Tyler Junior College’s inter-squad Black and Gold World Series was done a bit differently this year, choosing the teams playground style.
The annual baseball series gives coaches one last chance to evaluate players before the spring. This year instead of statically picking even teams, the coaching staff used a draft system to divide players into teams.
“The draft was a lot of fun and the guys really got into it. We had one of our players bring his laptop in there, and it was just a real good time,” said Head Baseball Coach John Groth.
The Black and Gold World Series is a five-game baseball series over 5 days that is coached by the Assistants Hart Hering and Doug Wren. Head Coach Groth sits in the press box.
“We use the Black and Gold games to evaluate some of the players one last time. When umpires are at the game and we have friends and families in the stands, it has the makings of a real game. These games are a lot of fun, but some of the players know the implications,” Groth said.
The implications are a roster spot. Several of the players are on the bubble of making the 26-man roster. These games are the last games the Apaches will play before trimming the roster for the spring.
The players are not the only ones who feel the heat. Coach Wren was winless in his coaching debut last year for the Apaches when Coach Hering’s Black team was able to complete a sweep in 2007.
The indications after the first two games of the World Series seemed like it was going to be more of the same. After Hart Hering won a third game in the series, Coach Wren was finally able to take a win finalizing the series at 3-1. Both coaches take friendly verbal jabs at one another about the game, but it’s always in good fun, said Coach Groth.
But the annual Black and Gold World Series is not just about baseball, it’s about bringing families together. It is also a homecoming for alumni players.
The Black and Gold festivities started the morning of Oct. 17 on the golf course. The former players swung the golf clubs before heading to Mike Carter Field for lunch and batting practice.
“We [Past players] look forward to coming back for Black and Gold. It a fun time to get to see everybody and just be with the boys again,” said former Apache pitcher Blake Worthen.
There are also activities for the families of current players as well.
Family Day, the 2nd day of the series, is a day filled with baseball followed by a luncheon provided by the sophomore parents.
“Family day is a special day for everyone involved. I enjoy family day not only to get to meet some of the parents, but seeing the parents come together and form relationships is special as well,” said Groth.
For some of the parents this was the first time to see their sons play college baseball. At the same time, the fans were able to get a glimpse of what the spring will be like.
The Apaches are coming off back-to-back conference championships and are only one year removed from being crowned national champions. With the Black and Gold World Series over, the hard work now lies with the coaches to decide who will be playing.