Croup’s Corner – Never working for milestones

Written By Josh Croup, Sports Columnist

Growing up in Puerto Rico, baseball was woven into the fabric of daily life for Point Park baseball coach Loren Torres.

He compared baseball in his home country to soccer in Central and South America and Europe. It only made sense for him to pursue a career in the sport.

Now, after 14 seasons as a head baseball coach, Torres has accumulated more than 400 wins with more than 300 of them coming out of Point Park.

He earned his 400th career win during the conference opening series against Indiana University Kokomo this season. He picked up his 300th win as the skipper of the Pioneers last weekend against Cincinnati Christian.

Torres spent the first five years at Judson University in Illinois before coming to Point Park to turn the program back into a national powerhouse. He set a program record with 53 wins in 2012, taking the Pioneers to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) World Series that year for the fifth time in program history.

He’s won the regular season conference championship five times during his Point Park tenure and has been named conference coach of the year on five separate occasions, including last year.

The head coach was honored before Sunday’s doubleheader with a ball from the 300th win commemorating his milestones that are all part of the bigger picture for head of the baseball program.

“Baseball has given me everything I have,” Torres said. “I feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life because I like baseball so much.”

He hasn’t been alone for the last nine years. Associate head coach Rocky Capobianco and assistant and pitching coach Bryan Neal have been by his side for all 300 wins throughout his journey in Pittsburgh.

The coach got the Point Park baseball program back to the national stage. The Pioneers went unranked in the NAIA Top 25 from 1999 until 2011, his second year as the head coach.

Now, Point Park is 9-0 in the River States Conference and ended Sunday with an 18-game winning streak, only dropping its season opener in a 1-0 final in Florida.

From his assistant coaches, to his players, to his co-workers; the milestones put his career into perspective.

“I’m happy, but the ultimate goal is to have the team move forward, develop relationships, make sure these guys graduate and are successful in life, and that they grow as people as much as they grow as athletes,” Torres said.

He has averaged 36 wins per year at Point Park. Some programs struggle to pick up 36 total wins across multiple seasons. Point Park certainly did before he arrived.

It’s a program that had a reputation before he arrived, but a reputation that needed a face lift. He gave it that and then some.

His 2018 team is poised to be his best yet. The Pioneers will inevitably see their long winning streak end. How they work through adversity mentally will prove a lot about a team that has dominated most opponents throughout the season.

He preaches hard work and mental toughness. They’re traits that any good baseball club needs to succeed. Preaching is one thing, getting players to buy into a system is another.

So far, he has done that – and he still hasn’t worked a day in his life.