Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bulldogs begin regional tournament

Bulldogs begin regional tournament

j. chowning
MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas—Texarkana College slipped in at the wire as the No. 3 seed from the East Zone for the Region XIV baseball tournament that starts today, but it didn’t help much in determining the Bulldogs’ first-around opponent.

TC (33-21) and Alvin, No. 2 seed from the South, are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. today at Bob Baker Field on the campus of Northeast Texas Community College. Alvin (33-14) was the season-long leader in the South Zone before being overtaken by San Jacinto in the final week.

“There’s not a lot of difference between Alvin and San Jac,” said TC coach Will Bolt. “Alvin is very offensive; the first five guys in their order are as good as any in the conference. And they like to run. They want to put pressure on you from the first pitch.”

Bolt likes his team’s attitude heading into the tournament.

“I feel like we’re playing our best baseball right now,” he said. “We played pretty well over the last three weeks with our backs to the wall. We’ve been a lot more consistent lately in all facets of the game.”

Bolt is counting on his top two starting pitchers—right-handers Jason Chowning and Justin Fowler—to go deep in the first two games.

“We need them to eat up some innings to set up the rest of our pitching,” he said. “It they can keep their pitch count down and give us seven innings, then we should be in good shape for the rest of the tournament.”

Dean Malthouse will catch Chowning today. Around the infield will be David Allday at first base, Justin Coats at second, Trey Buck at shortstop and Thomas Watson at third. From left to right in the outfield will be Gip Hendrix, Josh Gill and Lance Marvel. David Phillips is the designated hitter.

Other games today will match East No. 2 seed Angelina College (33-14) and Wharton (25-25, South No. 3) at 10 a.m., South No. 1 San Jacinto (42-12) and East No. 4 Panola College (33-21) at 5 p.m. and East No. 1 Navarro College (45-8) and South No. 4 Blinn College (24-25) at 8.

Should TC win, the Bulldogs will play at 8 p.m. Sunday against the Blinn-Navarro winner. A loss would put them against the loser of that game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The tournament runs through Tuesday or Wednesday with the winner qualifying for the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.

The game will be broadcast on the Internet and can be accessed at