Wharton: This year's team has been the most enjoyable team I've coached; Richland has won 11 of last 12 conference games to move into second place

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-Ducks’ 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 year’s team has been the most enjoyable squad he’s coached since taking over the helm.

“They have class [and] play the right way,” he said. “You would be proud [of] how they represent Richland College.”

Currently, the T-Ducks are on an eight-game winning streak – their second longest of the season – 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 ½ game behind Cedar Valley.

Included in the T-Ducks’ 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.

“With this being my 11th season to coach here at Richland, this team has shown a lot of courage, heart, maturity, guts and sportsmanship,” Wharton said. “It’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, Richland’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.