by Cheval John
Friday May 20 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 5 Sam Houston State Bearkats 1
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (A&M-CC) Islanders spoiled the farewell game of head coach Mark Johnson as they beat the Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bearkats 5-1.
The Islanders got on the board in the top of the first on a RBI single by leftfielder Matt Holland (2-5) that made it a 1-0.
They increased the lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth on a RBI double by shortstop Weston Montgomery (2-3).
The Bearkats pulled within one in the bottom of the eighth when catcher John Hale (1-2) scored on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Todd Simko and had an opportunity to tie the game, but to no avail. Hale singled earlier in the inning with one out and advanced to second on a single by firstbaseman Daniel Nottebart (2-4) and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice that allowed leftfielder Luke Plucheck (2-3) to reach first. After Hale scored, pinched hitter Tyler Jones walked and centerfielder Mark Hudson (1-2) followed with a walk to load the bases with two outs. Then thirdbaseman Kevin Miller (0-3) struck out to end the inning.
That allowed the Islanders to put the game out of reach when they exploded for three runs in the top of the ninth to make it 5-1. Logan Nottebrok, who replaced thirdbaseman Bobby Buckner (2-4) earlier in the game, led off the inning with a walk. Secondbaseman Jeramie Marek (1-2) reached on error by relieve pitcher Paul Spinn. Then Holland followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1. Firstbaseman Trey Hernandez (1-3) followed with a walk to load the bases. Then centerfielder Chris Vergne’s (2-4) RBI sacrifice fly increased the lead to 4-1. They scored the fifth run on a RBI single by shortstop Weston Montgomery (2-3).
Simko went eight innings and got the win for the Islanders and starting pitcher Matt Shelton got the loss for the Bearkats.
Saturday May 21 A&M-CC 6 SHSU 4
A&M-CC swept the series against SHSU by the score of 6-4. This was the final home game for head coach Mark Johnson, who is retiring at the end of the 2011 season.
The Bearkats scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by thirdbaseman Kevin Miller (3-4).
But the Islanders exploded for five runs in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1. Secondbaseman Jeramie Marek (2-5) led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a single by firstbaseman Trey Hernandez (2-4). Marek would score from second on a RBI single by leftfielder Matt Holland (2-4) to tie the game. Rightfielder Jacob Perales (1-4) followed with a single to load the bases. The second run for the Islanders came on a bases loaded walk to centerfielder Chris Vergne (0-2). Then designated hitter Omar Garcia’s (1-4) two-run double and an error by leftfielder Luke Plucheck (0-3) capped the five run inning.
Hernandez would score the Islanders sixth run on a balk by relieve pitcher Brent Powers. Hernandez walked earlier in the inning with one out and advanced to third on a single by Holland.
The Bearkats scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI ground out by shortstop Braeden Riley (0-5) and on a RBI single by designated hitter Chris Andreas (2-3).
They had an opportunity in the bottom of the sixth when centerfielder Mark Hudson (0-2) led off the inning with a walk. He would advance to second on a bunt single by rightfielder Greg Olson (1-5). Catcher John Hale (2-5) followed with a bunt single to load the bases. Then firstbaseman Daniel Nottebart (3-4) hit an RBI single to cut the lead to 6-4. Then Plucheck struck out to make it one out and secondbaseman Ryan Mooney (0-4) fouled out to make it two outs and then Riley fouled out to end the inning.
They would have similar opportunities in the bottom of the seventh, the eighth and the ninth inning, respectively, but to no avail.
“We were in position several times to tie or win the game,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “You look for encouragements and we haven’t been that way for the last two days, so we felt that we were on the brink today.
For the Bearkats’ 13 seniors, even though they close out their playing careers at home with a loss, they are looking forward to send out their head coach Mark Johnson as a winner in the Southland Conference Baseball Tournament next week.
“He means everything to me,” senior Chris Andreas said. “He’s a great coach and it’s an honor for me to play for him and he taught me lessons on the field as well as off the field.”
“I am happy that we made the post season and have a chance to play for the Southland Conference Baseball Championship.”
“It’s disappointing for me because we wanted to finish strong,” senior Braeden Riley said. “The post-season is coming up and it’s a fresh start for us and we have to go out there and play.”
According to head coach Johnson, “Tournament time is an interesting time because the mentality changes and the whole physical make up and there’s no edges given.”
The Bearkats will be the #5 seed as they will face the #4 seed Southeastern Louisiana in the 2011 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament that will be held at Bobcat Ballpark on the campus of Texas State University in San Marcos from May 25-28. The game will start at 4:00 pm. and will be broadcast live via internet on gobearkats.com. All of the games will be streamed live at www.southland.org. The championship game will be televised on the Southland Conference Television Network on Saturday night at 6 p.m.
The Islanders struck first in the top of the first on firstbaseman Trey Hernandez’s (1-3) two-run homerun that gave them a 2-0 lead. It was his 11th of the season and the 50th of his career as a Islander.
The Bearkats pulled within one in the bottom of the second on a RBI single by firstbaseman Daniel Nottebart (1-3). They had opportunities to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth and eighth inning, respectively.
Designated Hitter Chris Andreas (1-4) singled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and advanced to second on shortstop Braeden Riley’s (2-4) single. Then thirdbaseman Kevin Miller (1-3) was robbed of a potential game-tying single by secondbaseman Jeramie Marek to end the inning.
Catcher Doug Oney (1-3) led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by secondbaseman Ryan Mooney (1-3). Rightfielder Greg Olson (0-4) struck out to make it two outs. Then Andreas flied out to end the inning.
According to head coach Mark Johnson, “I am a little disappointed that we did not come out and play competitively.”
The final two games of the season will be played on Friday night and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively at Don Sanders Stadium. The pre- game ceremonies to honor coach Johnson willl be on Friday night.
For more information, visit the Bearkats Athletics Department Website at: www.gobearkats.com
by Cheval John
The weekend series between Sam Houston State University Bearkats and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders at Don Sanders Stadium marks the last home game for head coach Mark Johnson as he will be retiring at the end of the 2011 season.
The Bearkats clinched a spot in the 2011 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament that will be held at Bobcat Stadium on the campus of Texas State University-San Marcos from May 25-28. It will be their fourth appearance in the last five years under Johnson’s tenure.
Johnson’s career as a head coach is 1,042-559-3 and is among active head coaches with 1,000 or more career wins. He got his 1,000 career win on March 28, 2010 when the Bearkats rallied to beat the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners 8-6. To appreciate his contribution to the game of baseball, a person needs to understand his journey.
Johnson played for the University of New Mexico from 1965-1967, receiving All-Conference honors and was an NCAA All-Region in 1967. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Physical Education and a Master’s Degree in Recreation and Physical Education in 1967 and 1971, respectively.
He played for the New York Mets organization from 1967 to 1969. After the stint with the Mets, he was an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico from 1969-1971 while he was a graduate student, then served as an assistant coach at the University of Arizona (UA) from 1971-1976, where they won the national championship in 1976. He continued as an assistant coach at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) from 1976 to 1982 before joining Texas A&M in 1982 as an assistant coach to Tom Chandler.
“I left a pretty good job at Ole’ Miss and took a chance at A&M,” Johnson said. “There was no guarantee that I was going to get the head coaching position once Chandler retired, but I felt at peace with the decision.”
After Chandler retired in 1984, Johnson was promoted to head coach and lasted 21 years. He took the program to new heights, winning the Southwest Conference Championship in 1986, 1989 and 1993. The Southwest Conference dissolved in 1996 and the Big 12 Conference was formed in the same year. From there, they won the Big 12 Conference Championship in 1998 and 1999. They were in the NCAA playoffs 13 times and made it to the College World Series in 1993 and 1999. He also served as head coach of Team USA in the summer of 1999.
After finishing 9th in the Big 12 in 2005 with a 30-25-1 record, Johnson was fired by current Athletic Director Bill Byrne. That could have been the end of his coaching career, but Bobby Williams, athletic director at Sam Houston State University had other ideas. Johnson was hired on July 16, 2006, becoming the sixth head coach of the Bearkat baseball program.
“He took a chance on me,” Johnson said. “My professional career would not have been complete had I not come to Sam Houston and I will always appreciate him for giving me this opportunity.”
That chance paid off because in his first season as head coach, the Bearkats won the 2007 Southland Conference Baseball Championship and reached the NCAA Division I regionals for the first time since 1996. They reached the regional finals, but came up short against Ole’ Miss. They would win two more Southland championships in 2008 and 2009.
Even though the accomplishments on the field are impressive, his accomplishments off the field is more important to him. His family and faith are at the center of his life and to him, it is important to always do the right thing and to never compromise to anything. And the statistic that shows his contributions off the field, 93% of the players that played for Johnson at A&M received their college degrees.
Johnson received the FCA Baseball Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching Award in 2007 and was the first recipient of the American Baseball Coaches Association “Ethics In Coaching” Award in 2008 at the ABCA convention in San Diego. He is in the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
According to Johnson, “Whether we win or lose, win a championship or not, I would rather prefer somebody to say that you’re a man of strong character and integrity.”
Coach Johnson has been a great ambassador to the game of baseball and the game will not be the same without him. He has taught young men how to play the game the right way and has made a strong impact that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
The weekend series will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The pre-game ceremony to honor coach Johnson will be on that Friday at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the Bearkats Athletics Department website at: www.gobearkats.com.
Here are the highlights from the final day of the Southland Conference Softball Tournament.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi (A&M-CC) Islanders advanced to the championship game by defeating the McNeese State Cowgirls 8-6.
Catcher Brittany Tucker (1-4) hit a three-run homerun in the top of the seventh that capped a 4 run rally for the Islanders.
They struck first in the top of the first on a error by firstbaseman Claire Terracina that allowed secondbaseman Caley Jeter (3-4) to score from second. The Huntsville native led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a ground out by centerfielder Hannah Schwarz (2-4).
Thirdbaseman Kacie Smith’s (1-3) three-run homerun in the top of the third increased the lead to 4-0.
The Cowgirls got on the board in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI double by shortstop Molly Guidry (2-4).
They pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run homerun by catcher Stacey Conley (2-3). She would give them the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out two-run single.
The rally started for the Islanders in the top of the seventh when pinch-hitter Laura Phillips singled with one out for leftfielder Cassie Redman (0-2). Redman would come back in to run for Phillips and advanced to second on a single by Jeter. With two outs, Schwarz tied the game at 5-5 on a two-run single. That set up Tucker for the three run blast to leftcenter that gave the Islanders the lead.
“I was looking for a good pitch to hit and the count was 2-0,” Tucker said. “The pitcher had to throw a strike in that situation and I was ready for it.”
Jordan Trujillo pitched 2 2/3 innings in relieve and got the win for the Islanders and starting pitcher Megan Bond got the lost for the Cowgirls.
The Islanders (3-1) would faced the Texas State Bobcats (3-0) in the championship match and would need to win two games in order to claim the title while the Bobcats would only need to win one game.
Game 10 Championship Game (3) Texas State-San Marcos 8 (1) A&M-CC 5
The Texas State Bobcats won the 2011 Southland Conference Softball Tournament by defeating A&M-CC Islanders by the score of 8-5. It was their fifth title in their history and their second in the last three years.
The Islanders struck first in the bottom of the first on catcher Brittany Tucker’s (2-3) solo homerun. She blasted a two-run homerun off the scoreboard in the bottom of the third to give them a 3-0 lead. It was her second of the game and third in three consecutive at-bats tying the Southland Conference Tournament record.
The Bobcats exploded for five runs in the top of the fifth that made it 5-3. Centerfielder Allyce Rother (2-3) led off the inning with a single. Leftfielder Lindsay Matt (1-3) followed with a walk. Then starting pitcher Chandler Hall (2-3) followed with a single to load the bases. Then with one out, Rother scored the first run on a throwing error by shortstop Lauren Dodson. Thirdbaseman Jenna Emery (1-3) hit a two-run single and the extra run was scored on a error by centerfielder Hannah Schwarz making it 4-3. Then second baseman Anna Hernandez (1-2) hit an RBI double capping a 5 run inning. They would add three more runs in the top of the sixth to make it 8-3.
The Islanders would score two runs in the bottom of the sixth that made it 8-5.
Chandler Hall went the distance for the Bobcats and got the win while starting pitcher Greta Cecchetti suffered the loss for the Islanders. Hall was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament.
“It’s awesome to win the Southland Conference Tournament,” Hall said. “It was 100% team effort and we did a great job this weekend.
Caley Jeter had a spectacular tournament for the Islanders coming up with key clutch hits that help them advance to the championship game. She was among the three Islanders that made the All Tournament Team while the Bobcats had five including Hall.
According to Jeter, “I did not imagine being here when I starting playing for the Islanders and to end my career in the Southland Conference Tournament is great for me.”
The win gave the Bobcats an atomatic bid to the NCAA tournament and they will find out who their next opponent will be tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. on the NCAA Softball Tournament Selection Show on ESPNU.
To see the highlights of the championship game, go to the website: www.southland.org and click on the SLC Now Logo. It is free for everyone that is a member institution of the Southland Conference. Register now.
by Cheval John
Here are the highlights from day 2 of the Southland Conference Softball Tournament
Game 5 (1) Texas A&M Corpus Christi 5 (6) Northwestern State 1
Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders eliminated the Northwestern State Demons by the score of 5-1.
The Demons struck first in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by rightfielder Kayla Cole (1-3).
The Islanders would tie it at 1-1 in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Huntsville native Caley Jeter (1-3).
They would score 3 runs in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1. Shortstop Lauren Dodson (0-3) led off the inning with a walk. Meagan McKinney pinched run for Dodson. Then McKinney stole second to put herself in scoring position. Then thirdbaseman Kacie Smith’s (1-4) single advanced McKinney to third. Smith would steal second to put herself in scoring position. McKinney scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by designated hitter Sandy Schumann (1-1) who replace starter Stephanie Vead. Two more runs would score on a throwing error by thirdbaseman Tiffany Ward.
Catcher Brittany Tucker (1-4) scored the fifth run of teh game in the top of the seventh on a throwing error by relief pitcher Brooke Boening. Tucker double earlier in the inning with two outs.
According to Caley Jeter, “It’s awesome for me to come back to Huntsville and play in the tournament.”
Game 6 (5) University of Texas- San Antonio 4 (2) University of Texas at Arliington 3 F 11
The University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (UTSA) elimated the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks (UTA) by the score of 4-3 in 11 innings.
Secondbaseman Ashley Kappler (2-6) scored the game winning run on a throwing error by catcher Rachel Forsaw, who tried to turn an inning ending double on a fielders choice play. Forsaw replaced starting catcher Erica LeFlore earlier in the game.
Pinch hitter Haylee Stanton (1-3) started the inning with a single and would advance on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Carrie Monroe (1-5). She would advance to third on a single by Ashley Kappler. Kappler stole second and catcher Molly Fichtner walked to load the bases that set up the dramatic ending.
The Mavericks scored first in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Erica LeFlore (2-4).
Thirdbaseman Kristin Kappler’s (1-6) RBI single tied it up at 1-1 for the Roadrunners.
They scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth on firstbaseman Caitlyn Ivy’s (2-5) RBI single and on centerfielder Stephanie Gonzalez’s error that allowed the second run to score and for Ivy to advance to third.
Shortstop Courtney Enocksen’s (1-5) two-run single tied it up at 3-3 in the top of the sixth for the Mavericks.
Emily Humpal pitched five innings in relieve and got the win for the Roadrunners while starting pitcher Teri Lyles got the loss in a gutsy performance for the Mavericks.
Game 7 (3) Texas State 2 (4) McNeese State 1
The Texas State Bobcats defeated the McNeese State Cowgirls by the score of 2-1 to advance to the championship game.
The Bobcats struck first in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by catcher Megan Parten.
The Cowgirls would tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the third on an RBI single by secondbaseman Katie Roux.
The key play of the game happened in the top of the sixth when leftfielder Allana Divittorio was robbed of a homerun by centerfielder Allyce Rother.
Parten hit another RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that turned out to be the game-winning run for the Bobcats.
Jenna Emery threw two innings in relieve and got the win for the Bobcats while starting pitcher Kayla Sheperd got the loss for the Cowgirls.
The Bobcats are now 3-0 in the tournament while the Cowgirls are 2-1.
Game 8 (1) Texas A&M Corpus Christi 6 (5) UTSA 5 F 8
Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders eliminated University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Roadrunners by the score of 6-5 in eight innings.
Rightfielder Lauren Sanders (2-2) scored the game winning run in the bottom of the eight on a wild pitch by pitcher Haylee Stanton. Sanders led off the inning with an infield single. Secondbaseman Caley Jeter followed with a single. Both runners would advance to second and third, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by centerfielder Hannah Schwarz (1-3) that set up the wild finish.
The Islanders scored first in the bottom of the first on a RBI sacrifice fly by shortstop Lauren Dodson (1-3).
Thirdbaseman Kristin Kappler’s (1-2) three-run home run in the top of the fourth gave the Roadrunners a 3-1 lead.
The Islanders exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fourth on a pair of RBI doubles by firstbaseman Jamise Jackson (1-3) and designated hitter Stephanie Vead (1-2), respectively and an RBI single by Huntsville native Caley Jeter and a RBI sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Laura Phillips that made it 5-3.
Roadrunners tied it at 5-5 in the top of the sixth on a two-run double by pinch hitter Danye Holmes.
The Islanders will face the McNeese State Cowgirls in game 9 today at 10:30 a.m. The winner of that game will face the Texas State Bobcats in the championship elimination game at 2:00 p.m. They would need to win two games in the championship in order to win the tournament while Texas State will only need to win one. The championship game will be televised on the Southland Conference Television Network.