Shockers ESPN+ voice Shane Dennis is on the pod to discuss the Riverfront Stadium experience, how long it might take the Shockers to regain lost fans and the defensive play of Andrew Stewart and Paxton Wallace on the left side of the infield. Shane breaks down Wichita State’s pitching over the past 12 games, Hunter Gibson’s improvement at the plate and how the lack of mid-week games affects the NCAA regional resume.
Wichita State’s Garrett Kocis joins the podcast as the Shockers prepare for American Athletic Conference play with a 12-8 record and a four-game win streak. Kocis, a junior from Omaha, talks about watching the College World Series as a youngster, what he learned from Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm as a freshman and how he dealt with the disappointments of 2019. Kocis, who leads the Shockers with 10 home runs, also discusses his home run derby belt, chatting at first base and his favorite CWS star from his youth.
Baseball season is near and broadcaster Shane Dennis joins the podcast to discuss the 2021 Shockers. We talk about newcomers to the pitching staff, the impact of a healthy Paxton Wallace on the lineup and how the Shockers might navigate four-game weekend series. Dennis also details how coaches Gene Stephenson and Jim Thomas handled losing spades games on baseball bus trips in the 1990s, his favorite teammate nicknames and the case for playing Cooper Elliot at all nine positions in a tribute to former Shocker Mike Jones.
Sean Johnson played catcher at Wichita State from 1996-98 and worked as director of operations before embarking on a career in professional baseball. Johnson, who attended South High School, became scouting director for the Minnesota Twins in 2016. He talks about the Double A team that will play in Wichita this summer, how the Twins rebuilt their organization after a 103-loss season and the differences between AA and AAA baseball. Johnson also discusses how his time as a Shocker influenced his career, the time he threw out Randy Young in practice and cooking during the pandemic.
Fall baseball is finished and Wichita State baseball pitching coach Mike Pelfrey takes us through the developments – and some Halloween fun. We talk about his starting rotation, newcomers such as outfielder Seth Stroh and shortstop Andrew Stewart and the development of pitchers Connery Peters and Aaron Haase. Pelfrey dives into “spin rates” and how technology figures into coaching. He explains why and how Shocker coaches teach that worshipping velocity can be counterproductive for pitchers.
Junior pitcher Liam Eddy discusses the Shocker World Series, how adding a cutter expanded his repertoire and helped him rebound from a disappointing 2019 season. He reveals his father’s game-day superstitions and talks about hunting in Colorado.
Mark Grogan played baseball at Wichita State from 1982-85. His book “I Owe It all to Baseball,” details growing up in a family of nine and the drama that included. He learned to deal with his temper playing basketball and handled disappointment when the Minnesota baseball coach declined to recruit him. That rejection started him on a journey to Wichita State and a starting spot in the 1982 College World Series. He describes teasing from Charlie O’Brien at his first practice, the infamous Texas doubleheader in 1982, the rivalry with Oklahoma State and the talents of Shockers Russ Morman and Kevin Penner.
Ted Woodward is the new public address announcer for Wichita State men’s basketball. We discuss his favorite Shocker names, how an announcer tries to stay out of the spotlight, the Kevin Costner baseball regional in 1996, Woodward’s low point as a track and field announcer in college and his love for Mr. Pibb.
The 2007 and 2008 Wichita State baseball teams advanced to the program’s first super regionals, both fueled by dramatic regional victories. Outfielder Ryan Jones and shortstop Dusty Coleman talk about those moments – vs. Arizona (2007) and vs. Oklahoma State (2008). We also discuss Conor Gillaspie’s video-game energy, outfield defense, a conversation with Buster Posey and hide-and-seek in a hotel during wacky weather in Illinois.
Wichita State pitchers Jaime Bluma and Shane Dennis talk about 1990s baseball. They pitched on the 1991 and 1993 NCAA runner-ups (and the 1992 team that also played in the College World Series). We discuss the rivalry with Creighton, favorite regional memories at Eck Stadium, favorite Dreifort (Darren and Todd) home runs, Billy Hall’s surprise season and how the 1990 regional loss stuck with the 1991 team.