Monthly Archives: March 2008
Not too many college baseball coaches can say they have won 400 games.
Not too many college baseball coaches can say they have won 400 games in 10 Â½ seasons.
Well, Richland College baseball coach Joe Wharton can say he has done both, having hit the milestone on March 15 when the T-Ducks beat North Lake College, 6-1.
â€œFrom a personal standpoint, it was very special. Every time you reach a century number itâ€™s neat,â€ said Wharton, a Dallas native. Â â€œItâ€™s neat that they have all been here at Richland. Iâ€™m proud of that but you canâ€™t do it without my players and they deserve all of the credit.â€
While building a powerhouseÂ at Richland, Whartonâ€™s T-Ducks won three straight National Junior College Athletic Association Division III championships from 2002-2004 and his teams have averaged around 40 wins a season.
Wharton has also been named District C Coach of the Year by the NJCAA and Regional Coach of the Year by Diamond Sports in 1999 and from 2000- 2005, while being named NJCAA National Coach of the Year from 2002-2004.
As for the players who Wharton has praised in helping him reach 400 wins, heâ€™s coached around 10 who are playing at the professional level.
Meanwhile, every year many of his players move on to play at higher college or university levels.
â€œWe have done this in a little over 10 years since I took over,â€ Wharton said. â€œBeing a non-scholarship college and playing a good [NJCAA] Division I non-conference schedule, I think it shows what kind of talent we have here and I want to try to continue our success.”
Wharton played college baseball at Lubbock Christian University and Baylor University before he was drafted in 1993 by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft.
He played in the minor leagues before elbow problems ended his career in 1995.
Freshman third baseman Josh Christenson helped set the tone for Richland over the weekend when the T-Ducks swept Brookhaven College in a three-game series at home.
With the series-opener tied at 3-3 on Friday, Christenson overcame two previous strikeouts to hit a towering three-run home run to left field as Richland went on to a 7-3 victory before winning 8-4 and 10-0 on Saturday.
â€œHe was pressing a little bit but heâ€™s been hitting really well for us on the year. I told him to flush out what happened in the past and to make the pitcher expand the zone a little bit, donâ€™t press, see the ball and drive it,â€ T-Duck coach Joe Wharton said after the game.Â â€œJosh got a 1-2 curveball. It wasnâ€™t a very good pitch but he made the adjustment. It was a huge hit for us.”
Two innings before Christensonâ€™s home run, Richland trailed 3-1 before the T-Ducks scored a run to bring the score to 3-2.
The T-Ducks tied the game early in the sixth inning after Matt Redding led off the inning with a single. He advanced to second on a sacrifice ground ball before scoring after the pitcher overthrew second base in a pickoff attempt.
Richlandâ€™s next two batters reached base before Christenson, who leads the team in batting average at .536 and entered the game second in home runs with seven (as of March 17), stepped up to the plate.
During the comeback, pitcher Casey Mayfield did an outstanding job in relief to pick up his sixth win of the season. â€œWe left too many men on base, especially in scoring position. We gave them a couple of runs early,â€ Wharton said. â€œItâ€™s important not to get behind because it can give the other team some momentum. But luckily we got through it. Casey Mayfield did an excellent job for us in relief.”Richland fans can watch the T-Ducks play again at home this Friday at 2 p.m. in the three-game series opener against Eastfield. The remaining two games of the series will be played on Saturday with Game 1 starting at noon.
The T-Ducks also play a home game at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 31 against Texas Wesleyan University.
The Richland College baseball teamâ€™s brief three-game winning streak ended Monday in a road game in which the T-Ducks lost, 10-8, to Navarro College, a NJCAA Division I program.
Richland trailed 2-0 after the first inning and 5-1 before the T-Ducks railed for three runs in the fifth to cut the lead to 5-4.
However, Navarro matched Richlandâ€™s three runs in the bottom half of the inning to push its lead to 8-4.
The T-Ducks scored two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to slice the lead to 8-6 but they couldnâ€™t get any closer than two runs.
Richlandâ€™s leading hitters were Jon Masch (3-5, including two doubles and two RBIs), Matt Redding (2-5, including a double and three RBIs), Josh Christenson (2-4, including a triple) and Justin Keithley (2-4).
The bats were red hot over the weekend for Richland College’s baseball team as the T- Ducks outscored North Lake College 39- 4 in three road victories.
Richland opened the series with a 16- 0 victory before posting 17- 3 and 6- 1 wins to improve to 12- 13 on the season.
Entering the weekend series, Richland outfielders Josh Christenson and Jeff Sakowski were leading the team in batting average with .515 and .485 respectively, while first- baseman Travis Latz was at.427.
Latz and Christenson also led the T- Ducks in RBIs and home runs with 34 and eight and 33 and six, respectively.
On the mound, Richard Young led the T- Ducks in ERA at 1.84. As a team, Richland had a 4.13 ERA.
Richland, which plays on the road against Navarro College on Monday, March 17, will host Murray State at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and Brookhaven at 2 p.m. on Friday in the opening game of a three- game series. The series concludes with two games on Saturday, with the first contest starting at noon.
Not intimidated by their No. 1 NJCAA Division III ranking, the Richland College baseball team took care of business at home on Saturday in its opening contest of a three-game series against Tyler Junior College, winning 12-5.
The T-Ducks jumped out to a five-run lead in the second inning and never looked back. Richlandâ€™s Robert Barbosa and Travis Latz each blasted a home run and the T-Ducks totaled 10 hits.
Richlandâ€™s Phillip Clinard pitched into the seventh inning and struck out nine batters to pick up the win.
Game 2 wasnâ€™t so kind for the T-Ducks, who lost 10-2, finishing the game with eight hits â€“ three coming from Josh Christenson.
In the rubber game, the T-Ducks trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the second inning. But thatâ€™s when Richland scored two runs before adding another run in the third inning to take a 3-1.
Tyler JC scored one run in the top of the fourth inning to cut Richlandâ€™s lead to 3-2 but the T-Ducks responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the frame for a 4-2 cushion.
Sean Ablett led off the inning with a double that was followed by a Jon Masch single (a bunt) before Jeff Sakowski hit a looping RBI single just over the reach of Tylerâ€™s second baseman.
However, the T-Ducks, who totaled five hits in the game, didnâ€™t score any more runs as Tyler JC scored three runs in the sixth and four runs in the eighth inning en route to an 11-5 win.
According to its schedule, Richland will next hit the road for a few games and wonâ€™t play another home game until its three-game series against Brookhaven begins at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 20.
Congratulations are in order for the Richland College basketball team advancing to the semifinal round of the Metro-Athletic Conference tournament and finishing their season strong.
The T-Ducks were within a handful of points away from advancing to the Metro Athletic Conference championship game and continuing its season last week when the T-Ducks lost, 81-78, to North Lake College.
Richland ended its season winning five of its last seven games to finish over .500 with a 17-14 record.
North Lake College, which won the NJCAA Division III national championship in 2006 and finished fourth last year, proved to be Richlandâ€™s stiffest competition of the season.
Thursdayâ€™s loss marked the third time this season that the T-Ducks fell to North Lake College.
Off to their best start in school history, the only thing that has been able to slow down the Richland College baseball team was playing NJCAA Division I competition over the weekend.
Ridding a 12-game winning streak, the T-Ducks, a NJCAA Division III team, lost to Division I colleges Panola, 15-5, and Northeast, 5-4 on Friday before bouncing back with a lopsided 19-4 victory over Ranger.
Against Ranger, T-Ducks Sean Ablett, Travis Latz and Justin Keithley each homered while Casey Mayfield picked up the win to improve to 4-0.
The win improves Richland’s record to 15-4 on the season.
The T-Ducks have a busy week with a number of home games scheduled. Richland fans can see the T-Ducks, weather permitting, at 1 p.m. Tuesday against Murray State, at 1 p.m. Wednesday against Paris and at 2 p.m. Friday against Tyler in the first of a three-game series.
Richland concludes the series against Tyler with two games on Saturday, with Game 1 starting at 11 a.m.