South Alabama's Drew LaBounty (Aaron Fitt)


Fall Report: South Alabama

Fall Report

South Alabama baseball has a pretty strong history, highlighted by a long and distinguished list of big league alumni and 27 trips to regionals since 1972. But the Jaguars have never hosted a regional, and they’ve never won a regional. Mark Calvi hopes to change those things in 2018.

The program had been scuffling when Calvi took over in 2012, but in his second season (2013), he led USA to 43 wins and its first regional since 2006. Now he’s got the Jags rolling along — they’re coming off back-to-back 40-plus win campaigns and regional trips, and they appear to have their most talented roster in Calvi’s seven-year tenure heading into 2018.

“Our goal is to win the conference and get to the postseason; we’d love to host, but we’ve got our hands full with the 30 league games we have to play. If you win the Sun Belt or you’re right at the top, with the depth of it, you could be in the talks of hosting,” Calvi said. “We’ve never hosted a regional here at South Alabama, and the program’s been to 27 regionals — that’s a goal, we’d love to host here. We have the facility, Mobile’s a great town, and it’s a big deal to host, it’s big for your university, your campus, the eyes that are on your campus watching your program now with the way college baseball is being televised and the media attention it’s getting, it’s just great for your program.”

But it isn’t really Calvi’s style to spend too much time talking with his players about Omaha or other big-picture goals; he tries to keep them focus on the day-to-day details, and hopes their preparation and hard work will pay off in June. He’s got an experienced, mature group this year, and he said he has been pleased with how they have all bought in and committed themselves to the good of the team. South Alabama’s fall workouts drew considerably more attention from scouts this year than usual because of a strong group of athletic, physical draft-eligible position players, led by potential first-rounder Travis Swaggerty. Calvi has told his guys to get used to the attention now, because it isn’t going away in the spring, so players must learn to perform under the microscope.

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