First Director Ryan Wolak charting a report during the first fall contest with CBAT involvement.
The inaugural CBAT Class of 2020.
(Left to Right) Henry Dunham, John Weber, Ian Ogea, Ryan Wolak, Gunnar Sehon, Rourke Jensen.
The meeting in May of 2019 came about by happenstance, but the result seemed to be destined.
Ryan Wolak, a then-Sophomore at Creighton, met Pitching Coach Eric Wordekemper and was brought-on as an assistant. The goal was to help work with and collect data from new machines and software that the Jays had recently acquired. Before the summer had ended, the idea was conceived for Wolak to look for other like-minded students and potentially lead a team- if there was enough interest, that is. With the assist of professors in the Heider College of Business, Wolak got the word out about the fledgling program. The response was significant, with over two dozen students reaching out and displaying interest. Economics Professors Tim Bastian and Kate Sheehan helped lead the charge from a faculty perspective. By the end of the fall, Wolak hired a team of five students to become the first official class of the Creighton Baseball Analytics Team (CBAT).
The 2020 Class: Ryan Wolak (Director), Ian Ogea, Rourke Jensen, John Weber, Henry Dunham and Gunnar Sehon.
With the 2020 season shortened due to COVID, CBAT was unable to hit its stride in its debut year. Though they missed out on a chance to gain the experience a full season would bring, the team took the opportunity to add to their marketing efforts. More professors and faculty got involved, and the team looked to expand their ranks for the 2020-21 school year. Over the course of the summer, Wolak and the team received over 50 contacts from interested students or other members of the Creighton alumni community, looking to learn more about the program. By the end of the summer, CBAT hired 8 new members.
The 2021 Class: Cam Kresko, Pete Rudnick, Aidan Herguth, Trevor Ordway, Meghan Baudendistal, Jack Caton, Karli Sugar and Jack Marasco.
The pandemic and its restrictions remained an obstacle during the 2021 season, with the team's access to practice data limited. However, it also marked the first full season that the team was able to get under their belts. Working from high atop then-TD Ameritrade Park, the team operated the Trackman Baseball machine to collect game data, and built several reports designed to assist the on-field strategy and product. Throughout '21, the team also became involved in the advanced scouting process, leveraging Synergy software under the guidance of Wordekemper and Hitting Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Connor Gandossy. Head Coach Ed Servais encouraged the team to collect practice data as often as possible. The team would often be found monitoring fielding practice with clipboards and stopwatches that would be used to track progress and development over the course of the season.
Wolak graduated after the 2021 season, and it was time to appoint a new director. The program being 'student-led, coach-guided' was a crucial component of the function, in Wolak's eyes, and while he would continue to oversee the program in the future, a student leader was necessary for the day-to-day operations and cultural development of the program. Rourke Jensen was named the second Director of CBAT in June of 2021. He will serve through the 2023 spring campaign. Jensen impressed Wolak with his dedication and organizational skills. He possessed all the necessary components of a leader in this field. Wolak also empowered Jensen to conduct the continuing marketing and hiring process on his own. Jensen responded with 8 new additions for the 2022 campaign.
The 2022 Class: Ben Moreland, Caleb Hauser, Andrew Johnston, Richie Saville, Matthew Tanner, Diego Dominguez and Connor Smith
In the fall before this past season, CBAT attended the College Baseball Student Managers Conference (CBSMC) hosted by Miami University alongside analytics programs from Wake Forest and Central Michigan, among others.
The 2022 season was a landmark for CBAT on social media, as the account has accumulated a following that cracks the Top 10 amongst all college baseball programs (a surprisingly competitive arena).
CBAT will cap-off its largest and most successful campaign thus far with its crowning achievement- being selected to assist the NCAA as its official provider of advanced metrics for the College World Series!