LEESBURG – For at least a day, baseball was king in Kosciusko County at the Indiana University alumni event and IUStan Memorial Golf Outing, held Monday at Tippecanoe Lake Country Club.
The Kosciusko County chapter of the IU Alumni Association brought to town Tracy Smith, head coach of the Indiana University baseball program, a team that made a name for itself this past spring. While Indiana has had success in its program history, the team raised the bar after making the NCAA College World Series for the first time. Indiana achieved the milestone by winning the Big Ten Tournament, then advancing through the Regionals and Super Regionals, knocking off perennial power Florida State twice in Tallahassee to reach the College World Series.
At the College World Series, Indiana beat Louisville, 2-0, before losing to Mississippi State and Oregon State to bow out. Overall, Indiana was 49-16 overall and 20-8 in the Big Ten under Smith, who has won two Big Ten titles since he took over in 2006.
“One of the reasons I wanted to get out and do this was to meet some new people,” Smith said during the luncheon, listing several locals among his new friends. “I don’t want to say Indiana got lucky, because we have been building this for years. We got hot at the right time, sure, but we were playing some good baseball to get to the World Series. You don’t beat teams like Florida State by being lucky. Especially at their place.”
Indiana made only its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, but had never reached the College World Series until this spring. The Hoosiers were the first Big Ten team to make the College World Series since a Barry Larkin-led Michigan squad reached the tournament in 1984.
Smith spent part of his speech overviewing the emotions of the 2013 season and what it was like to knock off Florida State, a program Smith stated he really enjoyed beating in its own ballpark. Smith also fielded questions from the audience and addressed the past and future of the baseball program as well as the academic success of his players.
The event featured a luncheon at the country club followed by the speech by Smith. Concluding the day was the golf outing across the street at the TLCC golf course, done in honor of Stan Fox, former Indiana University National Chairman of IUAA, who held the title in 2006-07. The highlight of the alumni event is a scholarship is generated for an IU-bound freshman from Kosciusko County, this year’s going to a student from Warsaw.