Texas Wesleyan’s baseball team finished its off-season training last week with a three-game series.
Dubbed the “fall World Series,” the games featured two teams of Wesleyan players, chosen via a draft between assistant coaches Kelly Shoppach and Robert Garza.
Shoppach’s Golden Goats won the first game 13-4 on Tuesday; after the game, the teams were treated to a barbecue dinner made by Ram parent Donald Cloud, whose son, Dusty, is a pitcher.
Cloud said he was honored to feed the kids after a hard day’s work.
“I treat these kids like my own because my son is so close to the team,” Cloud said. “I made brisket, sausage, chicken, potatoes and my famous beans. These boys worked hard this off season and they deserved a treat.”
On Wednesday, Garza’s Dark Rams won 9-3. After the third game was rained out on Thursday, the Dark Rams won 8-3 on Friday to take the series.
“It’s really kind of an end of the year to where the guys can compete against each other and have a little fun after all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Garza, who has been part of three of the fall series as a Rams coach.
Garza said this year the talent is different than last year.
“We are way more talented than we were last year,” he said. “Once this team comes together as a group it’ll be a special season. Hopefully this series gives the guys confidence to continue to work hard and to know that they have a chance and that we have a chance this year.”
Garza said the team does the fall three-game series so the players can learn to link up and become a closer team.
“My goals for this group is to not necessarily live on the past, but to be our own team and have our own identity and if we are able to do that the winning will take care of itself,” Garza said.
Freshman business major Brooks Wallace said this was his first fall world series.
“It was a great experience especially being on the winning team and hitting my first collegiate home run,” he said.
Wallace said the series was a very effective way to give the team one last chance before the season to be in a live competitive setting.
“If you didn’t perform as well as you wanted then it will push you to work harder in off season,” Wallace said.
Graduate assistant and Rams baseball veteran Jake Davis is experiencing coaching for the first time this year after participating in four of the series as a player.
“I think it’s good to get the kids to try and win and compete so that when season rolls around they carry over that competitive nature towards the other teams that we will face,” Davis said.
Davis said the fall world series is the best way to fix mistakes before the season starts in the spring and to keep up the good things that happened during the three games.
“Even though it’s a competition against each other, it helps our team get ready for the spring season and what really counts,” Davis said.