Archive for May, 2011
In true Argonaut fashion we came out with great pitching and defense. All-American Danny Vargas had his Roy Halladay mojo going and tossed 8 shut out innings allowing 2 hits. A dominating performance once again, and he improves his record to 15-1. Zach North came in to pitch in the 9th and escaped with no runs. It was great for Zach to get into the game because his family was only able to stay for the first game, and as a senior this would be the last time his family got to see him pitch. They should be very proud.
During the game, All-American Greg Pron broke the record that most people thought wouldn’t be broken for a long time. Pron broke the career hits record with his 288th career hit! Pron is my roommate on the road, so I continually reminded him how many away he was and that the power of my sock will bring him to the promise land. He’s used about 4 of my socks throughout the last 2 months. They were my socks when I was an outfielder, so the only thing that makes sense to me is that with each pair of socks, there is a certain number of hits in each pair… and I barely used up any of them, so there are plenty left in them! The same goes for Taye Larry wearing number 2, I’ve told him all year that there are plenty of hits still left in that number.
It was a GREAT team victory, winning 13-0 against a team with the best ERA in the country, and against a pitcher was voted First team All-America. It was obvious who the better team was, and that Danny deserved that honor. Dustin Lawley had a great game with 4 hits, and everyone in the lineup did something to help us win the game. I also have to give the Latino Sensation, Justin Bennett some credit for a great pinch hit 2 RBI single in his CWS debut!
The team is off today, and we are going to UNC Chapel Hill to do some sight seeing and continue to soak in everything that there is to offer at the College World Series! Thanks to everyone in Pensacola who was watching the game last night! I hope my Stache looked good on T.V.
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Philip Ebert #36
In true University of West Florida fashion, the bad weather has followed us to The College World Series. Day 1 consisted of waking up early, and traveling to North Carolina State (NC State) for a quick workout. Strength Coach, and former Argonaut Pitcher, Nick Presley was able to make the trip with the team to Cary, and used his networking skills to land us an hour in the Wolfpack weight room. Coming from a smaller school like UWF, it was cool to see a bigger ACC facility and compare it what we have. We were able to work out in the Basketball weight room, and honestly, I would have picked UWF’s weight room over NC State’s The strength team at UWF has done a great job with not only the baseball team, but all athletes at UWF!
Friday night was the annual Team Banquet, and that was when this whole experience really kicked in. Right when we got off the elevator, there it was…. The National Championship hardware! It was beautiful, and it just reminded us all of when we were rushing the field in chaos on Monday when we won the regional.
During the banquet, an award was given to Senior, Zach North. The award was called the NCAA Elite 88 award. This award is given to the top Student-Athlete at the Championship level. A extremely prestigious award, and Zach deserves it. With a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.97 it was hard for anyone else to really have a chance. Zach is a prime example of a STUDENT-athlete, and I emphasize the student part, because that’s what makes a truly successful athlete. Zach always put the same effort into his school work as he would baseball. That is why he has been successful in the classroom, on the field, and there is no doubt he will be a success in the working world. Congratulations Zach!
While at the College World Series, we will be taking part in a Kids Baseball Clinic. This is a great opportunity to help with younger students of the game, and be role models to kids who dream of being in a position that we are lucky enough to be in this week. I’ve always enjoyed doing baseball clinics, because when I was younger I went to every camp I could because there was always something new to learn. It should be an exciting day in Cary, and I’ll do my best to get some pictures for my next update.
My Stache is still going strong, but my blonde roots have started to grow in, so the blackness has worn off. It is still magical and majestic, but I am still not even close to the beauty of Jordan Raskinski’s bearded masterpiece!
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Philip Ebert 36
Greetings baseball enthusiast! Excuse my excitement but……. WE ARE GOING TO THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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South Regional Champs!
What a unbelievable experience that took place on Monday! Winning the way we did made everything so much more exciting and worth the stress! Losing the first game was tough, but with both teams basically running on fumes, it really came down to who wanted to win more! Throughout the entire game, and especially the last 5 innings our team was talking about how all of the hard work we’ve put in during practice and the countless hours being pushed to exhaustion in the weight room would help us now! WE NEEDED TO DIG DOWN DEEP!
In game 2 on championship day we sent the true freshmen Kevin Peters to the mound to start the biggest game of his life, and the biggest game in school history! He had great stuff, and we were all very proud of the way he competed! He eventually came out of the game after giving up 2 runs, but did everything he could during the game to help us maintain the lead! He has been better than anyone could have imagined this year, and has an incredibly bright future at UWF! As a freshmen, he’s seen the way a winning team has worked together, and the way the game should and will be played at UWF!
4 Amigos: Hawk, Danny, Peters, Postill
In relief of Peters was Danny Vargas! Danny came in on 2 days rest and was not going to be beat twice in one day… especially at home! Danny gave up a jam job single down the right field line, and 2 of the inherited runners scored. Tied 4-4, we had to dig deep and scratch across a run! We did just that…. and again in the next 2 innings!
With one out in the 7th, we called on “The Bulldog” Shane Waller, the nations best closer, and he was never going to pitch in a bigger situation than this! Shane got out of a bases loaded 1 out jam in the 7th, and we all knew it was over after that! Shane got through the 8th with little trouble, and the stage was set for the final inning!
With a three run cushion, and Waller on the mound, there was no way we going to lose that game! With one out remaining, Waller got the batter to 2 strikes…. with over 700 people on their feet going absolutely crazy the stage was set to experience every kids dream, rushing the field because you are going to the COLLEGE WORLD SERIES!
When Shane struck out the final batter, everything just went blank…. All I remember is standing next to Coach Gierke, shaking him for a second before I rushed the field, running with my arms in the air, and screaming as loud as I could! We didn’t actually dog pile, because we didn’t want anyone to get hurt, but we embraced each other as we jumped up and down. It was a perfect moment! It has been funny watching video and seeing pictures of when we rushed the field… Its all just a blur when you are in the moment, but its a feeling that I’ll never forget! It was the first time I’ve been on a team that won something that was worthy of rushing the field!
Go Crazy folks, GO CRAZY!
After we rushed, our President, Dr. Judy Bense presented us with the championship trophy and we all huddled up while Coach Jeffcoat held it up high! What happened next was something that still gives me chills when I think about it! With all of our screaming fans still going crazy, we decided to circle around home plate, and Coach Jeffcoat gave me the trophy and I did our pregame pump up routine on center stage! I started with trophy on home plate, flailed my arms, in a way that only I can… and picked up the trophy and held it up high and kept right on dancing! It was so special for me because it showed me how much I really meant to my teammates! They wanted me to the be the one to get the trophy first, and being able to perform that routine was something special!
The fan support during the tournament was great, and really made the moment that much more special. I know if there wasn’t someone to restrain the fans from jumping the fence they would have been right there with us in the pile! At a smaller university like UWF, you get the chance to know the people in the stands! They were our friends before they were ever fans!
That's me, doing my thing!
In wake of winning the regional, there is still an important message to be known… We can’t be happy just to have gotten to the World Series, we have to keep the same mentality and energy that helped us win all year! If we do that, and lay it all on the line the possibilities of this team are endless!
I want to thank everybody that made this possible! Our President, Dr. Judy Bense, AD Dave Scott, Assistant AD Tony Nguyen, Melanie Burke (kept us all alive), every body who put in all the hours to prepare the field for the tournament, all of the families that made the trip to Pensacola, and the over 3,200 fans that came out to Jim Spooner Field throughout the tournament to support us! Without all of you, this wouldn’t be possible!
Wish us luck while we continue to make history, and try to bring a National Championship to UWF and the city of Pensacola!
Philip Ebert 36
Freshmen from 08' Its been a long ride!
Roomie Pic! Ebert (stache), Bennett, Day
Coach Jeffcoat and Lawley
Coach Cottrell and Coach Brown
Great fan support!
Red Shirt Society!!
Coach Gierke and Coach Jeffcoat
Pron and our trainer Mel!
SEASIDE, Calif. – The Cal State Monterey Bay coaching staff has started out the late signing period with a bang, signing seven student-athletes to play for the Otters in the 2012 season.
Combined with the nine early signees, the new staff’s first ever-recruiting class at CSUMB currently stands at 16 new players.
“This first wave of late sign recruits is an exciting bunch,” said head coach Walt White. “They are all extremely talented players that had plenty of other options to continue their baseball careers. They all chose MB Baseball because they deeply believe in what we are building here. Combined with the early signs, our recruiting class is as dynamic and talented as anyone’s out there. All of these players will be great college players and some will go on and play professionally.”
White made it very clear that the recruiting class is not yet complete.
“There is an extremely high level of interest in our baseball program right now,” White said. “There are several junior college and high school players that we still want to join us. We will finish this off right in the early summer. We expect this class of young men to lead us to a championship next year. Our staff has done an unbelievable job identifying and recruiting these players.”
Sean Borboa – RHP – Hanford West High School: A big righty, Sean Borboa currently sports a 5-2 record in 30 innings pitched with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). Borboa has struck out 29 batters and only walked nine. He has also been a force at the plate, hitting .369 with a team-leading 18 RBI.
Coach White on Borboa: “Sean is a big, strong right-handed pitcher. He has an advanced feel for pitching for a high school player. He can throw three pitches for strikes and understands how to get people out. We feel he can project into a good college pitcher and we know he has the work ethic to enhance his skills and be great for us.”
Andres Coll – IF – Arleta High School: The Mustang second baseman, Andres Coll leads Arleta in hitting and is a defensive specialist. Coll is currently supporting a .418 batting average with 25 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Coll also leads a strong Arleta defense and that is a big reason the Mustangs sit atop their league.
Coach White on Coll: “Andres is going to be a lot of fun for everyone here at CSUMB to watch play. He has a lively and upbeat personality that is really going to keep things loose for our squad. On top of his personality, he is a very good young baseball player. He can really run and is going to be a good college hitter. He can play multiple positions and is extremely coachable.”
Ryan Cruz – RHP – Kennedy High School: Right-handed pitcher Ryan Cruz is
one of the most accomplished pitchers in the Los Angeles area. A three-year varsity ace and 2010 All-City performer, Cruz currently holds a 7-1 record with six complete games, one shut out, and a 1.21 ERA. Cruz was also a Los Angeles Times preseason “Player to Watch.”
Coach White on Cruz: “Ryan Cruz was one of our primary targets from the start of our recruiting this year. He is an exciting young pitcher that really understands what it takes to get people out. He is very polished for a high school arm and should be able to contribute from Day 1. All he does is win and we expect him to lead us to a lot of championships in the future. He has the right attitude and mindset for the kind of players we want here.”
Brian Haggett – 1B – Sacramento State: Transferring to CSUMB from Sacramento State is local star Brian Haggett. The San Benito High School grad transfers after a successful junior college career at West Valley College. While with the Vikings, Haggett hit .401 with 26 RBI’s and 2 homeruns in his sophomore season. Haggett was a two-time All Golden Gate Conference selection in junior college.
Coach White on Haggett: “Brian fills a huge need for us as a left-handed hitting first baseman. We expect him to come in and contribute immediately and hit in the middle of our lineup. He is a good athlete and has an advanced feel for the game. He is also a very good student and has a championship demeanor. He is exactly what we are looking for in our student-athletes.”
Brett Hammond – LHP – El Toro High School: A big, athletic lefty, Brett Hammond has served in a variety of roles for El Toro. In 2010, Hammond led the Sea View league with a 1.47 ERA and also sported a 5:1 K/BB ratio and held opponents to a .221 on base percentage. Hammond has been a part of two El Toro League Championships and looks to add a third at the conclusion of this season.
Coach White on Hammond: “Brett is an exciting young pitcher. He will have immediate value to us because he is so versatile on the mound. He can pitch in situations, close, and start for us. He comes from one of the best programs in Southern California and has been coached at a high level versus great competition. On the mound he has great sink on his fastball and change-up and has a developing breaking ball. He is a very good athlete and is a high energy pitcher.”
Javy Lopez – RHP/IF – Arleta High School: Javy Lopez is well known in Southern California for his supreme athleticism and rocket right arm. Lopez was an All-City pitcher in 2010 and was also on the USA Baseball Developmental team. Currently, Lopez is one of the most feared players in the Los Angeles area, sporting a 2.02 ERA to go along with his 4-1 record and 43 strikeouts. On offense, Lopez leads the team with three home runs and is hitting .375.
Coach White on Lopez: “Javy might be the biggest recruit that CSUMB has ever signed. He turned down a lot of big schools because he has a deep belief in what we are building here and the kind of experience that we provide our players. He is an immensely talented athlete that will be a handful for our opponents to deal with. To go along with his obvious physical skills, he is a very special person. He is everything we look for in a player and we can’t wait to get him in Blue and Gold.”
Ty Morris – IF – North Monterey County: Ty Morris is a dynamic switch-hitting infielder that flashes an advanced offensive approach with his great athleticism on defense. In 2010, he was an All-Monterey Bay League first team selection. With his senior season coming to an end, Morris is hitting .495 with three home runs, three triples, eight doubles, and a Monterey Bay League leading 33 RBI. Morris is the first baseball player ever to sign a scholarship out of North Monterey County.
Coach White on Morris: “Ty Morris is an extremely exciting addition to our program. He is a dynamic young player and about as good as a shortstop as you will see at the high school level. He comes from good bloodlines and really understands the game at a high level. He is very projectable and will be an impact player right away. Along with the rest of this recruiting class, Ty is an outstanding young man that will represent this university the right way. I cannot wait to coach him.”
Going into Saturday’s game, pitcher Jason Postill had something to prove. After starting 11-0 on the year, Jason’s last two starts had been rough. His last start in the conference tournament was his worst start of the year, and for someone who is so fired up to pitch, it was difficult for him to sit around and wait two weeks to get the chance to get back on the mound and prove himself!
Well, in the biggest game of my life, his life, and the programs history he came with his best stuff! The stage was set for a rematch against conference rival North Alabama, and Pensacola came out in full force! The stands were packed with the Argonaut faithful, and Postill gave them a great show!
After going down 1-0 in the top of the first, Dustin Lawley came up and blasted a two run bomb into the oak trees! Postill never looked back, and went into Lawn Care mode… mowing down North Alabama batters! The defense came ready to play as well, with a few spectacular plays made by gold glove shortstop Brandon Brewer! He’s been a solid catalyst at the Prime Time position all year!
We have been playing a great style of baseball throughout the tournament, keeping great energy during all parts of the game! The offense came ready to prove that the conference tournament was a fluke, and that we were ready to make a push to be the first team to dog pile on Jim Spooner Field!
Brandon "Prime Time" Brewer
The Argonauts are prime to make that a reality on Monday, when we play in the regional championship! Our pitchers are fresh, and whomever we play will be running on fumes, because they’ll have to eventually beat us twice on championship day! Its been a great four years for me at UWF, but nothing could be better than winning this regional in front of our fans and going to the College World Series… well… maybe one thing would be better, but you’ll have to stay tuned until next week to see how that ends up!
Thursday was the beginning of the South Regional and it was difficult to get a good night of sleep! I was up early, around 7:30 to get up to the field. One of my responsibilities on the team is to put up the American Flag before each game with Houston Brown. Only the freshmen were supposed to be at the field early, but I wasn’t going to allow anyone to touch the flag… bad voodoo!
On the 18th, Jordan Rasinski and I bought black beard dye to make our facial hair stick out better. Jordan has been growing his beard all season, and resembles All-Star closer, Brian Wilson. I don’t have the good fortune of growing a thick beard, so I settled for a solid mustache. For a blond guy, a black stache sticks out and while walking around town I’ve been getting a lot of double takes. Five words for everyone to absorb: FEAR THE BEARD and STACHE!
Game 1 ended in a 10-1 victory over Stillman College. For the first time in a while, the team had a different energy that most teams experience before their first game! Any athlete knows what feeling I’m talking about. The feeling of being nervous, anxious, and ready to prove something!
Korey Domenick and Brandon Brewer were the offensive leaders in game one, while Ben Hawkins shut down the Tigers. Hawkins allowed 1 run over 8 innings! We scored 2 runs in the first inning, and the team kept great energy throughout the rest of the game! The attitude of the team felt like how it was when we were trying to prove to the country we were the number 1 team! Rankings don’t matter now, but the energy we brought was contagious! Pensacola stepped up and came out to the ballpark! It was easily the most people we’ve had at a game this year, and I hope the support continues!
TINO MARTINEZ AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED The candidates for the 2011 Tino Martinez Award for DII Baseball Player for the Year have been narrowed down to eight deserving athletes. The list of finalists was originally intended to be limited to five players; however the impressive stats compiled by this octet of athletes over the past season made it impossible to leave any off the list.
The eight finalists are:
• Matt Johnson, OF, Arkansas Tech Wonderboys
• Ajay Meyer, SP, Ashland Eagles
• Dean Green, 1B, Barry Bucs
• Chase Larsson, OF, Cameron Aggies
• Ryan Thompson, SP, Franklin Pierce Ravens
• Carter Capps, SP, Mount Olive Trojans
• Nathan Minnich, DH, Shepherd Rams
• Dodson McPherson, OF, Wingate Bulldogs
Initial nominations for the award were made by baseball sports information contacts and media members. A national panel of media, coaches and sports information officers was polled to finalize the candidates. The group will once again vote on the finalists, and an Internet vote will also contribute to the crowning of the winner.
The winner will be announced after the conclusion of the DII Baseball Championship held in Cary , NC from May 28th to June 4th.
Last year, Bryan Fogle of Erskine won the first edition of the award after batting .430 and leading DII with 28 home runs, 103 RBI (the second most in NCAA history) and 203 total bases. Fogle was drafted by Tampa Bay following the season and is currently in the Rays’ minor league system. Runner-up Hayden Simpson of Southern Arkansas was a first round draft choice of the Chicago Cubs.
The award is presented to the most outstanding player in DII college baseball. The annual honor is named after the former University of Tampa Spartan , United States Olympian, first round draft pick and MLB All-Star, Tino Martinez.
MATT JOHNSON, ARKANSAS TECH WONDERBOYS
Johnson was named the GSC West Division Player of the Year and earning unanimous First-Team All-GSC West Division accolades the past two seasons. On the season, Johnson, who was named to the GSC All-Tournament Team and is poised to become just the second All-American in baseball in the school’s Division II era, hit .454 and leads all of Division II in runs per game (1.55), runs scored (79) and hits (97) and is fifth nationally in total bases (156) and is 12th nationally in stolen bases (37). He closed out the season having recorded a hit in 34 consecutive games and is fifth nationally in batting average. Additionally, Johnson recorded 22 doubles, had four triples, nine home runs and 50 RBIs. He holds single-season school records for hits (99), runs scored (79), total bases (156) and stolen bases (37) and is the school’s all-time leader in triples (10), and finished second on the school’s all-time charts in batting average (.436), runs scored (149) and stolen bases (73), seventh in career hits (183), eighth in career doubles (33) and sixth in career total bases (265). On the season, he had a team-leading 32 multi-hit games and 13 multiple RBI contests.
AJAY MEYER, ASHLAND EAGLES
Meyer put together one of the best pitching seasons in recent AU memory. He was 9-3 with a 1.47 ERA in the regular season and set the school single-season record for complete games with 11. Meyer is the GLIAC leader in strikeouts (94) and innings pitched (92.0) and is tied for the league lead with nine wins. He made 15 appearances and also had two saves this season to go along with three complete game shutouts. The Hamler, Ohio native went the distance in all but one of his starts. In nine of his appearances he allowed no earned runs. Opponents are batting just .187 off him this season and he has walked just 13 batters. On May 7, he threw the first one-hitter of his career against visiting Hillsdale. For his career, Meyer is 19-5 with 19 complete games.
DEAN GREEN, BARRY BUCS
A senior from Tulsa , Okla. , Green proved to be one of the most potent hitters in the SSC, ranking among the league’s best in a number of offensive categories. Green’s .402 batting average was second among SSC hitters, while he led the conference with a .810 slugging percentage, .523 on-base percentage, 71 RBI, and 18 home runs. Additionally, he ranked third with 19 doubles and 74hits. At one point in the season, Green carried a 21-game hitting streak. He was named SSC Player of the Week three consecutive weeks during that span.
CHASE LARSSON, CAMERON AGGIES
Larsson was recently named the NCBWA South Central Region’s Player of the Year, while also picking up first team honors on the South Central All-Region Team. Larsson had one of the most dominant seasons in the history of college baseball, leading the nation in home runs (29), RBI (84), slugging percentage (1.000), total bases (190), and runs scored (74) in his first season in Division II. He also set a new NCAA DII record for the most consecutive games with a homer (9), tops among all NCAA divisions.
RYAN THOMPSON, FRANKLIN PIERCE RAVENS
Thompson, a sophomore right-hander, who transferred from the University of Connecticut , had a dominant year for the Ravens on the mound as he went 10-1 in eleven starts. Thompson’s ten wins led the Northeast-10, and his 105 strikeouts are also tops in the league. Not only are his numbers good to lead the conference, Thompson is among the leaders nationally in a number of categories. His ERA is currently 0.92, which puts him second nationally, and his 11.84 strikeouts per nine innings is eleventh best in the country. As of this release, his strikeout total was also good for ninth among Division II student-athletes.
CARTER CAPPS, MOUNT OLIVE TROJANS
Capps, a converted catcher, was named 2011 Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year and Most Valuable Player of this year’s Conference Carolinas Tournament. Prior to the start of the season, Capps was selected as Baseball America ‘s Preseason Division II National Pitcher of the Year and Top Prospect among Division II Players. Capps is 12-0 this season, becoming the first pitcher in Trojan history to record at least 10 wins in consecutive seasons. He is unbeaten in his collegiate career with a 22-0 record. His 22 consecutive wins is an NCAA Division II record, breaking the previous record of 21. Capps, who has a 1.72 earned run average, tossed a no-hitter against Coker this season, only the third in school history and the first-ever nine-inning no-hitter.
NATHAN MINNICH, SHEPHERD RAMS
Minnich was named the WVIAC Hitter of the Year and shared the WVIAC Player of the Year honors. He started all 37 games for the Rams, batting a league-best .433 with 52 hits in 120 at-bats. He also led the conference with 14 homers and 103 total bases while finishing third in runs (42) and RBIs (38). He led Shepherd in nine different offensive categories, including walks (28), on-base percentage (.553) and slugging (.858). His 14 homers were more than the rest of the team combined. Minnich ranks among NCAA Division II leaders in several categories — on-base percentage (3rd), homers per game (4th), slugging percentage (4th), homers (tied for 10th) and batting average (10th).
DODSON McPHERSON, WINGATE BULLDOGS
McPherson is the 2011 SAC Player of the Year. He led the conference in hits (91), runs (65), RBI (77), triples (five), homers (17), and slugging percentage (.748). He finished second in the league in batting average (.410), total bases (166) and on-base percentage (.475). McPherson is also among the national leaders in several categories, ranking second in hits, fourth in RBI and total bases, fifth in homers and runs scored and 11th in slugging percentage. He reached base safely in 53 of Wingate’s 54 games during the season and helped the Bulldogs to a second-place finish during the regular season, while leading Wingate to its first Food Lion SAC tournament title since 1998.
Tuesday’s practice was the last real practice we were going to have before our game on Thursday. While workers were putting the last touches on the field to make it as perfect as it could be before the tournament, we were forced to have to work around all the chaos.
We started practice by hitting on the field, but had to stop because of the workers in the outfield. Hitters were sent to the cages while pitchers got to hit fungos to infielders. I think it would be safe to say that I am the best fungo hitter on the team. There are many people out there that think they are better, but the infielders wouldn’t lie when they say they prefer me hitting to them.
With that being said, I’m taking fifty percent of the credit for our stellar defense! Twenty-five percent goes to Coach Pat Cottrell, twenty percent to Coach Jeffcoat for our 21 out drill, and the final five percent will be the errors that are attributed to Coach Kyle Brown.
Pitchers then did some PFP’s (pitchers fielding practice). Everything that we do on the field during practice is done at game speed. This is what has set us apart from all of the other teams we’ve played this year. We will never face a situation in a game that we haven’t prepared for during practice… we may not make the play every time, but there’s no doubt that we have prepared like champions.
As we closed out practice, we took some time to reflect back on some funny memories we’ve been apart of this year. It was fun for me to hear some of the things that have happened throughout my four years at UWF! Our team is ready for Thursday, and with a 30-1 record at home, I like our odds! GO ARGOS!
Philip Ebert #36
While sitting in the Argonaut Athletic Club on Sunday, waiting to find out if our baseball team would be hosting its first ever NCAA Division II Regional, a sense of pride and excitement overtook the room. For me personally, I had the sense of unfinished business.
I want to win! I want to do whatever it takes to win! I want our team to play the way we played while trying to prove we were the best team in the country! We have a close team, the closest I’ve ever been apart of, and I know many other players would say the same!
Our goal all along was to put UWF in a position to host the regional, because history has shown that the hosting team has the best chance of going to the College World Series. It makes sense; we practice there every day, play the majority of our games there, and have put countless hours into making it one of the most premier facilities in all of college baseball!
Our team is full of oddballs and we each have our own individual routines and superstitions. One funny thing we do is screaming “CODE RED,” which means everybody drops to the ground when a plane flies overhead.
A month ago, while playing at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Greg Pron had a sock that had stretched and would not stay on his leg. So, I offered one of my socks because I brought another pair. Since that weekend, Pron has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball! Coincidence? I don’t think so!
My socks are magical, but only one at a time. Jason Postill found out that wearing two of my socks worked in the opposite way. He had a sketchy start in the conference tournament, but has been adamant in wanting to get back on the mound!
The team was disappointed with the loss at the conference tournament, but don’t think for a second we won’t be ready to compete in the regional for the chance to go to the World Series! We know there are things that need to be covered before Thursday, and we only a few more days to get things right.
One thing that Coach Jeffcoat brought to our attention was during this type of tournament, you cannot worry about who gets the credit! The credit will take care of itself when there is a picture of the team piling up next to the pitchers mound! Everyone needs to be on the same page so we can get the train going in right direction!
There are been a lot of renovations going on at Jim Spooner Field! The scoreboard has been outfitted with new “West Florida” billboards and banners. All of the buildings have been retro fitted with new paint jobs, and best of all we have a brand new professional mound! The mound has been built up and looks legit!
Be sure to follow the Argonauts at WWW.GOARGOS.COM for complete updates throughout the tournament!
When I last blogged I was preparing for my first start as a Concordia Golden Bear, and nobody was wondering if I was recently in Missouri. Sitting in fifth place in the conference standings, we had won seven of our last eight contests. Things were looking good.
We headed to Winona, Minn. for a mid-week conference double-header with Winona State University. At the time, the Warriors were the top-ranked team in the NSIC.
We drove down that morning, passing snow on the highway as we drove–just a typical April in Minnesota. I listened to music and tried to relax as I mentally prepared for my start.
After sitting through batting practice, I stared to get warmed up for the game. Jogs to the outfield, leg-kicks, toe-touches, high-knees, butt-kicks, shuffles, and carioca, and I was loose.
After long-tossing and throwing in the bullpen I was ready to go. I was sharp in the bullpen throwing everything for strikes, with good movement and velocity.
Troy DuBay led off the top of the first inning with a single, but was out on a fielder’s choice by the next hitter. Our three and four hitters both flied out to end the inning.
I took the mound for my first start as a Golden Bear. My first pitch of the game was a fastball to preseason All-American outfielder Tony Mueller for strike one. I followed that with another located fastball to bring the count to 0-2. After two consecutive pitches out of the zone made the count 2-2, the catcher called for an inside fastball. I delivered the pitch perfectly on the hands of the right-handed hitting Mueller, who made contact just above the handle. The ball chopped straight into the ground and took a high bounce to the first base side of the pitcher’s mound. The ball fell out of my reach as the speedy runner made it safely to first for an infield single.
With no outs and a runner on first, the catcher called for a throw-over to first base. I came set, came up into my leg kick, and fired the ball over the first baseman’s head. The runner advanced to second base and I was charged with a throwing error.
I walked the next two hitters to load the bases with no outs. I recorded my only out of the game against the clean-up hitter, striking him out looking on a 3-2 fastball. The next hitter singled to centerfield, and the flood gates open.
I faced nine hitters, giving up eight runs on three hits and five walks. The strike out was the only out I recorded before being pulled in favor of righty Zach Goodwin. Goodwin had his best outing of the season, allowing just one earned run over four solid innings of work.
Winona scored nine runs in the first inning, and won 12-5.
Needing a big-time performance, we sent senior stopper Nick Anderson to the mound in game two. Anderson delivered an unbelievable performance to bring life back into the Golden Bears.
Anderson threw 144 pitches in a complete game effort. He scattered seven hits and allowed only one earned run in a gutsy 3-2 victory. Junior outfielder Kris Long drove in the winning singling to left field in the ninth inning.
The split kept us in fifth place in the conference standings and helped our regional consideration with a victory over a top-ranked opponent.
The following day we hosted Wayne State College for a four-game conference weekend series. The games were played on Friday and Saturday because of Easter, meaning we had six games in three days. To make things even more interesting, ace Ben Lemke was scratched from his start against Wayne State because of a pulled oblique.
Chris Peterson moved up to take the ball in place of Lemke. Petey delivered a solid outing, but we could not get our offense going. We fell to the Wildcats 7 to 3 in game one of the weekend series. Peterson threw all seven innings to give our depleted bullpen a rest.
In game two, we turned to sophomore reliever Griff Kilber for a spot start. Kilber gave his best performance of the year taking a 4-2 lead into the seventh inning. After loading the bases with no outs, Kilber was taken out of the game. With the bullpen thin, I was given the ball despite the rough outing just 24 hours before.
Head coach Lunch McKenzie told me to not think about yesterday, throw strikes, and get this first hitter to hit a ground ball to the first baseman for a 3-2-4 double play and hold the lead.
I was confident in spite of my previous outing. On the third pitch of the at-bat the hitter bounced a ball towards the first baseman, it appeared as if I had done exactly what Lunch asked. But, just as redshirt freshman Elliot Powell was about to scoop up the ball and fire home, the ball took a giant hop off the infield lip and over his head into right field. Instead of collecting two outs on one play, Wayne State scored two runs to tie the game.
The next batter grounded out to the first baseman, this time the ball didn’t take any crazy bounces, but another run scored on the play to make the score 5-4 Wildcats. After a double, a walk, and an error, I finally got the inning’s tenth hitter to strike out swinging to end the frame.
The damage was done as the Wildcats held a 6-4 lead. There would only be one more base runner the rest of the game as I retired the Wildcats 1-2-3 in each of the last two innings, but our offense could only muster one hit the rest of the way as Wayne State capped off a comeback victory.
We came back the next morning ready to fight the Wildcats and get our momentum back. We went with freshman starter Adam Kramer. He took a 5 to 4 lead into the sixth inning of a seven inning contest before Wayne State struck again. After the wildcats rallied to take the lead, we turned to Nick Anderson on short-rest. The Wildcats were able to figure out the tired righty as they scored eight runs in the inning to take a commanding 12 to 5 lead.
With another game left to play that afternoon and needing to save what was left of our bullpen, Lunch again turned to me in the seventh. After striking out the first batter of the inning, things came apart for the defense. The next hitter reached on an error, followed by an infield single, a home run, another single, and another error. Finally, the last two hitters bounced ground ball outs to end the inning.
We lost game three of the series 16 to 6, before losing game four 6 to 3 and being swept in a weekend series for the first time all season.
I threw in all three days of competition that week. On the week, I threw four innings, gave up 11 earned runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking seven. Not very good stats, but I was proud of the way I battled back. After the day one disaster, I was able to put up solid stats against Wayne State; with the WSC totals reading: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.
We put the sweep behind us and headed to Sioux Falls, S. D. for a mid-week double-header with Augusta College, another top-ranked team in the conference.
The games followed an almost identical path of the week before. This time our starter gave up eight runs in the second inning on five walks, and Auggie cruised to a 9 to 3 victory.
Once again we turned to Anderson when we needed a big victory. As always, he delivered. This time Anderson threw 160 pitches as he authored a ten-inning complete game victory over Auggie 7 to 6. Anderson battled out of big situations all day, including a lead-off double in the bottom of the tenth inning. Again, he led us to another big mid-week split with a top-ranked team from our conference.
The schedule seemed to look favorable for us as the tenth ranked team in the conference headed to St. Paul for a conference weekend series. If we could sweep all four games we would balance out the four losses to Wayne State and be back to a secure position in the standings.
However, Mother Nature struck again. After sweeping Northern State in day one, 5-0 and 9-5 the rain began to fall. The rest of the series was rained out, and we would not have the chance to get anymore wins.
That meant we were in sixth place going into the final week of the season, with Minnesota-Duluth and Upper Iowa right on our tails. Luckily, we controlled our own destiny as Minnesota-Duluth came to St. Paul for a mid-week double-header.
We had ace Ben Lemke back on the mound for game one against the visiting Bulldogs. Lemke delivered; tossing a complete-game and allowing just one unearned run on seven hits. We had just enough offense winning 3 to 1.
The win set up a chance to sweep the double-header and bury the Bulldogs for good. Freshman Adam Kramer gave his best start of the season allowing just one earned run over 6.1 innings, but the Bulldogs pitching staff was a little better. They held the Golden Bear offense to just one run, and flipped the game one score holding on for a 3-1 victory.
The Golden Bear offense didn’t go down without a fight. We loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning before J.T. Schneider and Troy DuBay both hit line drives into the gloves of outfielders, DuBay’s coming on the 12th pitch of his at-bat.
The loss opened the door for the Bulldogs to catch us in the standings. They hosted Minnesota-Crookston for a four game weekend series. Crookston holding an 0-35 record heading into the weekend, while we had a home-home weekend series with the region’s top-ranked team and #13 nationally St. Cloud State.
We had three tightly contested games, but the Huskies broke the score open in crucial moments. We lost all three before Mother Nature cancelled the fourth game of the series, the 19th weather related cancellation of the season.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs took care of Crookston four times, to jump us in the standings and steal the sixth spot in the NSIC Tournament. We finished one game out of the tournament for the second time in three years.
We were in tournament qualifying position every day of the season, only falling out of it on the final Sunday of the regular season.
We said goodbye to our three seniors following the game: Sam Fagely, a right fielder from Mahtomedi, Minn. (2011 NSIC Gold-Glove Team); Jon Stockton, a left fielder from Oakdale, Minn. (2011 Second-Team NSIC All-Conference); and pitcher Nick Anderson from Plymouth, Minnesota.
On the last day of the season, Fagely recorded his 101st career hit and Stockton recorded his 101st career walk (Concordia record). Anderson finished sixth on the all-time wins list with 20 and second on the all-time saves list with 11.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have to say goodbye to Fagely or Stockton as I am playing summer ball with both of them on the North St. Paul Roosters.
As for my 2011 season, it was an improvement over my 2010 campaign. I had many bright spots. I tied for second on the team in appearances (8), led the team in strikeouts per nine innings (11.85), and had an 18-13 K-to-BB ratio.
As a team we only played 34 of our 53 scheduled games. Eight of the 19 cancellations came against the ninth, tenth, and eleventh ranked teams in the conference standings. Against the bottom five teams in the conference we finished 10-0 with eight cancellations.
Now we turn to next year, my senior year, and likely last as a baseball player. We return all four weekend starters, and a staff that accounted for 222.2 innings this season. We lose just two position players—both key starters—but have several young players that played well this season.
We have to wait patiently during the June MLB draft as third baseman Bryan Lippincott may hear his name called, we all hope that he returns to play his senior season with us. We have a lot of pieces returning, especially Lippincott, that can help us return to the top of the NSIC next year.
The NSIC should be well represented in next month’s draft as several players were scouted all season. Also of personal interest to me, high school summer teammate Jarod Berggren of the University of Northern Colorado is expected to be an early round pick, as is an outfielder from my high school (Regis Jesuit (CO)) Conor McKay.
It was a roller coaster ride of a season, but I made memories, friendships, and pitched in big moments. It was a year I will never forget, and I hope to improve as a person and a player all summer before returning to school next fall and trying to win the 2012 NSIC Championship.
I also would like to thank Nick and the College Baseball Lineup staff for giving me to the chance to blog again this year, and also making sure everyone knew that I was not the Cody Wilcoxson involved with the shooting in Missouri. Good looking out guys!
-Go Golden Bears-
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