Monthly Archives: April 2012

Come Tryout

Come Tryout

Alice Essien

A good work ethic, perseverance, and dedication are exactly what you will need in order to gain membership to the legendary Bulldog Baseball team here at Louisiana Tech.

Each year several player hopefuls audition for what they anticipate to be the beginning of their collegian baseball careers. Each player fights for those last spots on the team that the coaches were unable to fill with scouted players. The competition can get vicious due to the fact that the spots are limited and each prospective player feels that they deserve a position.

The first thing that a potential player will need to become a part of the squad is approval by the National Student Clearinghouse and high school transcript. What this does is ensure the coaching staff that a potential player has graduated from high school and is enrolled here at Louisiana Tech.

Once a player is approved by the Clearinghouse and their official high school transcripts have been reviewed, they must then be examined by a physician. The physical can be performed by a physician of the players’ choice or one of the certified team trainers here at Louisiana Tech.

After all that tedious paper work it’s time for the prospects to grab a bat and glove and head to the diamond. Players speed, strength, and agility will all be analyzed by the coaching staff and then compared to that of the current members of the team. Anyone planning to attend the tryouts should be prepared to run the 60 yard dash, throw live bat pitches, and hit fly and ground balls for over a two day period.

“Any time we have walk on try outs, what we try to do is see if they’re a good enough athletes to hang with the guys that we already have and possible one day take the place of one of them” said Bulldog Baseball head coach Wade Simoneaux.

In addition to attending the open tryouts, a perspective play may want to think about attending one of the baseball camps held here by the Bulldog Baseball team. Attending the camps gives a perspective player a feel of what the team is all about and they can become familiar with players, coaches, and other baseball staff members. Camps are also a good place to showcase talent and athletic ability that could give a player the edge on the competition.

“Once the tryouts came around I felt very comfortable with the team because they players and staff remember and recognized me from the winter camp. Going to the camps definitely benefitted me in the end” said Justin Gordey current walk-on member of the baseball team. Gordey is the only current member of the team who has transitioned from a walk-on member to a scholarship player. His advice to prospective player is to “Give it your all everyday and at least you know you gave it your best. No one can take that away from you, if you go all out, and try to have fun.”

For more information any perspective player would want to contact head coach Wade Simoneaux at  wade@latech.edu.

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“Tech Coach Shows Optimism for Baseball Team, On and Off the Field.”

Bruce

Brewer

4/2/12

Roberts

Feature Writing

 

“Tech Coach Shows Optimism for Baseball Team, On and Off the Field”

                Louisiana Tech University Baseball Coach Wade Simnoneaux sits behind his desk in the coach’s locker room. It is a cramped room with drink machines lining one of the concrete walls, the other walls look like they are covered in a wallpaper of baseball posters and enlarged autographed photos of great Tech players. The small room is filled to the brim with desks, equipment, and stacks of papers. A room that looks worn over the years, the floors scuffed by the infinite footsteps of cleated feet. The men that are gathered in this office look fidgety, and often glance quickly out the windows to see the approaching rain clouds. The locker room is filled with the scent of humidity and an approaching storm.

Despite the looks of the other coaches, Simoneaux appears calm and eager to talk. Simoneaux has been Louisiana Tech’s head coach for the past ten years. In 2007 he was awarded the WAC conference coach of the year. He has helped many young men go on to the professional level and graduate. “A main thing we look for when scouting players is the student athlete” Simoneaux said. Student obviously being the first word in that criteria. “We have to have kids that can make their grades here and survive the academic load as much as were on the road,” he adds. The young team of 12 Freshmen and only two seniors are certainly getting to experience what he means this season, the Bulldogs have been on the road for 17 of their 28 games so far. Simoneaux typically doesn’t like to play so many road games but with such a young team he felt it was necessary to get the team acclimated to playing big games in the road. “We’ve been humbled, humiliated, stomped on, and homered on the road, it’s something that our guys grow and learn from that, it makes them together, and it makes them better,” the coach explains. With so many young players and road games it seems that the odds would be stacked against the team to achieve academically. The freshman year is a crucial segment of college, it is a time when young students, even athletes become acquainted with college life and all of its stresses. Fortunately, the team members have been able to balance their education with their busy baseball schedule. Simoneaux says that all active members of the baseball team are staying on top of their studies and doing well in their classes.

If a college player is outstanding on the diamond as well as in the classroom they will most likely have a decision to make their junior or senior years. Many good players get drafted to play at a professional level before they graduate college. Simoneaux enjoys seeing good players get a chance to play at a higher level but he’s concerned about their future if they fail to get a degree. He likes to see the players that still have options if they don’t get drafted or just simply decide against signing with any team. He talks about one player in particular, Jeb Stefan a senior who maintains an upwards of a 3.8 GPA. Simoneaux became excited when talking about the player who has had the opportunity to intern at NASA over a summer and could possibly attend grad school at University of Texas at Austin. “I’d love for all of them to stay and get their degrees because that Engineering degree is going to take them a lot farther than baseball will,” Simoneaux says. “Those muscles wont tear,” he says pointing to his head.

Wade Simoneaux is not only concerned with his team’s grades but also strives for his team to be respectful towards themselves, their opponents, and the game. Simoneaux said the team and coaches do all the field work at J.C. Love field year around. He has seen through years of experience that this is a good way for the players and coaches alike to get a feel for the field and through their hard work earn the right to play on such a historic field. Since Simoneaux’s arrival in 2002 he has made several new additions to the J.C. Love Baseball complex. “Enhancing the batting cage, putting in the chair back seats, new press box, new score board, new back fence, and a rod iron fence,” surrounding the complex, he says.

Simoneaux has experienced the game of baseball from every angle. As a player while in college at Louisiana State University, Central Florida, and Nicholis State. A parent to his son, Thomas who is a Ragin’ Cajun at University of Lafayette and finally, a coach to many High School teams as well as assistant coach at ULL before becoming a Bulldog. Since then he has made a big impact on the Ruston community and Louisiana Tech. His wife Susan owns Powerhouse Tumble and Cheer right here in the Ruston community. His eldest daughter Mary Alice is an architect major that is projected to graduate soon and his youngest daughter, Caroline is a Regal Blue. Simoneaux feels blessed that the Ruston community and Louisiana Tech have been able to give him so much.

With so much season still to go it is difficult to project the outcome but Simoneaux is full of pride and quite optimistic for the rest of the season. The Bulldogs stand at a record of 14-14 thus far and constantly strive to improve. With someone such as Simoneaux on the teams back and calling the plays the Bulldogs stand a good chance of making this a winning season.

Mandated rule prevents harm to LaTech baseball players

This is the type of gear that players used to use on the baseball field.

Louisiana Tech maintain precautions to avoid dangers of baseball related head injuries.

Baseball is the American pastimes that has a standing tradition of exciting and illuminating thrills and chills to  those who watch it. The activity that once ranked above television, facebook, and video games continues  to shine at Louisiana Tech University. Tech baseball fans come out of the woodworks to fill up the 1,500 seat stadium to cheer on the Bulldogs.

Imagine  that you’re watching the game, and a player approaches the mound prepared to hit the ball, but when its thrown it hits him in the head. Therefore, causing the athlete to remain unconscious for several minutes.

It would have been a scary scene, but with the new NCAA-mandated rule on college bats, the potential risk of pitchers being struck by a ball is likely to be reduced.

The new Ball-Bat Coefficient of Restitution bats were altered after last season because of many complaints by collegiate coaches.

“As a result, the Bulldogs will produce more home runs and score more runs. However, the bats are still a huge difference than from two seasons ago. Tech has hit 19 home  runs this season after hitting just 28 last year,” said Kelvin Queliz, the baseball representative.

“I would definitely say that before, there was a definite possibility of getting hurt by the ball,”  one of the Bulldogs pitchers  Jamie Gilley said. “You could still get hurt by these, but I mean it was definitely a lot more dangerous before.”

The switch from composite barreled bats to aluminum bats ensures the safety of players and evens a playing field for the offense and defense.

College baseball has seen an explosion of offensive output, and to counter this, new bats must meet the newly introduced BBCOR standard.

“A lot of times, the bats were so powerful that if we make a good pitch, we do exactly what we wanted with the ball, [batters] wouldn’t get it all the way square or anything, and it would still go,” Gilley said.

But no more. Bulldog pitchers are seeing much more success on the mound this season.

“From a pitching standpoint, I guess we’re in favor of them,” Gilley said of the new bats.

But as predicted, the Bulldogs batting numbers have decreased slightly. Through the 2011 season, head coach Wade Simeoneaux’s squad batted 5.33 and though 61 games are batting 6.12 as a team for the first 25 games of this season.

“They challenge you a little bit more as a hitter to barrel it up,”  Gilley said. “You don’t get away with as many things this year as you would last year.

“You can’t let the bat affect you or your swing,” he added. “That’s when you start creating problems.”

Although the new bats have dipped into players’ batting averages and have improved pitcher’s ERA, the preparation and experience gained from these bats are valuable for their future careers in the majors.

“I believe these bats are actually allowing scouts to better predict the performance of the players at the next level because professional organizations use wooden bats,” said Queliz. “The BBCOR bats do not allow hitters to get away with the same mistakes they were allowed to get away with two seasons ago.”

Research has shown that there are several dangers that can be caused by playing baseball or any other sport but the fact that Louisiana Tech is being so precautious about the health and well-being of his athletes makes the Bulldogs that much more enjoyable to watch.

Written by: Winnie Sanders

Due to the new mandated rule, players are now using this BBCOR bats.

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