Sept. 17, 2012
BEAUMONT - As the Major League Baseball regular season begins to wind down, the Lamar season is only just beginning as the Cardinals opened up the fall practice season on Monday at Vincent-Beck Stadium
"I'm pumped," head coach Jim Gilligan said. "We have a lot of new kids in here and a lot of our returning guys had good summers, so that sounds like a pretty good recipe for a good year. We're anxious to get everybody together."
The Cards will be looking to build off a number of solid summer seasons as the fall session offers Gilligan and the coaching staff their first opportunity to witness the progression of their players over what was for most, a busy summer.
Perhaps no player had as impressive a summer as Jude Vidrine, who, in addition to homering twice in the Texas League All-Star Game, earned a spot as one of the league's top 30 prospects according to Perfect Game USA. He wasn't the only Card to earn that accolade, as both Brad Picha and Garret Autrey were named to the top 30 list for the Valley League.
"When I say some of our players had good summers, those are three in particular that performed against some of the best ball players in the country," Gilligan said. "They've become better players and that's only going to fuel their confidence and lets them know that they're legit. Now we just have to translate that into wins."
After going through normal practices over the next several weeks, LU will be breaking from the normal fall season routine with a meeting against perennial national power Rice at Reckling Park on October 20.
"This is the first fall we've played games in a while," Gilligan said. "This Rice game is very important to us. It's going to allow us to evaluate our work in the fall against one of the best teams in the country. I'm looking forward to it."
The Cards will return home to Vincent-Beck for the annual Red and White World Series the following week.
"You want the end of your fall to have some kick to it," Gilligan explained. "When you talk about runners, the good ones kick it in down the stretch. I want there to be some enthusiasm. I want our players to still want to play when we shut it down at the end."