Members of the USC Union Bantams club baseball team began summer conditioning in the Truluck Activity Center on Tuesday. The Bantams worked on maintaining skills by completing drills such as quick ladder drills, cone drills, pro agility drills and 5-10-10.
“These drills are used by MLB and NFL scouts to analyze players’ balance, agility and quickness,” said Bantams Head Coach Paul Wilkes.
Wilkes said players will work on conditioning Monday-Friday until school starts. After that, conditioning will take place on Mondays and Fridays; players will practice on the field at Timken Sports Complex on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and indoor batting practice will be held at Next Level Training on Thursdays.
Wilkes said summer conditioning will get players acclimated to the routine, although once the season begins, preparation will become much more intense.
“We’re looking for dedication, heart and drive,” Wilkes said. “I’m going to push them to the limit physically. Baseball is a game of failure, and you have to have a strong mind to be successful.”
Wilkes explained that baseball is a game of failure by using the legendary Ted Williams as an example.
“For example, Ted Williams was the best batter in baseball, and he batted .400, which means he failed 60 percent of the time,” Wilkes said.
There were 17 players out of 33 to show up for the first day of summer conditioning on Tuesday, but Wilkes pointed out that several were not in attendance because they were busy playing baseball through various summer leagues.
Two of the Bantams’ assistant coaches were also present during the conditioning exercises, and both said they are excited about Union’s new college baseball team.
“Having the ability to share what I’ve learned is exciting,” said Assistant Coach Brian Gore.
Gore played baseball for Spartanburg Methodist College from 1997-1999 and for Winthrop University from 1999-2000. He also played independent baseball for the Jackson Senators, the St. Angelo Colts and the Rio Grande Valley Whitewings. Gore said he is a bit envious of these students who have the option of playing college baseball here at home.
“I would love to have had something like this when I was coming up,” Gore said. “It’s a great opportunity if they take advantage of it.”
Infield coach Keith Worthy said he also looks forward to delivering the knowledge he has acquired over the years to this young team.
Worthy primarily played second base for Morris College from 1987-1992, although he pointed out that he was the school’s “utility man,” playing all nine positions. He has also played in the summertime All-Star Community Baseball League since 1988.
“This is an opportunity for me to do something I love doing,” Worthy said. “I’ve been playing too long not to give back.”
Worthy described his style of baseball as “tough ball.”
“That means you keep the ball in front of you — you have to either dive for it or get hit,” he said. “Nothing gets through my infield.”
T-shirts and hats displaying the USC Union Bantams logo are now available in the USC Union admissions office — located on the second floor of the university’s Central Building, above the library. The team will also hold several fundraisers in the fall.
For more information, call (864) 429-8728 ext. 7753 or email email@example.com.