On the bump with Cole Thompson
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hello Gents’ fans and welcome back to “On the Bump”. It was a tough week for us as we lost two out of three games on the road to a solid UT-Tyler team. However, we are looking to bounce back strong this weekend against Austin College. This week I will review our series with UT-Tyler, discuss our upcoming opponent in Austin College, and say a little something about each of our seniors as Senior Weekend takes place this coming weekend.

Game one of the series against UT-Tyler started out on a great note as we scored four runs in the top of the first inning. RBI singles by Tyler Clakley, Craig Littleman, and Marc Martinez provided the scoring for the inning. However, UT-Tyler answered back and scored four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. We were unable to get on the board again over the final eight innings and UT-Tyler ended up winning 7-4. We didn’t play poorly, we just couldn’t string hits together or get things going when we needed to. Our offense had 13 hits, which is a satisfying amount. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get a clutch hit or string a few hits together over the final eight frames. Layton Tromba started on the mound and competed hard for us. Tromba is a “gamer” and loves to compete, and I know he will be ready to throw this upcoming weekend. Grady Flournoy came on in relief and threw 3.2 hitless innings while recording two strikeouts. Offensively, Tyler Clakley, Craig Littleman, Marc Martinez, and Zach Stephenson had multi-hit games to jump-start the bats.  I think that after the top of the first inning we didn’t really play up to our potential in any facet of the game and against a nationally ranked team you can’t have that happen.

Game two of the series went a little better, as we pulled out a 6-3 victory. I started on the mound and threw a complete game for us while scattering six hits and allowing one earned run and striking out seven hitters. I threw well, but I was ultimately successful because my defense played a very clean game behind me. Matt Creamer did an excellent job at shortstop and he made play after play. Offensively, Ryan Gasporra, Tyler Clakley, Jemari James, and Nic Parrott had multi-hit games. Gasporra also scored twice while James had 2 RBI. We played really well in all three phases of the game, which was reflected in the outcome.

The final game of the series did not go our way though, as we lost 8-5. We did not play very well, however we started to make a comeback at the end, but it was too little too late. Tyler Clakley and Christian Sebastien had multi-hit games, highlighted by Sebastien’s first collegiate home run. We just didn’t play very disciplined or focused during innings the middle innings and that is ultimately what cost us the game. When you play good teams you can’t afford to make mental mistakes, and unfortunately UT-Tyler made us pay for our mistakes. I was a little disappointed by our overall level of play this weekend because I think we are better than what we showed on the field for a majority of the series. However, that’s the way baseball goes sometimes and you just have to tip your cap to UT-Tyler for being the better team two out of three games.

This upcoming weekend we get back into SCAC play as we take on Austin College. We won two out of three against them last month, but they showed that they are capable of beating us so we know that we can’t take them lightly. Furthermore, it is senior day and I know that the six of us will want to go out strong. Now I will take a moment to share with you a little bit about each of our seniors and what each of them have meant individually to me.

I have to start off by introducing you to our shortstop, Matt Creamer, who is from Shreveport. I first met Matt four years ago when we were freshman together during the 2009-2010 season. Matt and I are the only two players remaining from that team, and we have grown extremely close over that time as others have transferred out or left the program. We have been able to guide the team into the Division III era together and help lay a firm foundation for the program to continue to be built upon. He has developed into a really solid defender and he has been a constant in the leadoff spot for us over the past two seasons.

Next, I will introduce you to our right fielder and my roommate this year, Tyler Clakley, who is from Tyler, Texas. Tyler joined us for his junior and senior seasons at Centenary after playing at UT-Tyler and Tyler Junior College. He immediately established himself as a presence in our lineup and he has been a huge part of the middle of our order and our defensive success over the past two seasons. It has been a lot of fun getting to know him better over the past year by living with him; it has been a great year.

Third, I will tell you about our catcher, Ryan Gasporra. “Gaspo” is from Palmdale, California and has played catcher and outfielder for the Gents the past two seasons after transferring in from Pierce Junior College in Los Angeles. Gaspo has been another solid presence in the meat of our lineup and he has played an instrumental role behind the plate this season. He has been great defensively as a catcher whether it be blocking balls in the dirt or throwing out runners. It’s been a pleasure to have Gaspo around as he always keeps the mood light and makes a joke.

Next, I will introduce you to our third baseman, Craig Littleman, who is from Lechee, Arizona. Craig joined us after playing two seasons at Phoenix College in Arizona. Although he played second base last year, Craig showed that he is a true team player and moved to third base this season. Craig has hit the cover off the ball this season and he has stepped up his game to a whole new level. Craig is fairly quiet but he leads by example and by his work ethic. Craig’s selflessness by moving to third base allowed us to alter our lineup this year and put an extremely successful crew on the field.

Finally, I will tell you about our designated hitter Jemari James. Jemari hails from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and he joined us at Centenary after playing two seasons at Kansas Wesleyan. Jemari has been another mainstay in our lineup as he has been slotted in the designated hitter slot over the past two years.  Jemari has done a great job of bonding with the team and really becoming a team player. He has done an excellent job this year as he has the highest batting average in the starting lineup.

It has truly been an honor to get to play alongside these five young men and bond with them over the years. Our team has great chemistry this season and that starts with this group of leaders. We play at 1 PM on Saturday and Sunday against Austin College at home this weekend, and the senior day ceremony will take place after the game on Sunday. Come and support this group of guys in our last home weekend at Shehee Stadium. Go Gents!