The seeds for what has become Indiana's greatest baseball season were planted on foreign soil.
Coach Tracy Smith and pitcher Joey DeNato believe that one reason Indiana is playing in Omaha in June is because it spent Thanksgiving playing — and bonding — in the Dominican Republic.
“Everything kind of clicked after that trip,” DeNato said. “It forced us to hang out and bond. The freshmen got acquainted with the rest of us. It just solidified everything for us.”
That's part of what Smith had in mind when he decided to take his team to the Dominican during Indiana's Thanksgiving week break. He had spent some time in the country working at baseball clinics.
As important as Smith felt the trip would be from a baseball standpoint for his players, he figured it would be even more important to them as people.