A whole different ballgame for Olivet Tiger baseball

Olivet’s Tiger baseball team received an unexpected Christmas present when they returned to campus in January 2018.

January 23, 2018 Uncategorized

After final exams were complete and players had returned home in December 2017, Olivet Nazarene University’s indoor baseball facility (affectionately called “The Turf Room”) received an exciting remodel. 

The renovations were made possible by some of the former players who had developed their talents in that very room. Updates include more than new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. New, state-of-the-art technology — a culmination of ideas from coaches and players — enhances the vision for the best way to serve and develop current and future players during their time at Olivet. 

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In August 2017, ONU President John C. Bowling; Head Coach Todd Reid; and Jeff Domagalski, director of community relations, met with former ONU Tiger and current Chicago Cub Ben Zobrist ’04. A few months later, Ben and his wife, Julianna, committed a lead gift to Olivet for the baseball program. 

Shortly thereafter, other former Tigers contributed significant gifts to the project as well. Among those giving back to their college baseball roots were Dan Heefner ’01 and Chip Maxson ’03. Heefner is currently the head coach of the perennial NCAA Division I powerhouse Dallas Baptist University baseball team. Maxson is currently the general manager of the Sacramento Rivercats, the AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. 

When players returned to Olivet after break, the Turf Room was a “whole different ballgame.” New padded field turf enables players to field ground balls, slide and train on a surface more similar to outdoors. Other additions include new netting, mounds and screens, along with the aesthetics of a new entryway and logos. 

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Perhaps the best new feature is a set of technological tools which enables players to develop their hitting and pitching mechanics. HitTrax™ is a baseball simulator that combines video and analytics, measuring real-time data and displaying live results for immediate feedback. The system also generates reports for players, coaches and Major League Baseball scouts. Rapsodo™ brings powerful insights into every pitch, helping players and coaches improve their performance through data including spin rates, axis and efficiency.  

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“We are so grateful for Ben and others who made this possible,” says Coach Reid. “We hope to make them proud by putting it to use every day and helping more players achieve their dreams.” 

To learn more about the Tiger athletics program, contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@olivet.edu or 800-648-1463. 


Reprinted: 1/23/18

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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