On the bump with Cole Thompson
Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello Gents’ fans and welcome back to “On the Bump”. We are now less than a week away from Opening Day and I could not be more excited. Imagine the excitement of a child on Christmas Day, multiply that times five, and that probably describes how excited I am for the season to start. Opening Day means a 0-0 record, a fresh slate, and high hopes for everyone. This week I will briefly discuss our week of practice, introduce to you our pitching staff, and talk about the teams that we will be playing this upcoming weekend.

This week’s practices went fairly smooth and I was overall pleased with the way the week went. We were able to run through our PFP’s, bunt defense, cuts and relays system, and 1st and 3rd defense. This is the sharpest I have seen our defense look in the pre-season in the last three years, so hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling defensively into next week and throughout the season.

On Wednesday our relief pitchers each threw one inning during a short scrimmage. This allows for our bullpen arms to get work, our hitters to face live pitching, and our defense to get live reads of the ball coming off the bat. It also prepares our pitchers to come back and throw another inning during our scrimmage on Saturday, which simulates the role of a relief pitcher.

I thought our Friday practice was a little sloppy and I was a little concerned that the poor practice from Friday would carry over into our lengthy scrimmage on Saturday. However, Friday’s results were flushed and Saturday’s scrimmage went smoothly. In baseball, it is extremely important to be able to “flush” a bad game/at-bat/pitching outing, because your team will likely count on you again. If you think about it, baseball is a game of failure. The greatest hitter of all time was successful four out of every ten at-bats, and you are considered a great hitter if you are successful three out of every ten times. The quicker you learn to deal with failure in baseball, the quicker you will learn to bounce back from adversity and overcome it.

Our Saturday scrimmage went excellent and it really made me excited for what the season has in store for our guys. We had guys of all ages step up and make plays, and our pitchers once again filled up the strike zone. I believe that it is not a coincidence that our pitching has done really well the past few weeks, and as a result the scrimmages have gone well.

Now, I will introduce you to our 2012-2013 Centenary Gents pitching staff. Unfortunately, I can not tell you very much about each person’s skills on the field because I do not want to give away any scouting reports, so instead I will tell you something unique about each guy. I spend the majority of my time around these guys and we have formed a tight bond with each other. We call ourselves the “BBB”, a term originally coined by myself and former Centenary pitcher Kelby Langston in 2010. The “Bad Body Bullpen” is just a play on words and inside joke with the team. We constantly push each other to become better baseball players and we are a very competitive crew.

I am the only senior on our pitching staff, which is not a bad thing because it means that our staff will have solid depth and experience for several years to come. Nic Parrott is one of two junior pitchers we have, and he also will play outfield for us this season. Jake McFarland is a junior left-handed pitcher that hails from Kansas and one of the hardest working players on our team. Grady Flournoy, Trey Guccione, Taylor Henry, Layton Tromba, Chase Clarke, and Matt Posey are all sophomores that anchor our pitching lineup. Grady has recovered from several injuries to become a solid force for us, and he also went to Loyola Prep in Shreveport. Trey Guccione is great to be around because you never know what will happen. Trey also maintains the nicest bullpen mound in Division III baseball. Taylor Henry and Layton Tromba both attended Airline High in Bossier City and have been best friends for years. They both bring experience to our staff and will be important to our team this year. Also, Taylor’s favorite restaurant is Chuck E. Cheese. Chase Clarke is another local product from Evangel and he also brings experience to our team after starting a handful of games for us last season. Matt Posey also brings valuable experience and he is also a lot of fun to have around in the bullpen. Our two freshmen pitchers are Holden Novak and Paul Arcement. I believe both of these guys will play key roles on our team this year and get chances to prove themselves. Holden has one of the best mullets in the SCAC and his flow is the best on the team. It took us awhile to get Paul out of his shell, but now Paul regularly adds to our interesting conversations. Paul is also a really hard-working kid.

As for our upcoming opponents this weekend, we played East Texas Baptist and Louisiana College last season. We played fairly well against both teams last season, but we are a different team this year and so are they. I do not know much about Willamette, but I can assure you that they are excited to come down to the South and play some teams out of their region.

I am extremely excited for this upcoming week and I hope to see a lot of maroon in the stands this weekend in McKinney, Texas. Stop by next week to read about our week of practice, travel to the Dallas area, and our first three games of the season. Go Gents!