The 2015 season was not all the Texas Wesleyan baseball and softball teams had hoped for.
Both teams finished with overall records below .500, and both teams were plagued by various problems including, in the case of the baseball team, injuries and academic ineligibility, according to baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat.
“Quite honestly, I think if the guys are honest they just didn’t play as well as they should have and could have,” Jeffcoat said. “It is what it is.”
Still, there were bright spots. Even though the baseball team finished 20-28 – including a 6-1 loss to Southwestern Christian University over the weekend in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament in Oklahoma – their record means 11 straight seasons of 20 wins or more under Jeffcoat, according to ramsports.net.
And Jeffcoat has some fond memories of the season.
“Our last game of the year, we played Wayland Baptist,” Jeffcoat said. “The wind was blowing 25 to 30 miles per hour. We were losing after seven innings but we scored in the top of the eighth and the top of the ninth and held them in the bottom of the ninth to get the win.”
Jeffcoat said that he thinks the game showed a lot about the character of the players, because the team never gave up, even though “we were down some runs, they continued to fight and continued to find ways to score.”
Seniors Jake Howeth and Mitch McLeod’s favorite memory of the year was left fielder Tyler Kamtz robbing highly ranked Doane College of a home run to preserve a win in during a doubleheader in February. Howeth tied Travis Clifford (who played from 2003 to 2006) for the team record for most games played with 208; he ended his career hitting .347 with 18 homeruns and 127 RBIs, according to ramsports.net.
The softball team finished the season 17-28. At the SAC tournament, they lost 6-0 to St. Gregory’s University and 7-0 to the University of Science and Arts before ending the season on a high note with a 4-1 win over Southwestern Christian, according to ramsports.net.
Even though it was a tough season, head coach Shannon Gower said she loved the amount of talent that was on the team compared to last year.
“I don’t like to have excuses for anything,” Gower said. “Obviously our record is what it is, but we still a strong amount of talent that we just haven’t tapped into yet.”
The Lady Rams have a very young team and are graduating only three seniors this season, Gower said.
As the season and her playing career come to an end, third baseman Chelsea Anderson leaves behind helping the Lady Rams win and being a role model for some of the team’s younger players.
“Your biggest competitor is yourself,” Anderson said. “If you ever feel defeated your just getting beat by yourself and you can’t let that stop you, and bring you down.”
Even though Howeth and McLeod are both seniors, both of them said they are hoping to play at the next level, and both had a lot of good memories from their time at Wesleyan.
“I’ve taken a few of the younger guy under my wing,” Howeth said. “I want them to take something away from baseball, I want them all to be able to measure their own character, and whenever they’re done playing, and I want them to be able to pass something down to the next guy.”
McLeod said he wants the returning players to be able to take pride in the team and the school and enjoy the game that they love.
“All these guys here, they’ve got brighter days ahead,” McLeod said. “I can see a bunch of them are going to grow up and really be some special ball players.”