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Diverse recruiting leads to winning culture for Gorloks baseball team
The Gorloks baseball team started its 2019 season with a group of players coming from all over the country. The team’s 42 players come from nine different U.S. states.
Senior pitcher Adrian Santiago said players coming from different areas of the country makes a good environment for the team.
“Coming into our program knowing how much success we’ve had in the past gives you a feeling of having a standard to live up to,” Santiago said.
Santiago, a Chicago native, said the team understands the importance of playing as a single unit while coming from different backgrounds. Santiago leads the team as a pitcher with guys like Matt Mulhearn and Sean Beaver, two other players from outside the St. Louis area.
Santiago, Mulhearn and Beaver all hold an earned run average (ERA) below 2.75 this season. Mulhearn, like Santiago, came to Webster from Chicago. Beaver made the 1,800 mile trip from San Diego to play at Webster.
Santiago said Gorloks baseball would not be diverse without the team’s recruiting strategies.
“No one puts as much time as our staff when it comes to recruiting the best out there and it shows,” Santiago said.
Bill Kurich entered his 13th season as the Gorloks baseball head coach this year. Kurich won his 400th game with Webster on March 1 against Buena Vista University.
Kurich has won the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) every year since he began coaching at Webster. Kurich said it took years to build a winning program that continues to thrive.
Kurich said recruiting players goes beyond what they can do on the field.
“If you’re just concerned about athletic ability and you don’t recruit kids that can handle themselves in the classroom, you tend to figure out how to lose a lot of games,” Kurich said.
Kurich said well-rounded athletes make his job easier.
“When your players are your leaders and not your coaches, then you’ve got something special,” Kurich said.
Kurich expanded his recruiting in recent years to places like California, Colorado and Texas. Expanding recruiting, Kurich said, allows the team to acquire players they may have missed in years before.
Looking into a specific geographical area is not the best way to recruit, Kurich said. It all comes down to networking.
Kurich continues to recruit players from around the country. Freshmen Ryan Nourse, Brandon Dryer and Zach Goodman came to Webster from Colorado. Goodman said the winning culture of Gorloks baseball brought him to Webster.
A professional baseball stadium didn’t hurt, either. Webster baseball plays at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, which is the home of the Gateway Grizzlies.
Goodman said the team keeps a good atmosphere in and out of the locker room by giving each other nicknames about where they live.
“We call guys Tex and give guys a hard time about being from Cali in the cold weather that’s in Missouri.” Goodman said.
Goodman, a 6-foot-nothing catcher, has started three games this season.
Gorloks baseball will begin conference play with a double-header against Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. The team held a 10-3 record in non-conference play to begin the season.