Cowboy Baseball By: Orel Rhodes
Make sure to come to John J. Hunter Field this spring to catch a Cowboys Baseball game.
The Cowboys have 15 new players on the roster this season ready to make a run for the American Southwest Conference (ASC) Championship. This team will be replacing starters in six of the eight defensive positions. While this is one of the youngest Cowboy baseball teams in recent years, the players are full of energy ready for this season.
I had the opportunity to catch up with a bunch of the players and ask them a few questions about the upcoming season. Several freshmen players, including Zach Hudson, a business administration major from Flower Mound, and Bennett Beltramo, a strategic communications major from Peoria, Arizona, have expressed excitement about the opportunity to finally play at the college level.
“I am really excited about seeing our team compete,” Beltramo said. “We’ve continued to work all off season and have created a great bond as a team that we can carry with us deep into the season. God has gifted us with the abilities to play this game and we cannot wait to glorify Him as we step onto the field.”
For many returning players, the excitement level is the same. This is the final college baseball season for many, and these players had their previous season cut short due to COVID.
“This year means a lot more to me because last year ended so abruptly,” said Raby Hamption, a senior exercise science major from Tyler. “We have a lot of young players that are going to play big roles for us this year, and I’m really excited to see them step up and mature as players.”
Seniors are not the only ones in their last season. The baseball team has some graduate students playing as well, including Hunter Garrison from Keller, who is completing his master’s in business administration.
“Coming upon my final year of baseball, I want to enjoy the relationships that I have created with the coaches and my teammates,” Garrison said. “As my super senior year comes to a close, I look forward to enjoying the little things; like playing volley pong in the locker room, the friendly banter that occurs during practice and the thrill of competing in my last collegiate baseball games. The main thing I am looking forward to is being a light for Christ being that we are a young team. I want them to understand that Jesus is the priority in this life, and we should live,play and practice in a way that honors him.”
Excitement and reminiscing are not the only things on the minds of the players. Technique and strategy are important to maintain in order to have a successful season. This is especially true for the team’s pitchers. Both Hayden Clark, a senior business administration major from Dallas, and Riley Rice, a sophomore biology major from Clyde both play this position.
“I try not to change my game plan before a game. I know what kind of pitches have success for me,” Clark said. “I try to make the other team change their game plans. I will adjust how to pitch to a certain batter if I or the coach notices something that we can take advantage of.”
The strategy involved for pitchers goes beyond the types of pitches thrown. It also includes paying great attention to whoever is up at bat.
“My game plan usually stays the same with my plan of attack and how I pace myself throughout,” Rice said. “However, depending on things I notice I will make slight changes to expose any weaknesses I see in the hitter to better my performance.”
The Cowboys are back in action March 5th and 6th when they travel to play Louisiana College in ASC Conference play. The team hopes to see you at a game this spring as they fight to win the conference title.