“We’re hungry.” That’s how Head Baseball Coach Doug Wren described his team feels coming into this season after a disappointing loss in last year’s regional championship.
With the mindset of winning the NJCAA World Series, the Apaches look to build off of that loss. Tyler Junior College baseball is ready to bring back a championship that they feel they deserve.
The team began the season ranked third nationally in the NJCAA Division III poll behind Eastfield College, the reigning national champion, and national runner-up Gloucester County College (N.J.).
This year the NJCAA World Series will be hosted by TJC. This gives the Apaches the home-field advantage should they make it to the World Series finals. TJC won the national championship in 2007.
Entering his third season as head coach, Wren said his team “is able to play at a high level” and make it back to the championship series on home turf.
“(Our) goal is to dog pile on our own mound,” said Wren.
All-Star sophomore pitcher, Payton Smith from Whitehouse, returns ready to show veteran leadership after posting a 1.88 ERA and a 4-1 season last year. After being sophomore heavy last season, he will be one of the guides and building blocks to this team’s success.
Pitcher Jackie Black, a sophomore from Amarillo is also eager about the season.
“We’re all motivated to get back and get the job done, we’ve got some unfinished business,” said Black, referring to how the team feels about coming so close to the championship last year but having it slip out of their hands with the 10-5 loss in the playoffs to Eastfield College.
Sophomore Ron Reemts from Springs, agreed that the team is determined to win it all.
“We’re going to get that ring,” said Reemts, a former second baseman but now a center fielder.
Coach Wren said that defense, strong pitching and sophomore leadership will be keys to a winning season.
“One thing that’s jumped out this spring is the defense,” Coach Wren said of his early team evaluations.
“Pitching should be as solid as last year,” said Coach Wren, adding that the team will be able to produce wins with the veteran leadership that will also help freshmen improve.
Wren believes that his team will be able to compete with any school.
Come support the Apache baseball team Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. against Weatherford College.