On the Bump: Layton Tromba
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hello everyone and welcome back to another year of “On the Bump”, the 2015 edition.   After last season, I was just itching to get back to this part of the year.  There really is no better time of the year than coming back from Christmas break and getting ready to lace up the spikes again.  I had a pretty light summer, just getting ready for my senior season.  It’s been awesome up to this point, but there is unfinished business left to handle, and I’m really excited to see what this year has in store for us. I can’t wait to get the ball rolling again and get on the field with these teammates and coaches.  There really is a lot to look forward to with the team this year, as we return a lot of great guys and also bring in a good group of new guys that are willing to buy into the plan we have here.

Our first game of the season is set for February 6th against UT-Tyler.  Until that day, I plan to talk about the players we have this season and try to give an inside look at the life of a baseball player here at
Centenary.  This week, I am going to talk about our coaching staff, a couple of highlights from this past fall semester, and preview the 2015 outfielders.  Next week, I will talk about the infielders we have this year, and the following week, I will preview the pitchers and catchers for 2015. 

The majority of the coaching staff returned from last season, including head coach Mike Diaz, pitching coach Jason Stephens, and our never boring hitting coach Pat Jolley. Coach Jolley is a real solid hitting coach, but one of the main reasons I am so fond of him is because of how generous he is. He always has me on babysitting duties with his 2 wonderfully behaved children, which is truly a one of a kind experience! We also added a 2013 Gent Senior and current Grand Prarie Air Hog Ryan Gasporra, also known as Gaspo, to the coaching staff.  He can shed some educational light on the game since he’s been around it and successful for quite some time.

Our fall highlights included a doubleheader against Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC), a fall World Series, and the alumni game. The doubleheader ended in a split, with BPCC winning the first game 8-7, and us coming out with the 4-1 victory in the second game of the double dip.  It was a good experience, something we needed as we rarely get to play against other squads before the season gets underway.  Some of the new guys got their feet wet, and it was just good to get in between the white lines again and play someone with a different colored jersey on. We got better and learned some things about ourselves.  While we weren’t satisfied at all with not sweeping the 2 games, we realize that those games are for preparation and getting us closer to where we want to be as a team. Our fall World Series was a great experience, and I feel like everyone competed at a really high level. It was pretty competitive, as each team and coach really wanted to win. We had two coaches who were on our team last year, Nic Parrott who was a great player for us the past 4 seasons, and our recently mentioned new coach Ryan Gasporra.  It was a good series because of all the passion that was in each game, and the work we got accomplished.  Brooks Williams, one of our sophomore infielders, went off in the series and was named the MVP. Congrats to BDubWilli! The series ended 2-0 in favor of Coach Gaspo. We finished up the fall by playing the annual Alumni game.  I feel like this is one of the best parts of the year, as many of the guys that made this program what it is today get to come back and have a great weekend with the new guys.  As with any good program, it is vital to have the alumni care and want to come back and keep up with the current team. The alumni golf tournament that takes place each year as well was a success once again.  It was an exciting weekend to be a Gent and a part of getting everybody back together for a couple of days. The current team defeated the alumni 8-0.  It was another fun game to compete in, and we took care of business like we had too.

Now, I want to introduce to you the 2015 Centenary Gents outfield.  In the outfield, we are a little unsure as to exactly how every position will come into fruition before the start of the year, but we do know we have newcomer Khalen Simpson penciled in to start in center field.  He has done a great job since he came in of stepping up and making a great impression on the coaches.  He’s a fiery guy, a good left-handed bat with a ton of speed while playing a solid center field.  As far as right and left field are concerned, we know we have Christian Sebastien, who will play one of the 2 spots.  In 2014, he was in left field and last year he was in right field.  What we do know is that Christian brings a solid defense to the outfield with great speed, and is a solid righty bat who has been a big part of our order the past 2 seasons.  We also have Michael Schimpf and Dakota Brown out in the outfield vying for a starting job. Michael was our starting 3rd baseman last year and Dakota was our catcher.  They both had great years, but we have a little more depth now in those spots and we knew that there athleticism would allow a move to the outfield. I think this speaks volumes about the guys we were able to bring in this offseason that two of our first team all-conference guys are battling for a spot. Likely, the guy that doesn’t end up starting will end up with a strong chance to stay in our everyday lineup as a Designated Hitter, an extremely important part of any lineup. They do a great job of hitting and we know they will make the adjustments to be good outfielders, as they each have special skill sets.  We also have newcomer Connor Soblom, former infielder Erasmo Valdez, and former left handed pitcher Ryan Stevens.  These guys all provide good depth for us defensively in the outfield and have great work ethics, which contribute to their scrappy play on the field. No matter who is penciled in for the season opener, I have confidence that any of these guys will get the job done.  They are hard workers and really care a lot about contributing to the team and coming to the field ready to go every day. One great thing about our team is many guys are versatile, allowing many more beneficial matchups for us.  It is always a great asset when you can use a guy at multiple positions because it creates a ton of flexibility.

Thanks for checking in and reading the first blog of the year.  There is much more to come! Stop by next week to hear about our first week of practice and a preview of the 2015 Centenary Gent infield.  I really can’t wait to get on the field as a full team and start working towards a conference championship. Until next time, Go Gents!

-Layton Tromba