Despite injuries, Richland College baseball team ready for district tournament

If there is one thing Richland College baseball coach Joe Wharton has learned about this season’s squad is that these T-Ducks are a highly-determined bunch who will not allow injuries to be an excuse for anything.

Having battled injuries – seven total – to key players all season, Richland College has still been able to live up to its No. 1 NJCAA Division III ranking.

“A positive spin we can take from all of the injuries is that they have given players who haven’t played a lot a chance to compete,” Wharton said following a win against Tyler Junior College on April 25. “I’m very happy with how they have stepped up. Hopefully they can continue to do so.”

The T-Ducks enter this weekend’s District C tournament in McKinney as the No. 1 seed and will play at 6 p.m. on Friday against Eastfield in the opening round.

If Richland wins, it will play at in the championship game at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of the tournament advances to the NJCAA Division III World Series.

Richland College will enter the district tournament with a 40-13 record. According to Wharton, every team in the past that has reached 40 wins has advanced to the NJCAA National Championship tournament.

“The way we have played against quality competition, with so many guys out, shows how well our guys are playing,” Wharton said. “The guys have really stepped up.”

The T-Ducks, who have won three NJCAA World Series championships, finished in third place at last year’s national tournament. Overall, Richland College has advanced to the World Series seven times.

“With our injuries, our pitching depth has been pretty thin. But our reports are getting better and we might be getting back [some players] by the district tournament,” Wharton said. “If we play with confidence, we will have a legitimate shot to get to the World Series, and win it.”