UConn baseball head coach Jim Penders has a resume chock-full of accolades: six NCAA tournament appearances, four conference Coach of the Year awards and more victories than any other manager in program history.
Seven words. That was all Jim Penders offered on what his team, who dropped back-to-back weekend series, needed to start a three-game set with Wichita State the right way.
“Mason Feole needs to be Mason Feole.”
With Dunkin Donuts Park and the city of Hartford as his backdrop, the undisputed ace of the Huskies’ staff proved why he is he just that: the ace.
Jim Penders, head coach and leader of UConn Baseball, has quite a storied career with the Huskies. A former player and assistant, he was named head coach in 2004 and in that time produced numerous professionals, as well as future coaches. The impact he has had on them, and the program, is profound. Several of them were willing to make time to share their most memorable anecdote from their time with Penders with Matt Barresi of The Daily Campus.
If you’re a reliever, you have to be prepared to come into the game at the worst possible time and clean up someone else’s mess. It’s in the job description. That’s exactly what Caleb Wurster faced when he entered the game in UConn’s 2-1 win against Rhode Island on Wednesday.
“In these situations, my mindset is always just throw strikes, trust myself, trust my pitches,” Wurster said. “I know that if I execute my pitches, I have full faith that I can get the job done.”
Jim Penders is UConn baseball. He is likely too modest to say so, but consider that prior to being named head coach in 2004, the Vernon native was both a player and assistant coach for the Huskies, the former beginning back in 1991. Of course, before he ever donned a uniform, the Penders, whose father played for the Huskies and coached high school baseball in state, found himself at many a UConn game as a member in the crowd growing up.
“As fond memories as I have of the place, and those won’t go anywhere, the field needs to go,” head coach Jim Penders said after Wednesday’s victory over Boston College. “We’re very much ready for the next chapter. Hopefully we’re playing a lot of meaningful games here in 2019, and then it’ll be ready to rest in peace.”
“I thought he was fantastic. I thought Colby did a really good job,” head coach Jim Penders said on his mid-week starter. “He gives up some hits, and that’s okay and he needs to understand that. When he gives up hits, you can still win the game. It’s when you give up hit, walk, hit batsman, then a single: that’s when you can’t give up hits. You can’t give the freebies in between hits. He didn't give up any freebies.”