SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 13, 2018) – Lots of new faces and familiar ones at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) are eager to get to work so that when their official season starts in the spring, they'll be ready. Those faces? - the Saints baseball team.
The men began lifting weights and working on their conditioning on the first day of school last month. Bryan Aughney, now in his second year as head coach, said, "We have been getting our bodies in shape and ready for fall baseball workouts."
The Saints started their eight-week fall baseball season this past Monday. They will grind all week beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Saints home field, Missions Baseball Academy. Aughney says they will break up the five days into several categories. "We will have skill and scrimmage days where we will work on our fundamentals. Then, hopefully we will apply that work come scrimmage days. We will also spend twice a week lifting weights."
The baseball team will host Coastal Bend College (National Junior College Athletic Association) on Sept. 28 at 2 p.m., Laredo Community College on Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. and Coastal Bend on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. The Saints will then get set for their Fall World Series intersquad games scheduled from Oct. 29 through Nov. 3.
Aughney commented, "The fall is always a grind. Number one, we hope to stay healthy. We also are getting our guys in shape for the spring. We hope to gain strength, quickness and durability.
"On the baseball side, we use this eight weeks to see who we are as a unit and to find out what our strengths and weaknesses are. We want to give our pitchers some workloads that will emulate spring and try to give our hitters as many live looks as we can."
The Saints return four seniors, Daniel Anciso (SR/Harlingen, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Mick Hernandez (SR/San Antonio, Texas) and Nick Ludwig (SR/Tomball, Texas) and Ryan Ramsey (Two-Time Scholar Athlete); juniors Joey Baker (JR/Cuero, Texas), Jose Diaz (JR/Pinar del Rio, Cuba), Tony Esparza (JR/Spring, Texas), Robert Lopez (JR/San Antonio, Texas), Matt Mihalov (JR/Conroe, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Xavier Solis (JR/Victoria, Texas) and Colton Vien (JR/Montgomery, Texas); and sophomores Ryan Chapa (SO/Corpus Christi, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Jorge Collazo Jr. (SO/San Antonio, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Alex Garza (SO/Cypress, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Logan Garza (SO/Round Rock, Texas) (Second Team All-Conference/Scholar Athlete), Adrian Gonzalez Jr. (SO/Weslaco, Texas) (Scholar Athlete), Alec Martinez (SO/Corpus Christi, Texas) (Gold Glove), Andrew Ogletree (SO/Mission, Texas), Triston Scherer (SO/Crosby, Texas) (Scholar Athlete) and Erik Trevino (SO/Corpus Christi, Texas). In addition, TJ Kassner (SR/Corpus Christi, Texas) (2016 Scholar Athlete) returns to the team after taking two years off. Roland Cantu (FR/Converse, Texas) and EricTyler Guerrero, who redshirted last season, will be on the active roster this year.
Newcomers include juniors Aaron Gonzalez (JR/Houston, Texas) and Jose Ramirez (JR/Weslaco, Texas); sophomore Alvaro Pena (SO/Robstown, Texas); and freshmen Eric Elizondo (FR/Mission, Texas), Matthew Klar (FR/San Antonio, Texas), Layne Klostermann (FR/Raymondville, Texas), Manuel Luna (FR/San Antonio, Texas), Khristopher McRae (FR/Sugar Land, Texas), Jacob Montejano (FR/San Antonio, Texas), Bryce Putnam (FR/Baytown, Texas), Jacob Ramirez (FR/San Antonio, Texas), Noah Rodriguez (FR/Victoria, Texas) and Brett Vasquez (FR/Baytown, Texas).
"As a unit, we are still young," Aughney stated. "We started as many as six freshmen at a time last year, and we have added several more freshmen to the mix this season. In our junior and senior class, we have a lot of experience, as well, and we will lean on them to continue to guide us. The positive side is that we now know the system, the expectations and attention to details it takes to get us into the postseason in May. Last season, we had to implement many new things, and now, some of those are engrained, and we can continue to build on them."
Last year's team had much success. The Saints posted a 16-11 Red River Athletic Conference record and qualified for the postseason as the fourth seed. In addition, the team earned NAIA Scholar Team recognition for the first-time in its four-year history.
The team will begin its fifth official season on Jan. 25 at home against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. The Saints' open their conference schedule on March 1 against Texas College in Tyler. Their schedule goes through the end of April and the postseason takes place May 3-6 at Shreveport, La.
Joining Aughney on the coaching staff is Assistant Coach Jeremy Flores, who marks his fifth season with the Saints. He will primarily handle coaching the pitchers. Joining the coaching staff are Mike Light and Caleb Mirles, and returning will be Matt Beasley - all former players on the team. Nate Gunty also will join the staff as a volunteer, and Father Cristopher Robinson will return as the team chaplain.
All home games will be broadcast on the OLLU Saints Network through Stretch Internet. New this year will be a $7.95 charge for streaming each game. Season packages will be available and more information will be provided at a later date.