ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The St. Thomas baseball program is currently the No. 3-ranked team in the country, and is on top of the MIAC.
This year’s team is getting things done with defense. The Tommies baseball program is steeped in rich tradition, so it’s no surprise this season they’re going for a 10th straight MIAC title.
Head coach Chris Olean has experienced the program’s legacy firsthand.
“Tradition is a big thing here and I’m kind of living proof of it. I played here for four years and was an assistant here for nine years and now it’s my third season as head coach,” Olean said. “I’m 35 years old and I’ve been here close to 16 years. If you break that down, I’ve seen what the tradition is about. It’s about playing with pride, playing hard and playing the right way.”
The Tommies are finding success on the field this season with solid defense. They’re ranked among the top Division III teams in the county in fielding percentage, and going into Wednesday’s doubleheader against Macalester, had just six infield errors.
“Defense is one of the things that we try to hammer into the rest of the team,” said Steve Maher. “Because we know if we don’t field the ball, then we’re going to have to score a lot more runs out there. In terms of a mindset, we just know that we have to take care of the ball and don’t try to rush out there. When you rush, that’s when you make errors.”
“We just have a good group of guys that makes it easy to work with at practice every day. It’s a repetition, doing the same stuff over and over again and taking it seriously,” said Justin Novak.
One thing is certain: The current players know the former Tommies are keeping tabs on their productivity.
“They’re always checking the paper to see how we’re doing out there. We know we have a legacy to uphold, and it kind of puts some extra pressure on you out there but it also makes it more fun when you do go out there and perform like you can,” Maher said.
St. Thomas swept its Wednesday home doubleheader against Macalester College, winning the first game 3-2 and the second 3-1 to extend its unbeaten streak to 15 games.