Category Archives: Baseball
Through 30 games, coach Joe Wharton’s Richland College baseball team has compiled an impressive 23-7 overall record and 16-2 mark in conference play.
Included in these victories was Wharton’s 450th career win. Overall, Wharton has a 450-234 record (.658 winning percentage).
The T-Ducks, which have won six of their last seven games, including its recent three-game sweep over Metro Athletic Conference opponent Brookhaven College, have been led by shortstop Cody Stigall and pitcher Kirk Pritchett.
Stigall currently is hitting a team-high .455 average while Pritchett has a 7-1 record, 2.61 ERA and 57 strikeouts.
The Richland College baseball team continues its torrid start to the season as the T-Ducks improved to 14-1 after sweeping Mountain View College over the weekend.
Richland College, which is hitting .390 as a team, outscored Mountain View 34-14 in the three-game series.
The T-Ducks, which are off to their best start in Richland College history, also has a team ERA at 2.90.
As a team, the Richland College baseball squad has a .391 hitting average and the T-Ducksâ€™ pitchers have combined for a 2.82 ERA.
Richland Collegeâ€™s hot hitting and pitching have led to a remarkable 11-1 start to the season as the T-Ducks entered this week of play still ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division III.
The T-Ducks latest victories included a sweep, 7-2, 4-1 and 12-0 wins, over Cedar Valley. Richland Collegeâ€™s unbeaten streak was snapped on Monday when it lost 7-4 to NJCAA Division I McLennan Community College.
Richland College will look to start a new winning streak when the T-Ducks host three games against Mountain View College, beginning with a single game at 2 p.m. on Friday and a double-header on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.
Richland College baseball coach Joe Wharton believes that this yearâ€™s team has just as good of a chance to end up a national champion as any of his other three championship squads had during his 12 years as the T-Ducksâ€™ skipper.
And if anyone has doubted that this team has what it takes to win another title then Richland Collegeâ€™s 7-0 record to begin the season â€“ the best in school history â€“ should be enough proof.
â€œItâ€™s always important to get off on a good note to start a season because it lets your team know you can win. Once you establish that, then it becomes expected, and losing is unacceptable here at Richland,â€ Wharton said. â€œI am very competitive, I know what it takes to win at any level and I teach our guys that losing is not an option.â€
The T-Ducks, who finished third in the NJCAA Division III World Series National Championship Tournament last season, are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Since taking over the helm as head coach, Whartonâ€™s teams have consistently reached the World Series National Championship Tournament â€“ nine times in 12 years â€“ and have been among the nationâ€™s elite teams.
â€œI take pride in the great tradition I have built since I have been here and my drive will not change until I am done coaching,â€ Wharton, who has won more than 400 games during his 12-year span of coaching at Richland College, said. â€œYou can expect us to be ranked in the top five consistently while I am the coach here because I will recruit, scout and develop my players to be that good. I owe it to them for coming to our institution and that is my commitment to each player.â€
Because of Richland Collegeâ€™s success over the years, many NCAA Division I programs and professional teams continue to scout T-Duck baseball games to recruit talent.
According to Wharton, recently there were around 15 professional clubs looking at his team.
â€œYou don’t see that in other JUCO sports,â€ he added. â€œWe have that kind of talent here on campus.â€
Among the talented players that Wharton has at his disposal this season are pre-season all-Americans pitcher Phillip Clinard and infielder Josh Christenson.
Clinard finished last year 11-1 with a 2.95 ERA while Christenson ended the season with .402 batting average, 14 home runs and 65 RBI.
Another T-Duck player to watch out for is Chad Rogers. Wharton says that Rogers is the best athlete on the field because he is the No. 3 hitter who hits for power and he plays outstanding defense in centerfield. Rogers, Wharton added, is also one of the T-Ducksâ€™ top pitchers, having been clocked at 95 miles per hour last fall.
â€œThis is for sure the deepest rotation Iâ€™ve had since 1997,â€ Wharton said about his pitching staff. â€œOur strength is our pitching, but our offense is coming around and I think as the season goes on, we will keep producing seven to eight runs a game.â€
Currently, the T-Ducks score more than 8.4 runs per game while allowing fewer than four runs, a telling sign that, if Richland College continues to play at this level, then possibly winning a championship this season is within the T-Ducksâ€™ grasp.
â€œThere are only two goals for an athlete here at Richland: 1). is to get an education, and 2). is to win a national championship,â€ Wharton said. â€œIf both of these goals are not a priority then he will not be here at Richland.â€
In the past 10 years, the T-Ducks have won three national titles and have advanced to the World Series an unprecedented seven times.
A seven-run first inning in the NJCAA Division IIIÂ national championship tournament semifinal roundÂ wasn’t enough runs for the Richland College baseball team to hold off Joliet Junior College, which outscored the T-Ducks 7-1 in the final eight innings en route to a 10-8 victory.
Â The loss for the T-Ducks was their first in the double-elimination tornament.Â Richland, which is one game away from a rematch against Joliet,Â will face the winnerÂ of the Ridgewater-Gloucester matchup at 7 p.m. today.
Should Ridgewater win its game, Richland may have the psychological edge being that the T-Ducks have already beat Ridgewater, 14-3, in this tournament. Â
If Richland wins its next game, the T-Ducks will playÂ in the championship gameÂ Wednesday at 7 p.m. The T-Ducks would thenÂ have to beat Joliet twice to win theÂ national championship.Â Â
Ignited by a four-run third inning and two home runs from Jeff Sakowski, the Richland College baseball team took care of buisnesss in its openeing game of the NJCAA Division III national tournament, beating Manchester, 10-5,Â on Saturday, May 17.
Richland, which finished with eight hits and recieved a strong pitching performance from Casey Mayfield, advances to the second round where the T-Ducks will play Ridgewater CollegeÂ at 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 18.
Peaking at the right time, Richland has now won seven games in a row – its fourth longest streak of the season.
Congratulations are in order for Joe Wharton and his Richland College baseball team as his squad will have a chance to play for its fourth NJCAA Division III national championship since 2002 on May 17-22 in Tyler after the T-Ducks won its district tournament over the weekend.
Richland opened the tournament with a 12-3 win over North Arkansas College, which entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA Division III poll.
The T-Ducks, who didnâ€™t drop a game during the double-elimination tournament, then beat Eastfield, 6-4, and Tyler, 12-3, in the championship game.
Tyler was ranked No. 4 and Eastfield No. 6. The T-Ducks entered the weekend ranked No. 4.
Richland, which won its first Metro-Athletic Conference championship since 2004, will enter the national tournament with a 45-14 record and on a six-game winning streak.
Richland Collegeâ€™s baseball team ended its regular season over the weekend on a winning note as the T-Ducks swept a three-game series against North Lake College to be crowned co-champions of the Metro-Athletic Conference.
The sweep, in which Richland outscored North Lake 34-13, provides a dose of momentum as the T-Ducks prepare to play in a NJCAA Division III regional tournament this weekend at the The Ballfields at Crag Ranch in McKinney.
This weekendâ€™s regional tournament features three other teams (Eastfield College, Tyler Junior College and North Arkansas College) and will be played in a double-elimination format.Â
The T-Ducks open the tournament at 3 p.m. on Friday against North Arkansas College.
â€œWe still can be doing a lot of things better but right now we have secured our bid to regionals, which was our goal when the season started,â€ T-Duck coach Joe Wharton said after Game 2 of the weekend series against North Lake College. â€œNow we have to make sure we continue to do the little things right like playing defense, pitching and hitting. Regardless of what our seed is at the regional tournament, as long as we play up to our capabilities we will be fine.â€
Swinging a hot bat for Richland are sophomores Travis Latz and Jon Masch. Entering the final game of the season, both of them had totaled at least 18 home runs, which broke the single-season home run record of 16 set in 2000.
Their bats, along with the rest of rest of a team that has batted above or around .400 for majority of the season, will be needed this weekend and should the T-Ducks advance to the NJCAA Division III Baseball Championship in Tyler.Â
If Richland makes it to the national tournament, which will take place from May 17-23, the T-Ducks will be gunning for their fourth national title since 2002.Â
Richland finished the regular season with 42 wins.Â
For continued coverage throughout the postseason, log-on to www.rlc8.dcccd.edu/thundersports .
In the 11 years since Joe Wharton has been the Richland College baseball coach, he has coached some great teams.
Wharton, who this season won his 400th game as the T-Ducksâ€™ coach, guided Richland to back-to-back-back National Junior College Athletic Association Division III championships from 2002-2004 and two second place finishes in 1999 and 2000.
But as great as those teams were, Wharton said hands down that this yearâ€™s team has been the most enjoyable squad heâ€™s coached since taking over the helm.
â€œThey have class [and] play the right way,â€ he said. â€œYou would be proud [of] how they represent Richland College.”
Currently, the T-Ducks are on an eight-game winning streak â€“ their second longest of the season â€“ and they are coming off an important series sweep this weekend over Cedar Valley College, the Metro Athletic Conference leader.
The weekend three-game sweep is another indication of how good the T-Ducks are playing right now.
Richland has won 11 of its last 12 conference games to gain sole possession of second place in conference play, just a Â½ game behind Cedar Valley.
Included in the T-Ducksâ€™ sweep over Cedar Valley was a 29-1 thrashing. The T-Ducks, who earlier in the season won 12 games in a row and was off to their best start in Richland College history, is 30-9 on the season and are chasing a number of team records.
As a team Richland is hitting way over the current school record of .344 set in 1999 with a .404 average.
Additionally, the T-Ducks are also chasing the team home run record of 70 that was also set in 1999. Richland currently has 62 home runs through 39 games.
â€œWith this being my 11th season to coach here at Richland, this team has shown a lot of courage, heart, maturity, guts and sportsmanship,â€ Wharton said. â€œIt’s not just because we are winning, but we have faced a lot of adversity this year and the guys are responding the way men are supposed to do.”
The T-Ducks hosted Navarro College on Monday and will play home game in a series opener on Friday, April 11 at 2 p.m. against Mountain View College. The series concludes with back-to-back games starting at noon on Saturday.
According to the schedule, Richlandâ€™s final home games of the regular season include the following games: 1 p.m. on Monday, April 14 against Northeast; 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 19 against Grayson; and a three-game series against North Lake College beginning with one game at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 2 back-to-back games starting at noon on Saturday, May 3.