Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tennessee Trip Canceled...

The Tennessee trip is canceled & the team will be playing in Shreveport at the BPCC Field.

Saturday, Feb. 28th vs. Meredian, MS @ 2:00pm
vs. Northeast OK @ 5:00pm

Sunday, March 1st vs. Northeast OK @ 10:00am
vs. Weatherford @ 1:00pm

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TC extends win streak...

Texarkana College extends win streak
Published: 02/25/2009

WILBURTON, Okla.—David Allday clubbed a game-winning three-run homer in the seventh inning of the first game, and Joaquin Hinojosa smacked a grand slam in the nightcap to spark Texarkana College to a sweep over Eastern Oklahoma State College, 9-7 and 9-2, here Tuesday.

The Bulldogs have won eight straight games and extended their record to 12-3.

In the opener, TC trailed 7-6 before Allday ripped his homer over the left-centerfield fence. His first home run of the spring came with one out. Allday also had a run-scoring single.

The Bulldogs had three other homers—all solo blasts—in the opener. Trey Buck, John Stilson and Lance Marvel had the four-baggers. Stilson and Marvel had two hits in the game, with Stilson also stroking a double.

Hinojosa (2-0) picked up the win in relief.

TC continued to flex its home run muscles in the second game. Buck hit a two-run homer, his fourth this year, in the fourth inning and Hinojosa ripped his slam in the sixth. Both came with two out.

The Bulldogs finished with 11 hits, with Hinojosa having two singles in addition to his home run. He finished with five runs batted in.

Marvel added two hits, including a double, and Allday had a double.

Taylor Nichols (1-0) went six innings to pick up the win. Colton Reavis pitched the last three frames to get the save.

Texarkana College returns to action Saturday in Dyersburg, Tenn., where the Bulldogs will face St. Louis Community College-Meramec and Dyersburg State Community College in a pair of single games.

First Game

Texarkana College 301 002 3 — 9 9 2

Eastern Oklahoma 010 051 0 — 7 7 2

Ty Moore, Colton Reavis (5), Joaquin Hinojosa (6) and Lance Marvel, Jordy Snikeris (7). Jeff Scardino, Zack Garling (2), Seth Terry (7) and Joe Spring. WP-Honojosa (2-0). LP-Terry. HR-TC: Trey Buck, 1st, none on; John Stilson, 6th, none on; Marvel, 6th, none on; David Allday, 7th, 2 on.

Second Game

Texarkana College 100 305 000 — 9 11 4

Eastern Oklahoma 000 010 001 — 2 3 1

Taylor Nichols, Colton Reavis (7) and Jordy Snikeris. Jimmy Johnson, John Frisby (7) and Brady White. WP-Nichols (1-0). LP-Johnson. HR-TC: Trey Buck, 4th, 1 on; Hinojosa, 6th, 3 on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bulldogs Complete Sweep

Bulldogs complete sweep

Texarkana College’s Austin Atwell slides into second base ahead of the throw to Coffeyville Community College’s Blake Hageman Sunday at George Dobson Field. The Bulldogs defeated Coffeyville, 18-0, to complete a four-game sweep.
The Coffeyville Ravens came a long way (a nine-hour trip from Southeast Kansas) just to get walloped in four games by the Texarkana College Bulldogs this weekend.

The Bulldogs outscored Coffeyville, 49-9, which included an 18-0 victory Sunday at George Dobson Field.

Texarkana banged out 14 hits, including home runs by Tanner Bailey and Ian Gilley, to back up two-hit pitching. John Stilson pitched the first five innings, allowing both hits, while striking out seven and walking three. Four relievers pitched an inning each to preserve the shutout.

“We have been playing really well the last six games,” said Texarkana College coach Will Bolt. “I have been real pleased with the way we have approached the games. Our defense and pitching has been good, and we’ve been getting a lot of big two-out hits to keep innings alive.”

The Bulldogs (10-3), winners of six straight, will be on the road Tuesday, playing Eastern Oklahoma in a doubleheader.

Texarkana scored in all but two innings of its eight at-bats, including a five-run sixth inning.

The Bulldogs got a few breaks early to score twice in the first inning.

With one out and a runner on second, David Allday reached on an error. Jordan Monday then balked home Austin Atwell with the first run.

Gip Hendrix then singled and stole second, putting runners on second and third. After the second out, Thomas Watson had an infield hit when the second baseman slipped after backhanding the ball.

After loading the bases on walks in the second inning, and failing to score, the Bulldogs scored three runs in the third inning after two outs.

After a walk to Watson and a single by Brittan Diamond, Jordy Snikeris doubled down the leftfield line, driving in two runs. Devin Day singled Snikeris home with the third run.

Coffeyville got its only two hits in the fourth inning on singles by Danny Marcuzzo and Eli Dykens. It was the only time in the game the Ravens had advanced a runner past first base.

Texarkana continued to pull away with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth and two runs in the fifth for a 10-0 lead.

The Bulldogs put up five runs on the scoreboard in the sixth on just three hits. All the runs scored after two outs, and Diamond on base with a single.

Day drew a walk, Trey Buck singled, and Atwell walked to load the bases. Bailey then blasted his home run over the rightfield wall for a grand slam and a 15-0 lead.

Texarkana closed out its scoring with three runs in the seventh. Gilley led off the inning with a home run over the centerfield wall and Atwell drove in the final two runs with a single.

Taylor Nichols, Colton Reavis, Gilley, and Joaquin Hinojosa pitched an inning each and did not allow a base hit and gave up just two walks.

Four players (Atwell, Hendrix, Diamond, and Snikeris) had two hits each.

Coffeyville 000 000 000 — 0 2 5

Texarkana 203 325 30x — 18 14 0

Jordan Monday, Tommy Moses (4), Luke Anderson (6), Blake Hageman (8) and Matt Dahms. John Stilson, Taylor Nichols (6), Colton Reavis (7), Ian Gilley (8), and Joaquin Hinojosa (9) and Jordy Snikeris, Michael Long (7). WP-Stilson. LP-Monday. HR: Texarkana, Tanner Bailey, 6th, three on; Ian Gilley, 7th, none on.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A beautiful day...

A beautiful day

Bulldogs notch sweep over Coffeyville

Texarkana College’s John Stilson returns to first base as Coffeyville Community College’s Danny Marcuzzo attempts a pickoff Saturday at George Dobson Field. The Bulldogs swept a doubleheader, 12-3 and 7-1.
It was hard for Texarkana College coach Will Bolt to find fault with his Bulldogs after their doubleheader sweep of Coffeyville Community College Saturday at George Dobson Field.

“You have to go out there and play your game, and I thought we did today,” said Bolt after TC’s 12-3 and 7-1 wins. “We did a better job of executing our offense—we got some bunts down and stole some bases. It was a tough day to hit because of the wind, but I thought we did a good job of hitting line drives to all fields, and we got some big, two-out hits.”

TC also got good pitching from starters Tanner Bailey and Justin Fowler and relievers Shane Cole and Ty Moore. Coffeyville managed just five hits in the twin bill.

“Neither one of the starters had their best stuff nor their best command either,” Bolt said, “but they got some ground balls when we needed double plays. Justin had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning, but it didn’t seem like because of his walks (5). But they competed well to get to the fifth and sixth innings. And the guys who came out of the pen did a nice job.”

The Bulldogs pounded out 14 hits in the opener, putting the game out of reach with a 7-run fourth inning, six of them coming with two outs.

David Allday, who was 4 for 5 and drove in four runs, delivered a 2-run double in the inning and Lance Marvel, Jordy Snikeris and Austin Atwall had run-scoring singles, the second hit of the frame for Atwall, who led off with a single. Trey Buck’s triple to right field scored Atwall.

TC sent 13 batters to the plate in the big inning, wiping out a 3-2 Ravens lead.

Buck, Lance Marvel, Atwell and John Stilson added two hits each for the Bulldogs (9-3), who won their sixth straight game at Dobson after an opening loss to Temple College. Pleasant Grove freshman Jake Rogers had his first collegiate hit, a double, in his only at-bat.

Bailey (3-0), a freshman right-hander from Magnolia, Ark., went 4 2/3 innings, allowing all three runs, striking out four, walking three and hitting a batter. Cole gave up just one hit, walked one and struck one over the final 2 1/3 innings.

Brandon Elmore had a 2-run single for the Ravens.

In the nightcap, the Bulldogs scored two runs in each of the first, fourth and sixth innings, and Fowler made them stand up, allowing just two hits—both in the fifth—while striking out five. The New Diana sophomore evened his record at 1-1.

The Bulldogs had eight hits in the second game, three by leadoff batter Buck, who also scored twice. Atwell had a 2-run single as did Allday, giving the former Texas High standout six RBIs on the day. Marvel and Thomas Watson had a double each.

Brad Stanlely’s swinging bunt was the Ravens’ first hit in the fifth inning, and he eventually scored on a clean single by Blake Hageman.

TC played without injured starters Brian Ellis (back) and Joaquin Hinojosa (leg), but their replacements, including Ashdown freshman Devin Day, picked up the slack.

“Two guys who hit right in the middle of our order ware unavailable today,” Bolt said. “They probably could have played had we needed them to, but the way the weather was today I just didn’t want to chance it. It gave us a chance to play some different people, and I tell these guys every day it’s going to take all 24 of them to win a championship. That’s what we’re striving for.”

The Bulldogs and Coffeyville wrap up their 4-game series with a 9-inning contest slated for a noon start today at Dobson. Stilson is scheduled to start on the mound for TC.


Coffeyville 003 000 0 — 3 3 3

Texarkana 020 703 x — 12 14 2

Tyler Treinen, Luke Anderson (4), Rocky Renfro (5) and Matt Dahms. Tanner Bailey, Shane Cole (5) and Jordy Snikeris. WP-Bailey (3-0). LP-Treinen (0-1).


Coffeyville 000 010 0 — 1 2 0

Texarkana 210 202 x — 7 8 0

Collin Edwards, Dylan Rogers (4), Danny Marcuzzo (6) and Ben Blaes. Justin Fowler, Tye Moore (7) and Lance Marvel. WP-Fowler (1-1). LP-Edwards (0-1).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bulldogs take 12-5 victory

College Baseball: Bulldogs take 12-5 victory

Left-hander Zack Fowler pitched six strong innings and struck out nine and Taylor Nichols cracked a two-run homer and double to lead Texarkana College to a 12-5 victory over the Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College Ravens Friday at George Dobson Field.

It was the Bulldogs’ third straight win and improved their season record to 7-3. They now have won seven of their last nine games.

Fowler (2-1) was touched for four runs over six innings. He walked only one. Justin Fielden and Brittan Diamond supplied relief help.

Texarkana College, meanwhile, banged out 15 hits against two Coffeyville pitchers. Besides Nichols, the Bulldogs’ leaders were Joaquin Hinojosa with two hits, including a double, to drive in two runs; Gip Hendrix with two hits, including a double, to knock in a run; John Stilson with a two-run double; and Trey Buck with two hits in four plate appearances.

Hector Acosta smacked a two-run homer and Ben Blades a solo blast for the Ravens (1-1).

The teams will play two seven-inning games starting at noon today, and then close out the series with a single, nine-inning game at noon Sunday. Starting pitchers for the Bulldogs today will be Tanner Bailey and Justin Fowler.

Coffeyville 300 010 010 — 5 8 1

Texarkana College 001 614 00x — 12 15 1

Jake Mitcheltree, Jeff White (5) and Matt Dahms. Zack Fowler, Justin Fielden (5), Brittan Diamond (9) and Lance Marvel, Jody Snikeris (7). WP-Fowler (2-1). LP-Mitcheltree (0-1). HR-Coffeyville: Hector Acosta, 1st, 1 on; Ben Blades, 5th, none on. TC-Taylor Nichols, 6th, 1 on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

TC @ Blinn Tourney

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bulldogs claim pair of victories

Bulldogs claim pair of victories

BRENHAM, Texas—Texarkana College used a five-run inning to win two games Saturday.

The Bulldogs scored five runs in the fifth inning to knock off Navarro, 7-1.

TC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, but Navarro cut the Bulldogs lead in half with a run in the fourth. Texarkana’s offense exploded in the fifth inning to secure the victory.

Taylor Nichols finished with a double and two RBI to pace the TC offense. John Stilson threw a complete-game six hitter, allowing no earned runs. Stilson fanned eight and allowed no walks.

Texarkana College used a five-run sixth inning to drop Wharton, 7-1.

After Wharton pushed across a run in the fourth to take the early lead, TC evened the game up in the fifth win a run.

The Bulldogs exploded for five runs the following frame to seal the victory.

Trey Buck and Nichols each had a double.

Tanner Bailey earned his second win of the season, hurling a complete game and striking out six.

The wins improve Texarkana College’s record to 6-3 on the season.

Texarkana College 7, Navarro 1

Navarro 000 010 0 — 1 6 1

Texarkana College 200 050 x — 7 6 4

Teddy Naugh, Jeff Thompson (6) and Mark Mayfield; John Stilson and Lance Marvel. WP-Stilson, LP-Naugh.

Texarkana College 7, Wharton 1

Wharton 000 100 0 — 1 4 0

Texarkana College 000 015 x — 7 7 0

Kyle Meadows and Shane Lesteli; Tanner Bailey and Jordy Snikeris. WP-Bailey. LP-Meadows.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sophmore Watson's home runs inspire...

Sophomore Watson’s home runs inspire Bulldogs to battle back

LUFKIN, Texas—Texarkana College (5-1) rallied from an early 8-1 deficit here Thursday to beat Galveston College in eight innings, 12-10.

Sophomore Thomas Watson of Paris, Texas, sparked the Bulldogs’ comeback with a solo home run in the fifth and a grand slam in the sixth.

Texarkana sent the game into extra innings with two more runs in the seventh, and Houston freshman Brian Ellis plated the decisive run for the Bulldogs in the eighth.

Texas High graduate David Allday had two doubles, scored twice and drove home a run for the Bulldogs, while sophomore Gip Hendrix contributed two singles. Trey Buck hit a solo roundtripper in the sixth.

Transfer Joaquin Hinojosa was the winning pitcher for Texarkana, blanking the Whitecaps the final two innings. Freshman Taylor Nichols started on the mound for the Bulldogs, and was followed by Shane Cole, Brittan Diamond, Ty Moore and Hinojosa.

Tyler Fiebrich had a home run for Galveston, and Zach Boulanger suffered the pitching loss in relief.

TC is scheduled to play in Brenham today against Grayson College at 5:30 p.m. and Blinn at 8.

Texarkana College 100 016 22 — 12 12 3

Galveston College 116 011 00 — 10 12 1

Taylor Nichols, Shane Cole (3), Brittan Diamond (5), Ty Moore (6), Joaquin Hinojosa (7) and Lance Marvel, Jordy Snikeris (8); Ryan Sampere, Kyler Brady (6), Garrett Sechelski (7), Zach Boulanger (8) and Scott Paskett. WP-Hinojosa; LP-Boulanger. HR: Tex-Thomas Watson, 5th, none on; Watson, 6th, 3 on; Trey Buck, 6th, none on. Galv-Tyler Fiebrich, 6th none on.

Monday, February 9, 2009

No fooling around

No fooling around

Eastern Oklahoma’s Jesse Santo tags out Texarkana College’s David Allday Sunday at George Dobson Field.
John Stilson is fooling a lot of people, including his coach.

The Texarkana College freshman, and former Texas High baseball standout said he still isn’t 100 percent from shoulder surgery he had last year, but that wasn’t evident Sunday at George Dobson Field where the Bulldogs swept a doubleheader from Eastern Oklahoma, 6-0 and 13-2.

Stilson was 3-for-3 at the plate in the opener with a 3-run homer, and was the winning pitcher in the nightcap after throwing the first five frames in the 9-inning contest.

“If he’s not 100 percent, he’s got me fooled,” Texarkana coach Will Bolt said. “His performance is a tribute to his competitiveness. Eastern Oklahoma is known for its hitting, and John shut them down pretty good.”

Texarkana (3-1) only trailed once Sunday, that coming in the first inning of the second game when Stephen Hagen lined a two-run homer over the wall in center. Stilson would retire the next 11 batters, but a throwing error in the fifth got him in a one-out, bases-loaded jam.

The hard-throwing (clocked in low 90s) righthander escaped the threat with a strikeout, and bouncer back to the mound. He left the game after throwing 75 pitches.

“I slowed everything down today,” Stilson said. “Yesterday I was overreacting to everything. Today I just trusted my hands when hitting.”

Freshmen Ty Moore, Colton Reavis and Justin Fielden followed Stilson to the mound, blanking the Mountaineers (0-3-1) on one hit.

Five Eastern Oklahoma hurlers did not enjoy as much success. They were shelled for 12 hits, including solo roundtrippers by sophomores Gip Hendrix and Lance Marvel. Hendrix, who also homered in the opener, had a double and two singles to go with his second four-bagger of the day, while Marvel lined a ground-rule double that hit the bag at third, and landed over the fence near the Bulldogs’ dugout.

The Oklahomans were still leading 2-0 when Texarkana took advantage of three Mountaineer errors in the fourth to capture the lead.

David Allday reached safely on an infield miscue, scoring moments later when Hendrix lined a double over the centerfielder’s head. Hendrix continued to third on a throwing error by the catcher, scoring on Marvel’s double. Another infield error and walk loaded the bases, followed by a two-single to left by pinch-hitter Austin Atwell.

Ian Gilley had two hits, scored twice and drove home two runs for the Bulldogs in the second game, with Allday contributing a two-run triple.

A solo home run by Atwell in the first inning was the only run Tanner Bailey needed in the first game. The 6-foot-7 righthander scattered three hits, walked one and struck out eight in six innings. Future Aggie Joaquin Hinojoso retired the Mountaineers in order in the seventh.

Texarkana led 3-0 after the first frame. Hinojoso reached on a fielder’s choice and scored ahead of Hendrix’s towering home run to left.

Southpaws Phillip Parcell and Caleb Walker held the Bulldogs in check after that until the sixth.

Back-to-back walks to Thomas Watson and Allday staged Stilson’s monstrous blast over the left field fence.

“This kind of performance is great to see,” Bolt said. “It’s good to see that we can bounce back from things like yesterday’s loss to Temple. We could have felt sorry for ourselves. Someone said, ‘losing early stands for learning.’ We didn’t execute our game plan, but we showed we’re capable of putting big innings together.”

Eastern’s only scoring opportunity in the opener came in the fifth when Bryce Killingsworth reached on an error, and raced to third when Jesse Santo delivered an opposite-field single to right on a hit-and-run. Bailey’s seventh strikeout quelled the threat.

Texarkana has five road games scheduled later this week, starting with Galveston on Thursday in Lufkin.


Eastern Oklahoma 000 000 0 — 0 3 0

Texarkana College 300 003 x — 6 7 2

Phillip Parcell, Caleb Walker (5) and Brady White. Tanner Bailey, Joaquin Hinojoso (7) and Jordy Snikeris. WP-Bailey (1-0); LP-Parcell (0-1). HR: Tex-Austin Atwell, 1st, none on; Gip Hendrix, 1st, 1 on; John Stilson, 6th, 2 on.


Eastern Oklahoma 200 000 000 — 2 6 3

Texarkana College 000 417 01x — 13 12 1

Jimmy Johnson, Seth Terry (4), Zach Garling (6), Tyler Vann (6), John Frisby (8) and White; Stilson, Ty Moore (6), Colton Reavis (8), Justin Fielden (9) and Lance Marvel. WP-Stilson (1-0); LP-Johnson. HR-E. Okla.: Stephen Hagen, 1st, 1 on. Tex-Hendrix, 5th, none on; Marvel, 8th, none on.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Getting Even

Getting even

Texarkana College salvages split with Temple College

Texarkana College’s Trey Buck slides into home during a doubleheader against Temple College Saturday at George Dobson Field.
Texarkana College took advantage of opportunities it missed in the first game and ended Temple College’s 7-game winning streak with a 13-4 rout in the nightcap of a Saturday doubleheader at George Dobson Field that ushered in the start of the season for the Bulldogs.

TC led unbeaten Temple College off the hook in the early stages of the 7-inning opener, falling 5-3, before finally getting the bats going in the 9-inning second game.

“Our execution wasn’t there in the first game,” said TC coach Will Bolt. “They made three errors in the game, and we had them on the ropes. If we execute our offense we had a chance to have a couple of big innings, but we don’t get a bunt down, and we miss a hit-and-run sign and get thrown out by four steps. We just didn’t get it done offensively in the first game.”

The nightcap was a different story. The Bulldogs took advantage of seven walks by cracking out 10 hits, including four home runs to back Zach Fowler’s strong 6-inning stint.

“Zach kind of set the tone in the second game,” Bolt said. “We’re still trying to find it offensively in the first three innings without a hit, but Zach matched our zeros to give us a chance. He pitched really well, but I thought he got a little tired at the end.

“I was very encouraged by the way we played defense (no errors) for the first time out. Pitching and defense is going to win any day, and the hitting is going to come around. It was good to see the way we faced adversity in the first game and responded in the second.”

TC returns to Dobson today for a 2 p.m. twin bill with Eastern Oklahoma. Tanner Bailey and John Stilson will be the starting pitchers.

Temple 5, Texarkana 3

Temple snapped a 3-all tie with a pair of runs off reliever Colton Reavis in the sixth inning. One-out singles by Pedro Maldonado and Doug Oney, this one a perfect bunt to the left of the mound, and a passed ball put runners at second and third.

Darren Crabtree’s hard ground-out to first base drove in the tie-breaking run, and Oney scored on a wild pitch before Reavis picked up his second strikeout to end the inning.

Early home runs by Thad Zantec and Crabtree in the first two innings staked the Leopards to a 3-0 lead before TC tied it in the third.

Trey Buck singled to left to open the inning and was off and running when Austin Atwell smashed a double to the gap in right-center chasing Buck home. One out later, Joaquin Hinojosa singled, putting runners at the corners. Atwell scored on David Allday’s groundout to third base, and Hinojosa brought home the tying run when the Temple shortstop booted Lance Marvel’s ground ball for his second error of the game.

Justin Fowler overcame a rocky start to go five innings for the Bulldogs, allowing seven hits, striking out four and walking one while throwing 85 pitches. Ty Moore pitched a scoreless seventh for the Bulldogs.

“I thought Justin kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win,” Bolt said. “He got stronger as the game progressed.”

Texarkana managed only five hits off Paul Spinn, who went the distance on the mound, fanning four and walking three. Watson was the lone Bulldog with two hits, while Atwell’s double was the only extra-base hit.

Maldonado was 3 for 3 with a double for the Leopards.

Texarkana 13, Temple 4

Hinojosa’s 2-run homer to right center broke a scoreless deadlock in the fourth inning, and after Ryan Meade’s solo shot made it 2-1 in the fifth, the Bulldogs put it away by scoring eight runs over the next two innings.

TC took advantage of four walks by reliever Stevie Kirks to score five times in the fifth, then got a leadoff homer from Allday and a 2-run shot by Watson in the sixth to make it 10-2. Bucks 3-run blast put the final three runs on the board in the eighth.

Zach Fowler threw 82 pitches over six innings, walking five and fanning four. He gave up just three hits. Shane Cole and Justin Fielden pitched a scoreless inning each before Brittan Diamond yielded two harmless runs in the ninth.

“All three of my pitches were working, and I thought I threw pretty well,” Fowler said. “I’m a ton stronger than last year, and when I get my arm in shape I should be able to go deeper into games.”

Buck and Allday added singles to their homers, and Brian Ellis doubled and singled to lead the Bulldogs’ assault. Meade and Ryan De La Rosa had two hits each for Temple.


Temple College 210 002 0 — 5 11 3

Texarkana College 003 000 0 — 3 5 0

Paul Spinn and Doug Oney. Justin Fowler, Colton Reavis (6), Ty Moore (7) and Jordy Snikeris. WP-Spinn. LP-Reavis (0-1). HR: Temple-Thad Zantec, 1st, 1 on; Darren Crabtree, 2nd, none on.


Temple College 000 011 002 — 4 7 2

Texarkana College 000 253 03x — 13 10 0

Jake Bidelman, Stevie Kirks (4), Garrett Sladek (5), Russell Johns (6), Troy Green (6), Justin Williams (8) and Garrett Rayburn. Zach Fowler, Shane Cole (7), Justin Fielden (8), Brittan Diamond (9) and Lance Marvel. WP-Fowler (1-0). LP-Bidleman. HR: Tex-Joaquin Hinojosa, 4th, 1 on; David Allday, 6th, none on; Thomas Watson, 6th, 1 on.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bulldogs ready to get cracking...

Bulldogs ready to get cracking

Rigorous routine has TC liking playoff prospects

l. marvel
j. fowler

Will Bolt’s first full recruiting class goes on display this weekend amid high expectations after a strong fall campaign.

“We’ve been practicing 2 1/2 weeks, and we’re ready to go,” said Bolt, whose first Texarkana College baseball team finished 33-23 and bowed out of the Region XIV tournament in two games. “I think we would have been ready if we had started last weekend.”

Although the Bulldogs have only two pitchers—right-hander Justin Fowler and lefty Zach Fowler (no relation)—Bolt feels a strong freshman class will make pitching one of the team’s biggest strength.

“As far as returners go, the two Fowlers are the only guys back on the mound,” Bolt said. “We had Gip Hendrix and Thomas Watson throwing in the regional elimination game last year, and they’re not going to pitch this year. That speaks to the depth we’re going to have on the mound. Even though most are freshman, they are quality arms.”

The Fowlers will pitch Saturday’s home doubleheader against Temple, a 6-0 team that played in the 2006 JUCO World Series. Sunday’s starters against Eastern Oklahoma, a top 25 team this season, at Dobson Field will be freshmen Tanner Bailey, a 6-7, 240-pounder from Little Rock, and John Stilson of Texas High. Taylor Nichols of Magnolia, Ark., is also in the mix of possible starters. All are right-handers.

In fact, Zach Fowler is the lone southpaw on the staff.

“Those five are the ones we’re looking at as regular starters,” Bolt said. “It will play out during the regular season as to who we’re going to depend on for the four conference spots.”

Sophomore Joaquin Hinojosa, player of the year in the Golden Valley Conference in California last year, will be the closer as well as the starting right fielder.

“Joaquin is from Texas and wanted to get back here,” Bolt said. “He called (former TC coach) Rob Childress at Texas A&M and asked him to recommend a school, and he sent him here. He’s committed to A&M next year.

Making up the TC bullpen are former Paris High School standout Colton Reavis, who missed his senior year with a torn ACL but was an early TC signee, Brittan Diamond of Sulphur Springs, Canadian Shane Cole, Justin Fielden from Gilmer and Ty Moore from Liberty High School in the Austin area.

The only other left-hander, Justin Parsons of Jasper, Texas, had Tommy John surgery on his elbow and will redshirt this season.

“Overall I feel good about our pitching,” Bolt said. “We’ve got two experienced guys who were in the rotation from Day 1 last year coming back to lead the staff. And the guys we’ve got in the bullpen are going to be able to match up with anybody in our league from a competitive standpoint.

“Our bullpen was our weakest point last year. We had no depth at all and ran out of options early. But I really think this year these guys will come out with good stuff and throw strikes. That’s what you need from relief pitchers.”

Several position players return. Former Arkansas High standout Lance Marvel hit .370 with six home runs last year, David Allday of Texas High had a good year at first base, second baseman Trey Buck of Crosby, Texas, led the Bulldogs in hitting, third baseman Watson of Paris was an all-conference selection, and DH/outfielder Hendrix was the conference freshman of the year, batting .380 with seven home runs.

Bolt said Marvel’s bat will be in the lineup, whether he plays behind the plate, in the outfield or in the DH role. He will share the catcher’s role with freshman Jordy Snikeris of Austin, who is an excellent defender and thrower, according to his coach.

Allday won the first-base job from talented freshmen Nichols and Taylor Bailey, a left-handed hitter with power.

Buck, who moved to shortstop last year when Justin Coats was injured, will play mainly at second, but will move back to short when the starter there, Stilson, goes to the mound. Buck is backed up by Ian Gilley from Fort Smith Northside. Gilley can also play short and third base.

Bolt calls Stilson, who got a late start in the fall after shoulder surgery, “a vacuum at shortstop. He makes the routine plays, then makes some others that make you say ‘Wow.’”

Backing up Watson at third is Diamond, termed a “throwback guy, hard-nosed, gritty player,” by Bolt.

“We’ve got quite a few guys who can play more than one place in the infield,” Bolt said. “They’ve got good chemistry as a group.”

Bolt expects his outfield to be one of the best around. Freshman Austin Atwell from Allen, Texas (Wylie High School) is the team’s fastest runner, and Houston freshman Brian Ellis from Houston is not far behind.

“They both cover a lot of ground and have strong, accurate arms,” Bolt said. “Ellis actually led us in hitting in the fall at around .500. He’ll probably be my three-hole hitter.”

Hinojosa will bat cleanup for the Bulldogs.

“He’s not going to hit a lot of home runs, but he can do a lot of things with the bat,” Bolt said. “He’s also an excellent outfielder.”

Zach Fowler, Moore and freshman Devin Day from Ashdown will back up the outfield starters.

Brad Flanders is back from Bolt’s coaching staff last year. He will coach first base and work with the pitchers. Newcomer Travis Wendte, a former professional player, joined the staff the spring semester. He will work with the pitchers in the bullpen.

Bolt expects a strong schedule that includes defending national champion Grayson College and 2007 title holder Chipola College will prepare his team for conference play.

“Based on what we saw in the fall, Panola College has a lot of returners and will be tough, and I’m sure Navarro added a couple of guys at the break,” he said. “Northeast Texas is going to be a lot better, and Angelina is strong every year.

“There should be five or six teams battling for four playoff spots, and I like our chances. Our goal is to win the league, go to the World Series and win a national championship. That will be the goal as long as I’m here.”