Finding talent in the tri-state

Zane Clodfelter

When you ask Southern Indiana baseball Head Coach Tracy Archuleta about recruiting, it’s clear that one of his primary goals is finding talent around the tri-state.

“Every time we go out we try to get the best kids in the tri-state area,” Archuleta said. “If we are able to get guys from Evansville or the tri-state area, it helps with the community support and gets people out here.”

Archuleta has followed that plan precisely throughout his tenure on campus, and this season isn’t any different. Currently, the Eagles have nine players on its roster from Evansville with several others coming from neighboring counties and cities.

“We have a lot of USI grads who are coaches in the (city),” Archuleta said. “It definitely helps that they had a great experience here for them to push their student athletes to us.”

Redshirt freshman center fielder Kyle Kempf played for a former Eagle, Jeremy Jones, in high school at Evansville Bosse, and Kempf credits his high school coaching for making the college decision process easier.

“He was there behind me the whole time and told me it was a great school,” Kempf said about his high school coach. “I’m from Evansville so I want to represent the city and my high school.”

Archuleta credits the “player pipeline” with the good relationships maintained by coaches in the area who once played for USI.

“It’s definitely an advantage, anytime you have a kid who has played for you or has played at the university and has a good experience,” Archuleta said. “They are going to want to send their kid over here and do the same thing. If you get a kid here that has success, they will want to send their players back when they become a coach.”

Another advantage Archuleta gains from recruiting in the Evansville area is the camaraderie that his players have with one another.

“It helps as far as being able to understand each other and know what to expect from your teammates,” Archuleta said.

Redshirt freshman Andrew Cope enjoys being teammates with guys who were once adversaries in his high school playing days at Evansville Harrison.

“There are a lot of familiar faces that I know, a lot of teammates that I’ve played with and against,” Cope said. “It’s great that I get to play with them now.”

Proximity isn’t always the main factor – that’s why Cope appreciated the honesty that Archuleta displayed during his recruitment.

“(Archuleta) told me he had confidence in me, that I could come here early in my career and have an impact,” Cope said.