New city, new experiences

W&J head coach Jeff Mountain watches his team go
through fielding practice.

Coe Photo by Brenna Winn

Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- We open the Cedar Rapids era but for one coach, this is his third World Series City and another was involved in selecting Cedar Rapids. For the rest, a new city will bring new experiences. caught up with the coaches of all eight teams.

The coach that has taken his team to a new host city before is Johns Hopkins head coach Bob Babb. Babb is making the trip to his third city, having guided the Blue Jays to an appearance in Bristol, Conn. in 1989 and in Appleton, Wisc. in 2008 and 2010.  "I hope it helps," said Babb about his teams previous trips. "Having been here is to emphasize going out and not to do too much, know what your limitations are. If we play to our abilities, the chips will probably fall our way."

Webster head coach Bill Kurich is comfortable with the new location."I played in Iowa, at Wartburg," said Kurich. "I was on the committee when we picked Cedar Rapids as the new site. I have been round this place. I've recruited here and is an area I am somewhat familiar with."

Washington & Jefferson head coach Jeff Mountain sees a lot familiarity with 2017, a year they finished second to Cal Lutheran. "It is a good feeling and we are happy to be back," said Mountain. "We have kept the same schedule so everything has been the same. We play the first game like we played two years ago and the practice times are the same. We won 107 games in the last three years and we are here like everyone else to win it. We are not here for the ceremony."

UMass-Boston head coach Brandan Eygabroat will have a team that knows what to expect." We have a senior laden team that has played a lot of playoff baseball," said Eygabroat. "Having been in Appleton in 2017 and 2010, we know what an experience it is for the guys.

Heidelberg recruited some help with their baseball alumni who have been through the World Series experience. "It is always exciting and fortunate to have played well over the last couple weeks," said Heidelberg head coach Chad Fitzgerald. "We met some of the alumni from the 2010 team and they gave a message to our guys to enjoy the experience." It was a message that Fitzgerald has stressed all year, "to do what we do and do it the best we can. The moment is not bigger than the game and the game is just the the same."

It might be the first trip for the head coach, but not for the program, "To come here and represent Chapman and its storied tradition is really neat," said Chapman head coach Scott Laverty. Laverty stressed realized how big it was to have the regional and super regional at their home field. "Huge, it was the best thing ever," said  Laverty. "To be able to play with the regional, super regional format was awesome. There is no place better to play than your own place."

Birmingham-Southern is also traveling for the first time. "It was really good to host both series," said Birmingham-Southern head coach Jan Weisberg. "We had a great atmosphere and for the guys it helped them treat it like a regular game." Weisberg also noted that it was special with this group of players "It is fun with this group. We knew we would be better and compete. We have been close so many times in the past and it feels good for all those guys who did not make it."

Babson, along with the Panthers, are making the trip for the first time."It is incredibly exciting," said Babson head coach Matt Noone. "But it is nerve wracking that you make sure you don't get caught up in the excitement of it all and get away from what got you here."

At the end of the week when the national champion is crowned, the World Series will no longer be new to two more programs and four more head coaches will have checked off Worlds Series appearance on their resume.