Baseball Competes in Own Fall World Series
Monday, November 1, 2010
SHREVEPORT-With the fall baseball season coming to an end and the professional baseball season showcasing its always-anticipated World Series, the Centenary baseball team used three Maroon and White Intrasquad games this past weekend to highlight what is expected this coming 2011 season.

The Gents, under new head coach Mike Diaz, began wrapping up their practice schedule on Thursday evening with a single game, followed by a double-header on Friday afternoon.

"It's the culmination of our fall practices. This is a last fall opportunity for guys to leave an impression on the coaching staff and their teammates," said Diaz.

"One of our staff's most important goal is to get these guys to compete every day in practice and this World Series allows the coaching staff to evaluate who is a competitor and who plays the game the right way."

The games were used to evaluate and showcase what this young and thriving Centenary squad has to offer as its season kicks off in early February.

The Gents welcomed back six letterwinners from a year ago in junior second-team All-Leaguer Seth Lugo, seniors Justin Kraft and Derek Dalzell, junior Jeff Schaffert and sophomores Matt Creamer and Cole Thompson. After receiving a redshirt last season, Centenary will also return juniors Zachary Christ and Dan Lazarou.

Diaz and coaching staff of Jason Stephens and Austin Jones were able to bring in 23 newcomers to the program, which included 21 freshmen.

The "White" team took the series, two games to one, as several players made major contributions. In Games 1 and 2, pitching highlighted each contest as Centenary used starters Thompson and Kraft as well as Lugo and freshman Trey Lavespere.

"Our pitching was really good over the three-game set. We relied on our returners to carry us through and we had several newcomers make impressive marks," said Diaz.

Thompson and Kraft faced off in Game 1 as Thompson's "White" team walked away with the victory, despite each having strong performances.

Game 2 was led on the mound by starters Lavespere and Lugo. A pitching duel at its finest, the "Maroon" team would walk away with the win after a bases loaded hit-by-pitch from the arm of freshman Trey Guccione.

"Our Game 2 starters held the pitchers at bay and it really proved to be more of a defensive mindset atmosphere," said Diaz.

The final game of the series used the arms of freshmen starters Ryan Maldonado for the "White" team and Sam Martin on the "Maroon" team. The "White" team took an early lead, but the "Maroon" team would bounce back and make it an interesting final seventh inning.

Guccione, who suffered the tough loss in Game 2, would work out of a bases loaded jam in the final frame to garner a groundout and tally a save.

"The final game really became an offensive showing. As a unit, we swung the bats well and battled through tough game-like situations," said Diaz.

Over the series, Centenary's only returning reliever in Dalzell appeared in Games 2 and 3. The righty entered both appearances with runners on and would work out of the jams, without allowing a run.

"I was really impressed by Derek's [Dalzell] performance. He really showed how a pitcher has to throw in order to compete at this level and become a great Summit League pitcher," said Diaz.

Offensively, both squads had several key hits that sparked runs for their respective teams, but standing out with a hit in every game and multiple hits in two of the three games was Schaffert for the "White" team.

"Overall, I felt like we had three successful games and we were able to accomplish a lot in that time. As a coaching staff, we were pleased with the process and how the guys took the challenge and responded with their natural competitiveness," said Diaz.

"Competing for positions was evident and that's what this World Series is all about."