"On the Bump" w/ Cole Thompson
Monday, February 28, 2011
Hey fans welcome back to my 8th edition of "On the Bump".

This past week was pretty slow, but as a team we had a solid week of baseball. It kills me to have an off-week during the season. Once you get those competitive juices flowing, its tough to put them on hold for two weeks until the next game.

Monday was a short day for pitchers, and a long day for our hitters. The pitchers were able to get to throw, work on our PFP's, and then hit the weight room. It was nice being able to finish up practice at 6:30 and then hit the weight room. We take our in-season weightlifting seriously because these lifts help us maintain a healthy body/arm. As for the hitters, they were able to get in an abundance of rounds of batting practice on the field. Our hitters really keyed in on trying to drive the ball to the opposite field and executing situational hitting.

Tuesday and Wednesday were practices that consisted of our normal practice routine followed by a 5-inning scrimmage at the end of each practice. Tuesday was a little sloppy but you could definitely see our guys trying to make adjustments that we were working on in practice. Anytime you see a guy willing to change his individual approach for the betterment of the team, you have to realize that the changes won't happen right away. But at the same time you also have to realize that they are making a sacrifice to help the squad, and you respect them for realizing their role that will help us be successful as the season carries on. We looked better on Wednesday in all facets of the game. Our pitchers were filling up the strike zone, hitters were squaring up (solid contact) baseballs, and our defense was tighter.

Thursday was a scheduled off day for us, as the coaching staff was out recruiting at high school tournaments all day. It also happened to be a rainy day so the scheduled off day worked out since practice would have been cancelled anyways. One thing that really encouraged me on Thursday was the number of guys still around the facilities even though it was a day off. I love seeing teammates up at the field getting throwing in, hitting in the cages, or getting extra running in. It shows that these guys are willing to go that extra mile for us and are willing to get better on their own time. On Thursday night a majority of the baseball team attended the men's basketball game. The Gents defeated Western Illinois for their first win of the season. I was really happy for those guys because they worked hard all year to get that win. It's tough to get punched in the mouth 28 times but get back up for that 29th time and get the win.

Friday was our pre-game "light practice" day. As I stated last week, we usually just have our infielders take groundballs to start practice, and then we roll into batting practice. These days are short, but at the same time we have to take our pre-game practices seriously because it is our last chance to make any adjustments to our game before game day (or in our case this week "scrimmage day").

Saturday and Sunday we treated as game-days although we just intrasquaded on both days. Saturday was highlighted by Seth Lugo and Justin Kraft both going out and throwing well for us on the mound. We are going to rely on our pitching to be our stronghold this year, so it was good to see those guys go out and have a solid weekend. As for the rest of the scrimmage, we looked sloppy and didn't play at the level we are capable of reaching as a team. It was a little disappointing to take a step back after having a pretty solid week of practice. Coach Diaz challenged us to come back out on Sunday and step up our level of play. These weekend scrimmages, as well as our mid-week "mini-games" are very important to the team. It gives non-starters a chance to show their stuff and possibly earn the chance to battle their way into the starting lineup. On the other side, it forces our starters to stay focused and hold their starting spot by out-working the guy right next to them.

Saturday night a lot of the team made their way out to Kings Highway to attend the Shreveport Mardi Gras parade. I don't like to use exclamation points, but man the parade was fun! There were thousands of people lining the roads to watch the procession pass by. I had a great time with my teammates as we all competed to see who could catch the most beads, cups, and other items thrown from the 40 parade floats.

On Sunday we came out with a much better focus level and intensity. Our defense and base running both improved from Saturday, as did our hitting. Sunday was the first time that I really noticed some of our guys fully committing to the approach our coaches preach when they step up to the plate. Guys were fighting off 2 strike pitches, attacking fastballs early, and squaring up baseballs. It was really encouraging to see our hitters have a successful day and I hope that we can carry the success over to next weekend against Stephen F. Austin. One negative thing that occurred Sunday is that we had a pitcher go down with an injury. I am not going to disclose a name, injury type, or timetable for return, but we will move on as a team. Injuries happen in baseball, and I promise you each team has guys that rise to the occasion and step up in that guy's place. This gives our younger pitchers a really good chance to step up and show that they deserve a spot on the mound for us.

As for Stephen F. Austin, they are 4-4 on the season. However, they have faced solid competition to start the year, so we do not view them as a .500 caliber ballclub. They are one of the better teams in the highly competitive Southland Conference. This will be our young team's first game against a Division 1 team, so I think it will be a very good measuring stick for us to see how much we have progressed. We will be playing at home on Friday night (March 4th) and in Nacogdoches, Texas at SFA on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It will be our last home game until April 15th so make your way out to the ballpark on Friday night.

I have been getting a lot of feedback regarding the blog and I appreciate it. If you guys ever have any thoughts, ideas, or questions feel free to contact me at pthompson@my.centenary.edu.

This week I interviewed 2 of our freshman, Tyler Neporadny and Trey Bishop. They are roommates and they live right across the hall from me, so I see these guys a lot. Now y'all will get a chance to meet them as well.


Tyler Neporadny - Freshman/McKinney, Texas
Q: What is your major?
A: Business

Q: You must always have _________ on road trips?
A: Music

Q: Favorite professional sports team?
A: Texas Rangers

Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Chelsea Lately

Q: Who is your dream girl?
A: My girlfriend

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Married with a good job

Q: Favorite movie?
A: Step Brothers

Q: What are your walkout songs this year?
A: Right Above It and Panama

Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: To visit New Zealand

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: Good enough isn't good enough if it can be better. Better isn't good enough if it can be best.

Q: What is something most people don't know about you?
A: I wear the big helmet because I had a head injury

Q: Why did you pick your jersey number?
A: It has always been my number

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: Walking through a restaurant with clean toilet paper hanging out of my pants

Q: If you could have dinner with any 3 people in history, who would they be?
A: My two Grandpa's, and Jesus Christ


Trey Bishop - Freshman/Holden, Louisiana
Q: What is your major?
A: Education

Q: You must always have _________ on road trips?
A: Phone

Q: Favorite professional sports team?
A: Tampa Bay Rays

Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Survivor Man

Q: Who is your dream girl?
A: Kristen Bell

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: Hopefully living a successful life

Q: Favorite movie?
A: The Butterfly Effect

Q: What are your walkout songs this year?
A: "Wild Side" by Motley Crue and "We Are One" by 12 Stones

Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: Fiji

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."

Q: What is something most people don't know about you?
A: I have a BB in my foot from when I got shot in 7th grade

Q: Why did you pick your jersey number?
A: my number was taken

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
A: Falling down four rows of bleachers at a high school basketball game

Q: If you could have dinner with any 3 people in history, who would they be?
A: Lewis and Clark, John Lennon