The 2016 Acadiana Cane Cutters are looking forward to get the ball rolling this summer following second place finish in the TCL. The Cane Cutters are opening up this season on the road this season looking for a bit of revenge against the Brazos Valley Bombers who swept the Cane Cutters in the 2015 Texas Collegiate League championship.
The Cane Cutters were able to capitalize on a strong first half last summer and finished the third in the overall standings for the 2015 season. Acadiana went on and defeated the Victoria Generals in the first round of the playoffs before the aforementioned loss in the Championship series. Despite the strong showing the Cane Cutters made changes in the dugout with former head coach Lonny Landry stepping down to make way for Nicholls State University assistant coach Austin Flores to take over the team for the upcoming season.
Flores, a Nicholls State graduate of 2012, has a very vast resume that includes prior summer league coaching, playing at the college level and scouting. Coach Flores has already started to reap the benefits of his experience by picking up talented young players that include large power five conference numbers. Some of the athletes that will be joining the Cane Cutters are two Oklahoma Sooners Kyle Mendenhall and Cameron Frazier, infielder Cobie Vance and returning pitcher Jared Taylor from the University of New Orleans.
Kyle Mendenhall is a sophomore second basemen from the University of Oklahoma who was All Big 12 honorable mention his freshman year in school. Thus far in his second season Mendenhall has scored 15 runs with 11 RBIs to go along with five stolen bases. He has a .987 fielding percentage and 98 fielding assists which is good enough for second on the Sooners. The Cane Cutters are looking forward to seeing what Mendenhall can contribute this summer.
Also coming to Acadiana from the University of Oklahoma is sophomore outfielder Cameron Frazier. As a freshman Frazier was heavily utilized in pinch running scenarios appearing in 24 games total. In high school he was a two sport all-state honoree where he hit .500 and scored 31 runs as the team MVP his senior year. The Cane Cutters are hoping that the summer of 2016 can be Frazier’s coming out party.
Cobie Vance, a freshman infielder, is joining the Cane Cutters from the University of Alabama. Vance has a .269 average with 52 hits, 18 RBIs, 21 runs scored, a .975 fielding percentage and a team leading 136 fielding assists. Amongst players on the Crimson Tide with 100 at-bats, Vance ranks 2nd in OBP and hits while being one of only two players to play and start every game in 2016 for the Tide. Acadiana is filled with excitement for the arrival of this talented young infielder and can’t wait to see what he can provide for the team.
Returning to the Cane Cutters this season is sophomore pitcher Jared Taylor from the University of New Orleans. Last year for the team Taylor was able to accumulate a 3-4 record with a 4.15 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched. In his sophomore year with the Privateers the right-hander has gone 6-0 in 24 appearances out of the bullpen. The Cane Cutters are hoping that Taylor can come back and continue to improve the team.
Acadiana is team with great potential and these are just a few of the players that can contribute to the cause this season. Acadiana opens up on the road this season on May 27th against the three time defending TCL champions, the Brazos Valley Bombers. Their first home game is on May 29th against the Woodlands Strykers.