From BC Sports Information
2012 turned out to be an unforgettable season for the Bacone Warriors baseball program and head coach J.T. Severe as the Warriors claimed second first trip to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.
The road they took to the national tournament however was far less conventional.
In the opening game of the Red River Conference tournament the Warriors dropped a 7-2 decision to Texas College; needing to win to continue on Bacone rolled off three straight victories against the University of the Southwest, Texas and UT-Brownsville before advancing to the conference finals against LSU-Shreveport.
There, Bacone fell 5-2 to LSU-Shreveport but in the process secured a bid to the NAIA Baseball National Championship opening round against Avila (Mo.)
On the big stage the Warriors weren’t flustered, defeating the Eagles 5-1 in game before losing 12-1 to the Lee (Tenn.) Flames; needing another win Bacone lost a nail biter 3-2 to Avila (Mo.) to conclude their season at 29-25.
“I think they proved a lot to themselves, just on what they can accomplish as a team,” Severe added. “All season we’re teaching effort, focus, bringing enthusiasm to the field every day and bringing yourself to play. There are ups and down but at the conference tournament we really committed, laid everything out on the field and became resilient.”
The good news for the Warriors is they bring back 14 returners who played pivotal roles during the 2012.
Leading the pitching staff is senior Jesse Fish; he finished with a 3-4 record in 12 games started with a 4.91 ERA in 69 innings and tossed 47 strikeouts.
“Fish pitched a lot of big innings for us,” Severe said. “He pitched really well for us; he gives us a chance to win every time he takes the mound. He’s as competitive as anybody on the mound and he’s one of those players that you trust out there knowing he’s going to give your team a chance to win.”
Another key starter returning is Eric Augillard who went 5-3 with a 4.84 ERA in 67 innings during the 2012 campaign; the junior right-hander also racked up 35 strikeouts.
“Last year he worked his way into our game-three starter, he threw quality innings and kept us in ballgames.” the head coach said. “That’s what you ask from a pitching staff.”
Adam Huizar, Sean Callahan and Cody McBride also return after tossing key innings for the Warriors in 2012.
Pitching primarily out of the bullpen, Huizar finished 2012 at 3-2 with 2.85 ERA in 47 innings, Callahan went 2-2 with 5.98 ERA in 43 innings and McBride held a 6-1 record in 16 games with a 2.41 ERA in 33 innings with 32 strikeouts.
“McBride was kind or a closer, late-inning guy for us, he did really well for us and earned a lot of wins,” Severe added. “Adam (Huizar) was the same way; he worked in a couple different ways and was very consistent. Callahan’s battling some arm issues so he won’t be ready for the start of the season but we’re hoping he’ll be back as soon as possible.”
A few new faces also look to join the pitching staff in the rotation and bullpen; they include Kyandi Ortiz, Matt Durbin, Alberto Pena, Andrew Niethold, Chance Robertson, Allen Rimer, Kameron Collins and Tim Hill.
Durbin, a 6’3 junior right-handed pitcher, redshirted last year and Hill, a 6’4 lefty hurler, both look to make immediate impact according to Severe.
“We’re expecting big things from him (Durbin) on the mound this year, Tim (Hill) is a big left-handed pitcher who looks right now to be on the front-end of our rotation. He has a chance to match up against other teams number one starters and we’re looking forward to having him this spring.”
“Overall, we got a good group of guys that’ll challenge hitters; get into the zone; as a position player that’s all you can ask for. But there are still a lot of roles yet to be earned.”
Anthony Seabolt returns to lead Bacone at the plate; the senior centerfielder hit .341 with two homeruns, 32 RBIs and 19 stolen bases while being named to the RRAC All-Conference second team.
“Seabolt did a very good job both defensively and at the plate,” Severe added. “He’s a very good team player, plays with a lot of energy and players feed off of him so I’m looking forward to having him back in the lineup.”
Other top contributors that return for the Warriors include Enrique Meza (.294 BA, 38 RBIs), Antonio Horn (.304 BA, three homers, 18 RBIs), Steven Smith (.265 BA, eight homerun, 52 RBIs) and Kyle Pietryga (.259 BA, one homer, 26 RBIs)
“Smith was fourth in the RRAC in RBIs last year, he hit in the middle of our order so we’re expecting the same production out of him; Enrique (Meza) was similar to Seabolt, he was an on-base guy and provided the sparks needed to score runs. Kyle (Pietryga) also had some big hits for us down the stretch of the season. We have a good group of guys all-around and we’re looking forward to reaching higher with those guys.”
The Warriors were set to begin their season on Tuesday, Jan. 29 against Saint Gregory’s but it was postponed due to weather. Bacone will now begin the season with a three-game home stand against Friends University on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.
Kyle Taylor is the Sports Information Director at Bacone College.