 and will provide the Cougars with one of the finest baseball facilities in the region.

The Cougars are looking to build off of their Freedom Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III Regionals in 2012.

Prep Baseball Report spoke with Cougars Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Andrew Bennett to discuss the recruiting process at Misericordia and how their current recruiting class is shaping up.

PBR:  How is your 2013 recruiting class shaping up and what needs are you still looking to fill?

Our coaching staff is very excited about our 2013 recruiting class. As a Division III school, it’s still very early in the process for us, but at this point we do have commitments from four student-athletes whom we feel will be great additions to our program, including our first commitment from Illinois. We’re lucky to have 13 seniors in our program this year, but that also means the 2013 recruiting class is an extremely important one for us. We’re still looking to add some depth to our outfield and our pitching staff as the rest of this recruiting class begins to take shape.

PBR:  Can you take us through the typical recruiting cycle of a single prospect you may recruit?

Our recruiting cycle is probably very similar to what you’ll see at most Division III schools. We start by identifying a recruit at a game or showcase event. After we see a recruit play a few times and determine that his level of baseball ability would be a good fit for our program’s needs, we send him an introductory email and questionnaire to learn more about him. After talking to him on the phone and determining that he would be a good academic fit for our school and a good character guy for our program, we’ll invite him to campus for a visit. If the visit goes well and the recruit is serious about our school, we’ll invite him back for an overnight visit. Most recruits are narrowing things down considerably by the time they’re making overnight visits, since these visits really paint the most accurate picture of what life is like on a particular institution’s campus. Of course, we’re also helping recruits navigate the application and financial aid processes throughout this cycle.

PBR: Often times college prospects fall in love with the number behind the D (DI, DII, DIII). Can you talk about the strengths in your opinion of attending and playing baseball at a DIII school?

There are many benefits to playing baseball at a Division III school, but the biggest upside is that you can enjoy a real sense of balance in your life as a student-athlete. There’s no question that you’ll work extremely hard on the field and in the weight room, but you’ll also have the freedom to be a well-rounded college student and experience other facets of campus life. And if your ultimate goal is to play professional baseball, Division III is as good a route as any. Most people don’t realize how many former DIII players are in pro ball and even the big leagues.

PBR:  Do you have any advice to underclassmen that are just beginning the process of looking at schools and trying to gage a potential college coaching staff’s interest?

I think some recruits fall into the trap of looking much too closely at college rosters and trying to determine, years in advance, how much playing time they’ll receive during their careers. I heard a coach give a great recruiting talk to players and parents at a showcase event in which he said, “Every school already has someone, and probably someone else, at your position.” A college coach can tell you that you have the potential to contribute to his program, but other than that it’s virtually impossible to predict what your eventual role will be. There are simply too many variables involved: your development, your teammates’ development, transfers, injury, academics, etc. That’s why it’s so important to select a school that would still be a great fit for you without baseball in the picture.

PBR:  Pennsylvania has more college baseball programs than any state in the country. How do you go about competing for recruits with that number of schools all recruiting the same pool of prospects?

Pennsylvania has a lot of college programs, but fortunately there are a lot of very talented players in the region, so recruiting just becomes a matter of attending as many games, tournaments, and showcases as possible. The other nice thing is that Pennsylvania colleges are extremely diverse in the types of experiences they can offer prospective student-athletes, so we’re not competing directly with as many schools as it might seem.

PBR:  PBR Pennsylvania arrived on the scene in late April of 2012. How have you been able to utilize the information that Prep Baseball Report offers to your advantage?

PBR has become a great resource that we use to identify potential recruits whom we need to go watch in person. It’s also helpful to know when student-athletes we’re not recruiting make their college commitments. And it doesn’t hurt that PBR provides some great information via Twitter!

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