Oct. 12, 2011
BEAUMONT - Lamar University's baseball team will conclude its preseason training camp with the playing of a best-of-seven Fall World Series in Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The Fall Series, to be played with teams drafted by their senior captains, will begin with 2 p.m. games on Oct. 19, 20 and 21. Game 4 is set for Tuesday, Oct. 25, and Games 5 and 6, if necessary, will be played Oct. 26 and Oct. 27.
If a Game 7 is needed, it will be played at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1. All games will be seven-inning affairs unless, of course, the score is tied after seven innings.
"This will be a fun way for the players and coaches to end our fall workouts," said Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan. "The great part of our fall workouts has been that they have been extremely competitive, and it's been fun from a coaching standpoint,"
Gilligan and assistants Jim Ricklefsen, Scott Hatten and Tyler Link have been working with a 45-player fall roster that includes promising prospects to fill the holes left by Lamar's departing seniors from the Cardinals' 29-27 team that finished tied for seventh place in the Southland Conference.
Gone from the 2011 Cardinal team is the entire starting infield of first baseman Wade Mathis, second baseman Andy Mena, shortstop Aaron Buchanan, third baseman Pablo Salinas and catcher Joey Latulippe. Among the Cardinals' other major losses are pitchers Blake Ford and Taylor McInnis and outfielders Ted Zentek and Kevin Roebuck (who will redshirt next spring due to an injury).
"It's been a really good fall camp," said Gilligan, who is preparing for his 35th season at Lamar and his 36th as a college head coach. "We're coming out of it with a lot of positives - a lot of big things.
"Number 1 is our athletic ability. We have shown the ability to hit the ball very well. If there's a criticism there, it's that we may have too many left-handed hitters. We'll have a couple of right-handed hitters, but a lot of times, it's an advantage to be left-handed heavy.
"Our ability to hit for power will be better than average, although you have to take into consideration the ballpark (Vincent-Beck Stadium) we're going to be hitting in. It's more of a doubles ballpark than it is a home run ballpark.
"I'm also confident we'll be able to defend. We'll have a good infield and a really good outfield. We'll also be three-deep at catcher.
"We've had three returning pitchers (right-handers Eric Harrington and Andrew Beasley and left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic) who have had to miss the fall workouts because they're still rehabbing injuries. We know what they can do, though, and they will have plenty of time in January to get in game shape.
"The flip side to that coin, though, is it's given some of our incoming pitchers better chances to show what they can do, and I like what I've seen so far."
Among the pitchers Gilligan singled out for showing improvement during the fall drills are right-handers Colin Chapman from Leander High School, Stephen Segar from Phillips Junior College and returning lettermen Shane Hamaker and John Gilligan.
Solid candidates to help fill the voids left by Lamar's departed infielders are first baseman Brad Picha from Paris Junior College, second baseman David Harris from Navarro College, third baseman Seth Dornak from Galveston Junior College, shortstop Aaron Olivas from Cisco Junior College and catchers Thomas Henk from Angelina College and Zach Luevanos from Seminole Junior College.
After the Fall World Series, the Cardinals will take a break and then return for preseason workouts once the spring semester begins in January. That will give them ample time to prepare for their season-opening event - the three-team, 2012 Lamar Classic that is scheduled for Feb. 17-19 in Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Lamar's first game in that tournament will be against the University of Portland at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17, and the Cardinals will have games against Arkansas State at 2:30 p.m. and against Portland at 6 p.m. on Feb. 18, before closing the three-day event with a 2:30 p.m. game against Arkansas State on Feb. 19.