Vol State baseball wrapping up season

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team is at the end of its regular season. This weekend the Pioneers will face off against the Roane State Community College Raiders.

“It’s game by game. Put our heads down and go after it. Worry about the game in front of us,” said Aaron England, relieving pitcher.

The three remaining games are preparation for the 2018 postseason. As of publication, the Pioneers would face Roane State in a play-in game situation.

“The pressure of it makes it fun,” said England.

The pioneers have an overall record of 23-15.

“In a disciplinary way coach has guided us in the right way. Team chemistry has been good comparing to recent years. This season has helped us bond,” said Matt Brown, second baseman.

The postseason tournament will be from May 6-11, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Depending on where the Pioneers finish, it is possible they will play on the first day of the tournament at 3:00 p.m. they would play the 10th seeded team.

“When we have our hitting, pitching, and defense all rolling together its a dangerous mix for these guys,” said Logan Maloney, assistant coach.

The road to the college world series is going through Chattanooga on the Pioneers first pitstop.

“The expectation is that every team in this conference is good. Every week we have to compete and give it our all. I look forward to competing each week, and I love facing the competition we get,” said Jacob Cole, starting pitcher.

The 44-game grind will end this weekend at home versus the Raiders, but another road will open up as the postseason will only be eight days away after the series is over.

“You have to be positive and wait for the next opportunity,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.

“Well it’s always great to end the season off on a good note with a series win going into the conference tournament. That’d be great to not have to be in the play-in game,” said Cole.

“I think we have a good shot. I think we can kinda get it rolling again to stay out of the play-in game, which saves us an arm,” said Maloney.

To stay updated with the Pioneers baseball club for the remainder of their season follow them @VSCCPioneersBSB on Twitter for updates and analysis.

Vol State baseball tries to make playoffs

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team is winding down its season. The Pioneers lost this past weekend series to the Motlow State Community College Bucks.

“We are trying to get out of the play-in game and trying to get a postseason berth,” said Chase Haley, redshirt freshman.

The past weekend series loss is a blow to clinching a early playoff position. The next series is this weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The series will make or break this postseason opportunity for the Pioneers.

“It’s crucial. We really gotta have these series so that way we are out of a play-in game,” said Collin Hopkins, starting catcher.

Hopkins has missed “about 20 games” games from having issues with his throwing shoulder and his ankle.

“We are pretty much out of winning the conference. We still have something to play for as far as seeding goes. If you do not win the play-in game series your season is over,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.

The Pioneers are currently sitting in seventh place in the TCCAA standings with a record of 23-15 and in conference play with a record of 9-11.

“We still have three weekends to go do some things that can put us in a decent seed rather than play in a play-in game. As of now, the way the standings are, we would play Jackson State, and Southwest would play Roane State. Those two teams would go on to play the number one seeds,” said Hunt.

The last series of the season will be at home against Roane State Community College the last weekend of this month.

With seven games left and the postseason on the line, the Pioneers will have to win all the rest of their games to get to 30 wins on the season, a feat which has yet to be done under Hunt’s career at Vol-State. Last season the team fell short one win.

“It’s a matter of executing the pitches called. I’m not worried. I think we could take the conference tournament if we wanted to,” said Hopkins, optimistically about his team.

“It’s doing the little things. Little things equal doing the big things. Keep doing what we

ask to compete and play hard and just see what happens. We play our game and play like we can we can compete with anybody,” said Hunt.

The series in Chattanooga this weekend will start Friday at 1 p.m. and end with a double-header Saturday at 11 a.m.

For game updates and analysis follow the Pioneers on Twitter, @VSCCPioneersBSB.

 

Vol State softball team succeeding with team full of freshman

 

By Nick Kieser

The Volunteer State Community College softball team is having a winning season. Their record as of April 5 is 25-5 with a 10-game winning streak.

“Going 25-5 — I would’ve never thought about it with 15 freshman that have to play. I honestly feel it’s that they refuse to lose,” said Johnny Lynn, head coach.

The softball squad is 17-3 in their conference play this season. As a team they have only lost one game on road.

“The fifth game, I believe, we lost our starting second baseman, and bigger hitters. Tori Barnes broke her wrist on a collision at first base. She has provided leadership in the dugout since then,” said Lynn.

The Pioneers are only second to Chattanooga State Community College in the standings, and Chattanooga has played twelve more games than the Pioneers.

“We are all really tough and want to go bigger places. I like being the leader. I’m tough, and I don’t like to lose,” said sophomore player, Jaylin Mabry.

Out of the 18 players listed on the roster, only three, Mabry, Barnes, and Riley Fleming are sophomores on the team.

“My role is to keep everyone mentally focused. It’s easy to get distracted or get mad. You have to teach younger players how to bounce back,” said Mabry

“We being fifteen freshman we do silly stuff, but they play through it. They are a true team because they pick each other up,” said Lynn.

The loss of a veteran sophomore has not stopped the rolling Pioneers. With 17 games left to play, the team could compete with the number spot in the standings with Chattanooga State who has 18 games left.

This season, Lynn has been using the bullpen in a different way as he has four pitchers.

“Riley usually throws game one, but we are fortunate to have as many pitchers as we do, and they are all different,” said Lynn.

The team is on the cusp of being in the postseason in less than a month, and they would like to go all the way this year.

“A lot of the tougher teams don’t have team chemistry. If you have chemistry, it changes the whole dynamic of a team. I definitely think we can win the whole thing, no doubt in my mind. We are more mentally with it than other teams. We do not stop,” said Mabry.

Last year’s record of 8-20 has now blossomed into a winning season that could turn into a huge success for the Pioneers this season.

“Getting to the tournament, you got to be able to keep your head up, but you’re going to make mistakes you just got to play through it. We are striving to win that tournament in Chattanooga and go on to the national tournament,” said Lynn.

Students can keep up with the Pioneers softball team on Twitter @VSCCPioneersSB. 

 

Vol State baseball player commits to Tennessee Tech

 

By Nick Kieser

Jacob Cole, pitcher for the Volunteer State Community College Pioneers baseball team, committed to furthering his athletic and academic career at Tennessee Tech April 6.

“I’ve had many family members that went to Tennessee Tech. They love it, and I didn’t need to visit their campus to know that’s where I want to be,” said Cole.

“A lot of guys sign late to four year schools. Tennessee Tech is where he’s always wanted to go even back in high school. It’s like his dream school,” said Ryan Hunt, head coach.

This season Cole has pitched a total of 51 innings and has 51 strikeouts as of April 6. His fit into the Tennessee Tech pitching rotation next season perhaps as a starting pitcher is evident.

“I think a strikeout per inning is definitely doing something right,” said Cole.

“If you look at the rankings, they are right there with Vanderbilt, which is pretty prestigious. I have a strong work ethic and a desire to win, in my opinion. I don’t think you find a player who wants to compete more than I do. I hope that Tech is ready,” said Cole.

Cole has been part of a revamp of the Pioneer baseball program, and this team will look to build off his success when he packs his bags to head to Cookeville, Tennessee.

“Jacob has been a big factor in establishing where our program is now and where it’s going to go,” said Hunt.

“He’s been a part of a team that wants to win 30 games this season. He’s an incredibly talented student athlete,” said Jason Barrett, assistant coach.

“He’s really one of the hardest working kids on the team, and he puts in everything he needs to do to get ready for the weekend. I think that he’s going to be an impact player for Tennessee Tech right off the bat,” said Cameron Grogan, Cole’s teammate.

According to Barrett, Cole, is developing a pitch called a cutter to add to his resume.

“It’s a pretty good pitch. He developed pretty quickly. Jacob is going to be successful no matter what he chooses to do. He’s just that type of guy,” said Hunt.

Cole and the Pioneers have 14 games left to play in the regular season.

“I think when you’re not nervous, you can play at your best ability. It’s not about playing the best. It’s about picking up your teammates when they’re down. It’s about being a good guy and teammate. I want to continue to do that,” said Cole.

“He’s a tremendous worker, tremendous young man. He’s everything you want in a player on and off the field,” said Hunt.

“I want to be the guy that was known to work hard in everything he did. Each day I was trying to be a positive influence. It’s been a heck of two years. I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Cole.

Watch Pioneers baseball on Twitter @VSCCPioneersBSB.

 

Home Plate event supports baseball and softball teams

 

By Presley Green

Volunteer State Community College’s annual Vol State Home Plate will be held Saturday, April 14, at noon, at the baseball and softball fields.

The Office of Student Engagement & Support will be hosting the event to celebrate the baseball and softball teams. There will be food, and everyone is invited.

“We celebrate the basketball teams in the fall semester with Homecoming, so the Vol State Home Plate is the spring edition of Homecoming to celebrate our baseball and softball teams,” according to an email from Tabitha Sherrell. “We will have the cafeteria catering free burgers, hotdogs, and chips at the concession stands and then we will have free giveaways.”

Both the softball and baseball teams play at home twice against Motlow State Community College that day. The baseball games are at noon and 2:30 p.m. The softball games are at noon and 2:00 p.m.