The Seward County Community College baseball program has began their fall season with their schedule of fall scrimmages. Head Coach, Galen McSpadden, is beginning his 26th year at SCCC, feels this year’s team welcomes back key returning players with the addition of some very talented high school athletes. The Saints are coming off a 33-27 overall record in 2006, with a fourth place finish at the Region VI Tournament. McSpadden’s coaching staff in 2006-2007 will include seventh year assistant coach, Mike Davidson, and first year assistant coach, Chris Rowland. The Saints return 10 sophomores, one red-shirt freshman and have welcomed in 20 newcomers for this year.

McSpadden knows there will be challenge with 21 newcomers this spring. But, with two All-Conference selections, and several players who made an impact in the Jayhawk West Conference last season, the freshmen will have the opportunity to learn from players and coaches who know what it takes to win in this conference.

“We have a big turnover, and anytime you have this many freshman you will have some growing pains to go through,” said McSpadden. “Then you have to step back and look at the type of individual and talent that you brought in and the players that are returning and we feel that we have some key positions coming back, and we have some good people that are coming in as freshman.”

“It is a good bunch of guys, I like the personality of the club and we will be looking to get a lot out of them,” said McSpadden.

McSpadden on the Saints four returning starters:

“Toby Davis was an All-Conference (First Team) third baseman last season and played this last summer with the Liberal Bee Jays. Bo Merrell was drafted again by the Giants and played this summer with Beatrice. Both players had good summers and we are expecting a lot more out of their leadership this year.”

“Erik Hegstad and Kai Kirby return for us, and right there you have your starting right fielder and center fielder back. Hegstad hit in our three-hole as a freshman and we are expecting big things our of Erik this year. He had a great summer playing in a wooden bat league in Colorado so he will help us a lot. Kirby came on really strong for us last year. He is a good athlete and we are expecting big things from him this year.”

“Those are four guys that are all capable of playing (NCAA) Division I baseball and even some in pro-ball.”

McSpadden on the Saints returning sophomores:

“Zeb Birch is a hard throwing right hander. Zeb is capable of dominating the conference this year. We are hoping he will have a great sophomore year.”

“Eric Everson was used in the bullpen quite a bit last year and started for us in the Region VI Playoffs and pitched pretty well. He will be expected to throw a lot of innings for us this year.”

“Curtis Hamilton started out well for us last year, and then just lost a little bit of confidence. We will look for him to throw a lot of innings for us this year.”

“Rob Miles got in some innings with the Liberal Bee Jays this last summer. Rob is very capable of getting people out when he throws strikes.”

“Tanner Rindels has some pop in his bat from the left side of the plate. We are looking for him to be more consistent for us this year.”

“Stu Schlemeyer can run well, and had a good summer for Duncanville in the Texas Collegiate League last summer. We are expecting more and better things from Stu as a sophomore.”

McSpadden on the Saints newcomers:

CATCHERS

“Matt Deacon has played behind the plate and also in the field. Matt is very capable of catching for us.”

“Mike Drzazga is a player that the pro scouts have expressed interest in behind the plate, so that may also be an option for us. He has the ability at the plate to swing the bat very well and can also play the outfield.”

“Brock Gifford is a player we are looking at to step in for us behind the plate. He can throw and can swing the bat a little bit and also receives the ball well. He will have some work to do with his footwork.”

“Luke Hardcastle has played outfield and infield, but has never been a full-time catcher. This summer when I saw him catch he did a good job.”

INFIELDERS

“Elliott Alston has some potential with the bat. He played some third base in high school, but we are looking for him to fill the spot at first base. He has a lot of potential at the plate.”

“Erik Hansen came here and worked out for us and he reminded me of Jason Van Kooten. He is an athletic young man who can swing the bat and we are looking for him to do well at the shortstop position.”

“Chris Monclova is the son of one of my former players, Santos Alvarado. I really like Chris’ actions, he has good hands, can play shortstop and second base, he switch hits, he is a good athlete.”

“Austin Roff came in last year and we really thought that he had a good shot at winning a starting spot in the infield, but he broke his little finger in the fall and dislocated his shoulder in the spring. Austin is a good athlete and will be vying for a starting shortstop job this year.”

“Spencer Selby comes here from Edmond, Oklahoma, and brings a good bat to the plate. He played shortstop in high school and we will be moving him around to different positions this fall. We think that his bat will allow him to be in our line-up.”

“Justen Slaughter is a big kid, who indicated he wanted to be in our program. He is a player who will be fun to work with at first base.”

PITCHERS

“Rafe Alvarez is a local kid from Turpin. He is a good young man. We are hoping to get some mileage out of Rafe this spring as well.”

“Tyler Binkley is here from Canada and was drafted by the N.Y. Mets out of high school. We were contacted about him and that is how we got him here. He is a 6’6” right hander with a good arm and we are hoping he can jump out as a freshman and help lead us on the mound.”

“Tomas Cruz has a good arm, and has the potential to throw a hard breaking pitch. He is a gutsy pitcher. We are expecting some good things out of Tomas.”

“Chris Johnson has a lot of potential with a good arm, who we are expecting some good things from as well.”

“Jordan McClintick has a good arm and comes to us out of Oklahoma. We are hoping that Jordan can come in and throw strikes and get guys out for us.”

“James McMurphy played for the Hooker (Okla.) summer team last year and contacted us about playing for our program. James has a good arm.”

“Karl Whitley is a very athletic player, with a good arm. Karl has a chance to throw the ball very well for us.”

“Will Gowdy was high school teammates with Tomas Cruz at Amarillo H.S. He had an operation that will force him to miss the fall, but he will be ready for us in the spring. So hopefully we will have an ace up our sleeve with Will for the spring season.”

“Jordan Knight showed up late in the summer. Coach (Davidson) saw him in Pueblo this summer with a team from Dallas. He came to Liberal and threw for us and has a good arm. We are expecting some good things from Jordan.”

“Christian Kowalchuk was on the team from Canada that traveled to Liberal a couple years ago. He was on our campus and really liked it here. He stayed in touch with us and has been throwing really well for the team in Canada that he has been playing for.”

“Nathaniel Weems doesn’t throw real hard, but he has a lot of potential and has a great change-up. He already knows how to pitch, so we are expecting we won’t have to teach him how to pitch, but just make him stronger so he can throw a little harder.”

For more information on Seward County Baseball, check out their web site.