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A Little Preparation Goes A Long Way

By Cheval John

Sam Houston State's first NCAA Division I National Championship in the Athletic Department's office

Sam Houston State’s first NCAA Division I National Championship in the Athletic Department’s office

If someone sees the success of a person, organization and/or sports teams, one of the first things that come out of their mouths is that they were lucky.

What they don’t see is the years of blood, sweat and tears that the person, organization, and/or sport team went through in order to put themselves in position to succeed.

Here are two examples of how a little preparation went a long way for these guys and how you can apply the same mindset to your life:

Sam Houston State Bowling Team

The Sam Houston State (SHSU) Bowling Team won the NCAA Division I National Championship in the Cleveland suburb of Wickliffe, Ohio about two weeks ago after defeating defending champion, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 4-2 in the best of seven baker format.

The championship was the first ever for SHSU since moving up to the Division I level in 1986.

What is more impressive is that the bowling program is in it’s fourth year of existence and the team have made two previous appearances in the NCAA Championships prior to winning it all this year.

The team contributed their success to a second half surge in the 2013-14 season that allowed them to make their third trip to the championships.

However, I honestly believe that it was what head coach Brad Hagen did before the season even began: Held a pre-season exhibition with Texas Southern and Prarie View A&M at the Huntsville Lanes Center in Huntsville, Texas.

Even though, his team didn’t do well in the exhibition, it allowed them to see their weaknesses and correct the mistakes before the season began.

That little preparation by coach Hagen is what made the difference in helping the team secure the school’s first NCAA Division I National Title.

“Jane Doe”

Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas, right.

Diane Gottsman, owner of the Protocol School of Texas, right.

Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, shared a story at the Etiquette Dinner recently held at SHSU about a young college student, who she didn’t identify, so that is why I call her Jane Doe.

Mrs. Gottsman said that Jane Doe came up to her after one of her dinners and wowed her after Ms. Doe explained to her in detail about her background, what she said in her blog, www.dianegottsman.com her appearances on television, you name it.

Mrs. Gottsman added that even though “Ms. Doe” will be graduating from college two years from now, she is willing to wait for her because of the “extra preparation” that she did before the dinner.

In effect, Ms. Doe don’t have to worry about finding a career after graduating because she has already secured her first with a nationally recognized etiquette expert in Mrs. Gottsman.

Conclusion:

So you see the two examples of how a little preparation has led to the success of the SHSU Bowling Team and “Jane Doe.”

You really don’t have an excuse anymore on why you can’t succeed in life.

If you go out, work hard and smart, and even put out the “extra preparation,” then you will achieve the success that you dream of.

Houston’s Pitching Dominates In 5-2 Win Over Sam Houston

By Cheval John

The Houston Cougars was leading 3-2 in the top of the eight inning and had two outs.

They were able to tacked on two more insurance runs in the inning after a missed call that allowed them to defeat the Bearkats 5-2 at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

Though it took the moment from Sam Houston (25-12), Bearkat head coach David Pierce said that the pitching was not up to par in the game.

Sam Houston used 6 pitchers and they gave up seven walks in the game.

“We didn’t play really well to win the game” Pierce said. “We got to get better out of the bullpen.”

The Bearkat offense didn’t get much production when it counted as they left 8 runners on base.

That was due to Houston’s (27-9) solid pitching that made the right pitches in the opportune time.

The Cougars used four pitchers, with reliever Andrew Lantrip getting the win after throwing two shutout innings.

“Their (Houston) pitching staff is No. 1 in the country,” Pierce said. “They walked one guy and struck out eight.”

“We didn’t get it done, center fielder Colt Atwood, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI, said. “Getting the clutch hits is more important.”

Houston capitalized on their opportunity in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0.

Left fielder Michael Pyeatt, who led off the inning with a single and first baseman Casey Grayson, who followed with a walk, advanced to second and third, respectively on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Ashford Fulmer.

Then Pyeatt scored from third on a RBI ground out by third baseman Justin Montemayor.

The Cougars added another run in the top of the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead.

Short stop Connor Hollis started it with a one out single to left center and advanced to second on a walk by right fielder Kyle Survance.

Both runners advanced to second and third after Ebbs was called for a balk.

That turned out to be huge as a ground out by second baseman Josh Vidales allowed Hollis to score from third.

Sam Houston were able to knot it up at 2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

After second baseman Shea Pierce reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a single by short stop Corey Toups, with two outs, Atwood hit an RBI single to left center field that scored Pierce to make it 2-1.

The following batter, catcher Anthony Azar, hit an RBI double to left field that scored Toups to cap the inning.

It seemed as if Houston was going to make something happen in the top of the 6th inning when Grayson led off with a walk.

But, left fielder Luke Plucheck had other ideas as he made another diving catch to rob Fulmer of a possible hit for the first out.

Afterward, Grayson was thrown out at second for the second out by Azar.

That allowed reliever Seth Holbert to force Montemayor to ground out to end the threat.

It didn’t stop the Cougars to score the go-ahead, run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 3-2 after a two out, RBI single by Vidales.

It seemed as Sam Houston State had got out of the jam in the top of the eighth inning when Toups made a diving stop to his left on a hit ball up the middle and thrown the ball at first for the final out.

However, the first base umpire called designated hitter Jacob Lueneburg, the person who hit the ball, safe claiming that first base man Hayden Simerly’s foot was pulled off the bag.

That kept the inning alive and a batter later, Hollis hit a RBI double to left field that extended the lead to 4-2.

After Survance issued the walk to load the bases, Vidales followed with an RBI walk of his own that capped the inning and took the sails out of the Bearkats.

Sam Houston looks to rebound from the loss when they return to Southland Conference play and travel to Beaumont to face Lamar in a weekend series.

“Lamar is a good team and are swinging the bats well right now,” Pierce said. “We got to be prepared.”

Champions Don’t Feel Sorry For Themselves

By Cheval John

David Pierce will remember the way how he secured his 100th win as a head coach on Tuesday night against the Baylor Bears at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

His Sam Houston State squad had committed three errors in the top of the fourth inning that resulted in three unearned runs that had them trailing 3-1.

The Bearkats could have felt sorry for themselves.

Instead, Sam Houston rallied together and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut the lead to 3-2.

Then the breakthrough came in the bottom of the seventh inning when third baseman Carter Burgess hit a go-ahead two out, two run game-winning single to right field for a 4-3 lead.

“What we did was right after that (fourth) inning, we basically came together and said, ‘Look, it might be one of the worst innings that we had since the history of baseball, but at the same time, we got to overcome that and forget about it,’” Pierce said. “I think they did. That is the sign I’m looking for of a character team.”

How is this related to life?

Simple: Though you make mistakes and think that nothing will get better, you should always get back up and try again to fulfill your dreams.

Those who do that will always succeed.

The ones who don’t succeed are the ones who always find excuses and feel sorry for themselves.

The “never give up mentality” is why coach Pierce has directed the Bearkat squad to two consecutive at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament, back-to-back Southland Conference regular season titles, and securing his 100th win as a head coach.

Oller’s Pitching Dominance Led To Demons’ Win Over Sam Houston

By Cheval John

A two hour weather delay was the least of the worries for Sam Houston State at Don Sanders Stadium in Huntsville, Texas.

Errors and a dominating pitching performance by freshman Adam Oller is what led to the 12-1 defeat to Northwestern State.

Oller, who went the distance, struck out five batters.

Sam Houston (18-9 overall, 3-4 Southland Conference play) couldn’t carry their momentum into this matchup after winning two mid-week games that included a 8-1 victory over No.22 Texas A&M.

Northwestern State (13-11 overall, 5-2 SLC play) struck first in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Caleb Dugas.

Second baseman Edwin Gomez led off the game with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Joel Atkinson.

He advanced to third on a wild pitch by Bearkat starting pitcher Tyler Eppler and scored on the sacrifice fly.

The Demons tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to increase the lead to 3-0.

Dugas, who issued a walk with one out and advanced to third on a single by left fielder Cort Brinson, scored the second run in the top of the inning for a 2-0 lead on a error by Eppler when he tried to pick off Brinson, but threw the ball into the dirt that skipped over the glove of first baseman Ryan O’Hearn.

Brinson advanced to second on the throw and scored the third run on a RBI single by third baseman Chase Daughdrill.

Sam Houston had something going in the bottom of the seventh inning when catcher Anthony Azar reached first after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning.

A batter later, third baseman Carter Burgess hit a double that moved Azar to third.

However, they couldn’t capitalized as Oller struck out designated hitter Dirk Masters and got second baseman Shea Pierce to fly out to end the threat.

The Demons exploded for nine more runs in the top of the ninth inning to increase the lead to 12-0.

After Northwestern State scored the fourth run and the bases was loaded, reliever Seth Holbert struck out two batters.

It seemed as if the Bearkats were going to get out of the inning when a Demon player hit a liner to second.

However, Pierce dropped the ball that allowed Northwestern State to scored two more runs for a 6-0 lead..

The Demons increased the floodgates as they tacked on six more runs to increased the lead to 12-0.

Sam Houston got on the board in the bottom of the ninth for a 12-1 score on a solo home run by Hunter Courson, who replaced Azar in the top of the ninth inning.

But the damage was done as the Demons got the necessary outs to secure the win.

Sam Houston Stun No.12 Baylor In First Game of Double-Header

By Cheval John

Sam Houston State is really happy to have split the double-header with a top 25 team in the Baylor Bears.

The Bearkats won the first game in dramatic fashion by the score of 4-3 in 10 innings, but was mercy-ruled in the second game 12-0.

It seemed as if Sam Houston (15-17 overall) was destined for another loss after surrendering three runs in the top of the tenth inning.

However, the Bearkats dug deep and scored four runs in the bottom of the tenth to stunned the No. 12 Bears.*

Sam Houston coach Bob Brock said that in all his years of coaching, it is a rarity for a team to come back in extra innings and was really glad that it was done in front of the home crowd at the Bearkat Softball Complex in Huntsville, Texas.

“I think it’s a great situation,” Brock said. “It’s everything you dream of as a coach.

It all started in the top of the tenth inning when the Bears (24-6) scored three runs for a 3-0 lead.

First baseman Holly Holl launched a solo shot to right field to make it 1-0.

After pinch hitter Sarah Crockett hit a single down the line, catcher Robin Landrith, who came back in the game and ran for Crockett, scored the second run on a error by short stop Taylor Gray, which also allowed left fielder Christy Lisenby, who singled behind Crockett to second base.

Designated hitter Linsey Hays’ sacrifice fly tacked on the third run for the Bears.

That would have been enough for the Bears.

However, the Bearkats had other ideas in the bottom of the tenth inning.

After Gray reached first on a fielder’s choice play that got center fielder Jessica Slater, who led off with a single, out at second, second baseman Alyssa Coggins and first baseman Tori Koerselman had back-to-back singles to load the bases.

Designated player Hilary Adams followed with a walk that scored Gray from third to make it 3-1.

The next batter, right fielder Cecelia Castillo hit an RBI single to right field that brought the Bearkats within 3-2.

Third baseman Hannah Marino struck out to make it two outs, leaving catcher Tiffany Castillo with the chance to either tie the game or win it with the bases still loaded.

Castillo issued the walk that brought in Koerselman to tie the game at 3.

“I was thinking either get a base hit or walk,” Tiffany Castillo said. “I was relieved when I walked.”

Then with left fielder Amy Pelton at the plate, reliever Whitney Canion, threw a wild pitch that allowed Jenny Kieval, who pinch ran for Adams to score the walk-off run from third base that sent the crowd in a frenzy.

“I knew she had trouble hitting her spot,” Kieval said of Canion, who suffered the loss for the Bears. “When I saw that it was a pass ball, I just went hoping I was safe.”

It was a pitching duel between Bearkat starter Shelby Lancaster, who went 7 2/3 innings with the no-decision and Bears starter Heather Stearns, who also got the no-decision and pitched 5 2/3 innings.

Reliever Haley Baros pitched 2 1/3 inning and got her sixth win of the season.

Lancaster, who came into the game with a 4.23 era, held the Bears to only four hits.

Of course, great defense was what allowed Lancaster to do well.

Baylor was looking to break the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth.

Lindsey Hays led off the fourth with a double and advance to third on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Shelby Lancaster.

After Smith grounded out for the first out, Strickland hit a fly ball to center field that was caught by Jessica Slater.

Hays, tagging up, head for the plate, but Slater’s threw her out at the plate to end the threat.

In the top of the sixth, left fielder Jill Reid led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Thumann.

Lancaster got out of the jam as pinch hitter, Clare Hosack lined out to Gray and the short stop stepped on second base for the double play after Reid was caught napping to end the threat.

“I think our defense played very well,” Brock said. “We were good in all phases.”

The Bears responded in the second game with a vengeance as they mercy-rule the Bearkats by the score of 12-0.

Baylor exploded with three home runs in the game and a 10 run fourth inning.

Though the Bears rebounded big time in the second game, they will not forget the way how they lost the first game of the double-header.

As for the Bearkats, they feel that it was a confidence boost that they needed for the rest of the season.

“It will give us a lot more confidence,” Tiffany Castillo said. “I have confidence in our team.”

Sam Houston travels to Beaumont for a three-game series with Lamar beginning on Saturday.

*First video courtesy of Cameron Bunch