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On the Bump – January 18, 2012

Hello everyone and welcome back to another year of “On The Bump”. When last season finished, I was unsure if I would return to Centenary for my junior year. Over the summer I decided that Centenary was the best fit for me and I chose to return to Centenary for my last 2 years of school. I chose to return to Centenary because of the family atmosphere, coaching staff, and opportunities on the field this season. I had a fun summer in Seattle playing for the Kitsap Bluejackets, and I am glad I returned to Centenary to finish my collegiate career.

Our first game is February 4th against Hendrix College. Until then, I will give you an inside look into our program and give a brief outline of a week in the life of a Centenary baseball player. This week, I will cover the highlights of our fall semester, and preview the 2012 infielders. Next week (January 24) I will introduce you to the Gents outfield, and the week after that (January 31) I will preview our 2012 pitchers and catchers.

We have 37 players this year, including 4 that transferred in this semester. Our team is predominantly from Texas and Louisiana, but we have guys from all over the Western Hemisphere. We have guys from California to the Virgin Islands, and from Texas to Canada. Despite , our team has great chemistry and we have a lot of fun out on the field.

The majority of our coaching staff returned from last season, including head coach Mike Diaz, pitching coach Jason Stephens, and hitting guru Pat Jolley. We also added outfield/hitting coach Tim Ryan, who played for Centenary from 2004-2006. He has done a great job working with our outfielders and hitters.

Our fall highlights included a doubleheader scrimmage against LSU-Shreveport, a fall World Series, and the alumni game. In our scrimmage against LSU-S we lost 3-1 and 7-2. While we lost both games, it was a great measuring stick for our team and it was great to see all of the new guys in the program get out and compete against another team. Also, LSU-S is a great NAIA program. They finished in the top 5 in the NAIA rankings last season and ended their season with a trip to the NAIA World Series. Our fall World Series was fun because Coach Jolley coached one team while the other team was managed by Coach Ryan. It was pretty funny watching those two try to make trades before the game and set their lineups the exact way they wanted. In the end, Coach Jolley’s team swept the series 2 games to none. Alumni weekend is always one of the best weekends of the year because so many of the old players come back to participate in the golf tournament and baseball game during the weekend. I enjoy it because the alumni take a sincere interest in the well being of the team and they are always excited to see the program grow from the solid foundation they built while they played here. The current squad defeated the alumni 5-0 this year. The highlight of the game was definitely Ryan Gasporra’s home run that hit off of the top of the scoreboard in right-center field.

Now I will introduce you to the 2012 Centenary Gents infield. At first base we welcome back Kyle Morton, who has looked good swinging the bat this fall. He has also done a great job of helping freshmen Jon Wilson and Blake Bourgoyne learn the system at first base as well. In the middle infield we return Matt Creamer. He has played great defense all fall and he is really starting to swing the bat as well. Matt is the only guy left from my freshman recruiting class so you may see him get a lot of shout outs on here. Craig Littleman, a junior college (JUCO) transfer from Arizona has also looked good on the field this fall. Scotty Debrouwer, Kennen Cobb, Christian Sebastien, and Erasmo Valdez are all freshmen that are competing for time in the middle infield. The great thing is that each of these guys brings a specific skill set to the table. I am very confident that any of the guys would do great in whatever role they are asked to play. Sometimes a guy may be asked to come in and pinch-hit and lay down a sacrifice bunt. While this may seem insignificant, we will likely need the sacrifice at a key point in the game. At third base we return Marc Martinez. Marc has really stepped up his defense this year while continuing to swing a hot bat. Dakota Brown will also battle for playing time at third base and in the middle infield. Another good thing about all of our freshmen infielders is that the majority of them have strong enough arms to play 2nd, 3rd, or shortstop. This allows our coaching staff to be much more creative with the lineup, and also gives each guy a better chance to get in the game and help the team.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog this week. Stop by next week to hear about our 2nd full week of practice as we continue to prepare for our February 4th game against Hendrix College. Go Gents!

Also, shout out to senior basketball player Maxx Nakwaasah. He eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark this past weekend, and on Monday he broke Robert Parish’s 40 year old school record for points in a single game. His 51 points broke Parish’s old record of 50. Parish was recently voted one of the top 50 NBA players of all-time, so it was a tremendous accomplishment.

-Cole Thompson