Baseball is just around the corner for the Woodlands Strykers who open up on the road this season against the Acadiana Cane Cutters on May 29th. The Strykers are looking to bounce back this year after a disappointing second half in last year’s Texas Collegiate League in which they finished fourth in league standings and missed the playoffs.
The team is going to be led by returning head coach James Dillard. Dillard, who took over the team last year prior to the TCL All-Star game, is the head baseball coach at Magnolia West High School in Magnolia, TX. Dillard has had prior experience coaching in the TCL when he was the pitching coach for the now defunct Denton Outlaws. He has coached at Magnolia West for the last five years. Dillard is a Sam Houston State graduate where he played as a pitcher.
The Strykers are looking forward to being led by a trio of standout Big 12 performers in the forms of Baylor Bear utility infielder Jonathan Ducoff, West Virginia Mountaineer middle infielder Kyle Gray and fellow Mountaineer catcher Ivan Vera. Strykers are also looking forward to seeing left-handed pitcher Seth Campbell of Stephen F. Austin University and seeing what he can bring to the table.
Ducoff, a sophomore at Baylor, has had tremendous success in his first two years especially in the field where he was able to record 76 fielding assists as a freshman in a mere 35 starts, which was good enough for third on the team, and to this point in his sophomore campaign he has held a perfect fielding percentage. Coach Dillard can look to play Ducoff at third base and second base which have been his main position for the Bears the past two seasons.
Kyle Gray, a freshman at West Virginia, returns home to the state of Texas where he played his high school ball at Blanco High School. While at Blanco the middle infielder was able to put up gaudy offensive numbers as a senior which include a .477 average with 8 home runs and 23 RBIs. In limited playing time in his first year at West Virginia, Gray has managed to record 28 hits to go along with a .286 average and 14 runs scored. Gray will look to continue his early NCAA success with Strykers and he figures to be an explosive part of the offense this summer.
Ivan Vera is a freshman catcher that is also from West Virginia. In his 15 starts and 21 appearances Vera has shown serious talent with his bat registering a .404 average with 21 base hits. Vera has also shown a good feel for the field by posting a .971 fielding percentage to this point.
Seth Campbell is a freshman lefty that will be joining the Strykers from Stephen F. Austin University where he has shown remarkable ability. In his 11 appearances for the Lumberjacks Campbell has compiled a 3-0 record to go with a team leading 1.47 ERA.
These are just a few of the players the Strykers are needing to key performances from so that they can improve on their standing from last summer.
Catch these fantastic young players and the rest of the Strykers’ talented roster as they take the field for the opening game of their 2016 season on Tuesday, May 31st against the three time defending TCL champions, the Brazos Valley Bombers.
Join the Strykers for affordable family fun baseball this summer; The 2016 season opens May 31st and you can reserve your tickets by calling (702) 205-5709 or visiting www.woodlandsstrykers.com; Follow the Strykers online @wstrykers and on Facebook.