On the bump with Cole Thompson
Monday, January 21, 2013

Hey Gents’ fans and welcome back to the second weekly edition of “On the Bump”.  This week I will talk about how we finally got to practice outdoors, discuss highlights from our intersquad scrimmage on Saturday, and introduce you to our 2012-2013 Centenary Gents’ infielders.

Monday and Tuesday’s practices were cancelled due to sleet, cold, and rain. Needless to say, the weather was pretty miserable. Our guys still got their work in though as they hit in the cages and pitchers threw in the gym or on the soccer field.

Wednesday started out cold and dreary, but by noon the clouds peeled back and we saw the sun for the first time in about a week. Wednesday’s practice was a little limited because the field was still pretty wet, but it was good to be back out on the field. I know the monotony of practice bores people sometimes, and I can admit to being guilty of that during my first few years. However, as a senior I have learned to not take a single day for granted. Our PFP’s (pitcher’s fielding practice) were a little sloppy on Wednesday, but they improved throughout the week and by Friday they were nearly flawless. Also, our pitchers were able to throw bullpens in order to prepare for our scrimmage on Saturday. It felt great to throw on the field and not have to throw indoors or in the batting cages.

Thursday and Friday’s practices were played under clear skies and the weather kept getting warmer as the week progressed. Similarly, our level of play increased throughout the week as our guys got back into the rhythm of the game and got back up to game speed.

Saturday’s intersquad went very well and exceeded my expectations. Our pitchers pounded the strike zone, our hitters battled at the plate, and our defense looked solid. I expected there would be a little rust in the first scrimmage of the spring but in my opinion, we looked good. You can tell that our guys are buying into our defensive and hitting philosophies, and as a result, they are seeing success on defense and at the plate. We need to continue to improve in every aspect of the game, but we set a high standard on Saturday for us to improve on this next week of practice.

We were given Sunday off from baseball to allow us to catch up on our schoolwork and rest. The day off was greatly appreciated because it gave me a chance to sleep in a little bit, do some accounting homework, and write this blog while watching some of the NFL playoffs.

Now I will introduce you to our 2012-2013 Centenary Gents’ infielders. First, I will introduce you to our senior shortstop Matt Creamer. Matt is the only other person on the team who is in his fourth season at Centenary along with me. He has been our starting shortstop the past two years and he will do great things for us this spring with his glove and bat. We also return Craig Littleman and Marc Martinez from our starting infield last year. Craig was able to come in as a junior college transfer and solidify our infield defensively while providing timely hitting. Craig had a great fall and I expect him to do big things this spring. Marc is in his third season as a Gent and he has contributed ever since he stepped on campus. Ryan Gasporra, is our most experienced returning catcher and he will likely catch a decent amount for us this season. “Gaspo” was key to our success last season and I expect him to play an integral role in our lineup this season as well.  Jemari James occupied the designated hitter position for us last season and was a solid force in the middle of our lineup. Jemari is from the Virgin Islands and a character to be around. He will be a big piece to the puzzle this year and I think he will be key to our success. Erasmo “Mo” Valdez is a sophomore that has greatly improved during his year and a half at Centenary. Mo is a hard worker on the field and in the weight room and he will solidify our depth in the infield and be a key contributor.

Zach Stephenson, Greg Monnette Jr., Jacob Derrickson, Cody Chalmers, Ben Schweinfurth, and Louis Gonzalez are all new infielders this year. Zach Stephenson has really impressed me on defense and he is a hard worker. On a side note, Stephenson looks just like Andrew Luck. I’m serious; go look at his picture on the roster. We even gave him #12 to wear this year, just like his twin. Greg Monnette Jr. transferred into the program this year and he will compete for playing time immediately. Jacob Derrickson has really impressed me with his work ethic. Not only does he work hard on the field, but he also made the Dean’s List this past semester. Cody Chalmers hails from Lafayette and is a ball of energy. Chalmers is fun to be around because you never know what he is going to do, but you know he will have fun and work hard. Ben Schweinfurth has really stepped up and emerged as a solid player for us so far this pre-season. He really battles at the plate and is a competitor. Louis Gonzalez is another guy that transferred into the program and he will provide us with quality depth at catcher, in the infield, and at the plate. I believe all of these guys have a chance to contribute this year because they all do something well that will provide them with an opportunity to get in to games.

I am really looking forward to this next week of practice because there is no rain in the ten-day forecast so we will really get the chance to go to work and get after it. We are less than three weeks away from our first game so the clock is ticking on the time we have to prepare.

Next week, I will introduce to you our outfielders, discuss our expectations for the upcoming season, and highlight our week of practice. Until next week, Go Gents!