Baseball News (51)
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. --- Three Rivers Head Baseball Coach Stacey Burkey was honored Saturday at the American Baseball Coaches Association’s annual convention in Chicago last weekend. Burkey, who is entering his 20th season at the helm of the Raiders baseball team, was recognized for his 25 years in baseball coaching.
“Reaching this milestone, for me, is a sign that I have had quality people around me all throughout my career, from the players all the way through the assistant coaches and administration,” says Burkey.
The ABCA hosts an honors luncheon every year, to recognize coaches from all levels of baseball, from high school through professional, who have been involved in coaching for 25 years.
“It’s really very humbling when you’re sitting in a room with obviously a lot of very good baseball personnel,” Burkey says. “To be able to do something you love for that long of a time is pretty special. Hopefully I’ve got a lot more left in me, but again, it’s a reflection of having good people around me.”
Burkey’s current assistant, Joe Scarano, is entering his third season with the Raiders.
“My assistant, Joe, is very instrumental in the development of our team,” says Burkey. “He is an excellent recruiter, and the players see his passion for doing things right on and off the field every day.”
All 25 years of Burkey’s coaching career have been spent at Three Rivers. He worked as an assistant for Dave Jarvis, now the head coach at Belmont University, for six seasons, before being named the head coach in October of 1993.
Burkey also played two seasons for Three Rivers, in 1982-83 and 1983-84, as a pitcher. He continued his playing career at Missouri State. Before returning to Three Rivers to work as an assistant coach, he also played one year of minor league baseball in Long Island, N.Y.
In his 19 seasons as head coach, Burkey has compiled 452 wins, and is quickly approaching the 500-win mark. He was also honored not once, but twice, as the Midwest Community College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, in 2007 and 2008.
But Burkey’s focus is not on his past success. With the first baseball game of the 2013 season just five weeks away, he’s already back to work, preparing his team.
“Our guys are coming back this week, and we’re anxious to get started. We’ve got a few guys who are coming back from surgery, we’ve got to be cautious with them, but there’s reason to be optimistic with our pitching depth. Our hitters will be getting a lot of repetitions here soon, too, to prepare as much as we can for the season.”
Last year’s Raiders went 26-25, and finished in fourth-place in the region.
“I’m just hoping we can get ‘em going this year. Hopefully we can get outside a lot,” said Burkey. “It’s going to be busy.”
Twenty-one college coaches, including Burkey, were recognized at this year’s ABCA Honors Luncheon.
This weekend the Raiders baseball team will play its final scrimmages of the fall, with a home match-up against Williams Baptist on Saturday, and a double-header against Jackson State on Sunday, on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Martin. In all, the Raiders will play 32-innings of baseball to close out their fall outdoor practice season.
The action-packed weekend will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. when the first of three six-inning scrimmages is played at Pattillo Field. The three-game contest against the Williams Baptist Eagles (NAIA) will be the first, and only, home event for the Raiders this fall. The Raiders then travel to Martin, Tenn. to finish the weekend with two seven-inning scrimmages against the Generals of Jackson State Community College (NJCAA--Region VII) beginning at 1 p.m on Sunday.
"We've got a lot of innings in front us," said Head Baseball Coach Stacey Burkey. "We anticipate seeing a lot of energy from everybody because everybody will have a role to play this weekend."
Despite a somewhat disappointing fall, the Raiders are packed with potential. The team boasts sixteen returning players, and another sixteen, talented freshmen.
"Won-loss wise it may not have been what we had hoped for, but we have seen improvement through the fall with a lot of our guys. It has been a productive fall," said Burkey. "We expect the next six weeks of conditioning to also help our overall performance."
But before the conditioning program can begin, the team has 32-innings of scrimmaging to complete, and the Raiders look to finish their fall schedule strong.
"We are really looking to see quality from our hitters this weekend," added Assistant Coach Joe Scarano. "We are measuring success by having quality at-bats, giving no easy outs."
Said Burkey, "Defensively, we want to play alert, have clean innings, give away no errors, and be efficient. Everyone is anxious to play."
Professional scouts and area coaches are expected on campus tomorrow afternoon for Three Rivers Baseball's Annual Fall Pro Day. Scouts and coaches from local four-year colleges and universities have been invited to Roger Pattillo Field on Wednesday, October 10 at 3:30 p.m. to evaluate Raiders baseball players. During the pro-style workout, the players will be assessed on their abilities and tools such as speed, strength, hitting and defense.
“The scheduled Pro Day creates an opportunity for our players to continue to be scouted and evaluated by our staff, four-year schools and professional scouts in our area,” says Assistant Baseball Coach Joe Scarano. "As coaches we are always looking for ways to assess our players and to assess our training and development program. A pro-day gives us that chance to assess, reflect and plan for our next few months of training.”
The event also increases player visibility in the area, helping athletes get to the next level when their Raiders careers are complete.
While the baseball players will enjoy a few days’ rest after the Pro Day event when Three Rivers Fall Break begins on Thursday, Coach Scarano and Head Coach Stacey Burkey will be hard at work preparing for and hosting their 2012 High School Showcase.
The annual showcase will take place on Saturday,October 13 at Roger Pattillo Field. All 2013 and 2014 graduates have been invited to attend, and Scarano says he expects anywhere from 40 to 50 local high school players to participate.
Registration begins at 12 p.m. and there are no costs associated with the showcase. Registration will be followed by a pro-style workout.
“The purpose of the event is to promote and support high school and travel baseball programs in our area,” says Scarano. “We want to give players the opportunity to work-out and visit our college campus, and this event also helps us identify and evaluate prospects in our recruiting area.”
The 2012 season may not have ended with a Region XVI title, but the Three Rivers baseball Raiders still have a lot to smile about.
In addition to finishing with a winning record (26-25-1) for the first time since 2009, four players have signed letters of intent to play baseball next season at four-year schools, a single-season record was broken and to top it all off, several players are eligible to return next season, giving much reason for optimism in 2013.
Leading the way this season was leadoff hitter Trent Wooldridge. The sophomore centerfielder batted .399 with 77 hits – the most hits in one season for a Raider – scored a team-high 44 runs, led Three Rivers in RBIs with 40, tied for second on the team with three home runs and stole 17 bases, also good for second on the team.
Wooldridge has signed with Harding University in Searcy, Ark. for next season.
"Trent is well-respected by both his coaches and his teammates," Three Rivers assistant coach Joe Scarano said. "Trent plays the game the way it is meant to be played and has certainly left his mark both in the record books and with our younger players. We wish Trent the best – he certainly embodied many qualities we look for in a young man and athlete."
Meanwhile, classmate Alex Lang was right behind Wooldridge, batting .377 with a team-high 24 stolen bases and finished second on the team with 39 runs scored – not to mention driving in 27 runs – while making the transition from third base to shortstop. Additionally, Lang finished with the third most stolen bases in Three Rivers history.
Lang has signed with the University of Arkansas-Monticello for next season, as has left-handed pitcher Cody Stause.
"Alex was one of our most steady and productive players and a leader," said Scarano. "Last year (in 2011) Alex started every game at third (but) this year he moved over to short and was very good there. Alex has a great feel for the game of baseball and is one of the more heads-up players I've coached. We wish him the best in what he does but we'll certainly miss having him here."
Meanwhile, Trevor Robertson shook off an early-season injury to finish with a .318 batting average and three homers – good for second on the team – while driving in 25 runs.
Robertson is headed to Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. next season, where he will join former Raider Ryan Grigaitis.
"Trevor had a solid sophomore year," Scarano said. "He was very dependable. Offensively, Trevor was very mature. Most of the season, I didn't even have to watch his at-bats and that's a great compliment that a hitter knows what his job is (in all situations). His best baseball is in front of him."
Robertson will also be playing in the Northwoods League this summer, one of many graduating and returning Raiders who are playing summer ball.
Lang, Wooldridge and Skylar Cobb will once again play for the Slippery Rock (Penn.) Sliders of the Prospect League, while potential returnee Logan Morris will play for the Fulton (Ky.) Railroaders of the KIT League. Meanwhile, the quartet of Bryce Neal, Blaine Tanner, Garrett Stockton and Travis Moe – all of whom were freshmen this past season – will be playing in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
With so many players potentially coming back, there is reason for optimism in Three Rivers Nation.
"We're going to keep plugging – recruiting and player development, those seem to be two of our big keys," said Scarano. "We like our team, we're proud of our program and we look forward to starting it back up August 20."
Leave it to a nemesis like Jeffco to put a damper on the home finale for the Three Rivers baseball Raiders.
The Vikings scored three runs in the top of the first inning of the opening game of a Region XVI doubleheader against Three Rivers, winning that game 6-2 and then winning the nightcap 7-0 to complete the sweep Thursday at Pattillo Field.
Jeffco took a 3-0 lead in the first game of the opener and extended it to 4-0 in the top of the third inning before the Raiders (23-22, 10-12 XVI) got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Alex Lang crossed the plate.
The Vikings added a run apiece in the fifth and seventh innings to extend the lead to 6-1 before Garrett Stockton hit a one-out solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to set the final score.
Lang paced the Three Rivers attack with two hits.
In the nightcap, two hits was all the Raiders could manage – a first-inning double by Travis Moe and a second-inning single by Zach Bucci.
Jeffco once again scored in the top of the first inning to grab the lead and the momentum, then the Vikings added two more runs in the top of the fourth to make it 3-0.
Three Rivers threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning, putting runners on second and third with one out, but failed to score.
Jeffco added four more runs in the top of the seventh inning to ice the game.
The Raiders close the regular season Saturday when they travel to North Central for a four-game series – two games each on Saturday and Sunday – before opening Region XVI Tournament play next week in Joplin.
The Three Rivers baseball Raiders seem to be peaking at the right time. Sweeping a doubleheader from Mineral Area isn’t bad, either.
Three Rivers did just that Tuesday, winning the opener against the Cardinals 8-3 before taking a dramatic, come-from-behind 8-7 win in 13 innings in Region XVI play at Pattillo Field.
The Raiders (22-17, 10-8 XVI) trailed 4-2 in the middle of the sixth inning of the second game before rallying for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 lead. However, Mineral Area tied it at 5-5 in the top of the seventh to force extra innings and it was back-and-forth until Blaine Tanner’s walkoff double won it in the bottom of the 13th inning.
In the first game, the Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Three Rivers began chipping away from there. Trent Wooldridge’s grounder scored Zach Bucci in the bottom of the second inning for the team’s first run, then Bucci singled in Ethan Malone to make it a 3-2 game in the bottom of the third inning.
The Raiders took command in the bottom of the fourth inning. Travis Moe’s grounder scored Wooldridge to snap a 3-3 tie, then Garrett Stockton blasted a two-run homer to make it 6-3. Bucci capped the rally with a single to chase home Andy Westfall.
Jonathan Lycan got the win, striking out three in six innings before Skylar Cobb tossed a scoreless seventh inning.
Three Rivers is back in action Thursday when it travels to St. Louis for a doubleheader.
If his last two starts are any indication, Quinton Stevens might just be on his way to being the stopper for the Three Rivers baseball Raiders.
For the second time in less than a week, Stevens turned in a strong start in the second game of a doubleheader after a Raiders’ loss in the opener, leading Three Rivers to a 4-3 win in the nightcap Sunday against the Maple Woods Monarchs in Region XVI action at Pattillo Field.
Stevens’ outing was even more impressive after the Raiders (20-17, 8-8 XVI) lost the first game 17-2 after allowing 12 runs in the sixth inning.
Just five days after taking a perfect game into the sixth inning, Stevens (5-3) took a shutout into the seventh inning against Maple Woods. And while the Monarchs scored three times in the top of the seventh to make things interesting at the end, Jonathan Lycan came in in relief to strike out the last two batters and save the win for Stevens.
Before that, however, Three Rivers gave Stevens all the support he would need in the bottom of the second inning. Zach Bucci walked and Ethan Malone singled to set the table for Trevor Robertson, who doubled both home to make it a 2-0 game. Trent Wooldridge singled in Robertson and Cory Deere scored on Alex Lang’s fielder’s choice to cap the second-inning rally.
Malone and Robertson each had three hits to pace the Raiders’ attack.
The first game was a different story. The Monarchs had a 5-0 lead after two and a half innings before Three Rivers finally got on the board in the bottom of the third as Deere tripled and later scored on Lang’s base hit.
However, Maple Woods broke the game wide open in the top of the sixth inning, scoring 12 times to take a 17-1 lead.
The Raiders added one final run in the bottom of the sixth when Dustin Spencer hit a solo shot to set the final score.
Deere and Andy Westfall each had a pair of hits for Three Rivers.
The Raiders are back in action Tuesday when they host Mineral Area in a Region XVI and Midwest Community College Athletic Conference doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Pattillo Field.
Getting a win against Maple Woods is always nice. Getting two is even better.Fast
Just ask the Three Rivers baseball Raiders, who used a fast start to down the Monarchs 8-6 in the first game of a doubleheader, then completed the sweep with a 6-3 win in the nightcap Saturday at Pattillo Field in Region XVI action.
The Raiders (19-16, 7-7 XVI) didn’t need long to seize the momentum Saturday, putting up five runs in the bottom of the first inning of the opener, with a two-run hit by Blaine Tanner proving key.
Ethan Malone made it 7-0 in the bottom of the third inning when he connected on a two-run homer, but Maple Woods wasn’t done just yet, as Corey Embree connected for a three-run blast in the top of the fifth inning to end the shutout and ignite a six-run outburst to make it a 7-6 game.
However, Bryce Neal singled home Trevor Robertson in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 8-6 and give the Raiders a big insurance run.
Logan Morris pitched around the fifth-inning rally to pick up the victory on the hill.
Neal, Malone and Robertson each had two hits in the opener.
In the nightcap, the Monarchs scored in the top of the first inning to make it 1-0, but Three Rivers answered right back in the bottom of the inning as Trent Wooldridge singled to lead off and later scored to tie the game.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the third, Garrett Stockton walked and Zach Bucci doubled and both later scored to put the Raiders ahead for good. Then in the bottom of the fourth, Travis Moe tripled in Alex Lang to make it 5-2, and Andy Westfall’s single scored Moe to cap the rally.
Wooldridge, Moe, Lang, Robertson and Malone each had a pair of hits in the nightcap.
Three Rivers is back in action Sunday when it hosts the Monarchs for another doubleheader. First pitch is set for noon at Pattillo Field.
It may not have been a perfect game for Quinton Stevens and the Three Rivers baseball Raiders, but it sure ended well.
Stevens took a perfect game into the sixth inning of the second game of a Midwest Community College Athletic Conference doubleheader against the Shawnee Saints, finishing with a two-hitter in a 5-1 complete-game victory for the Raiders to earn the split after a 6-3 loss in the opener Tuesday at Pattillo Field.
Stevens was on Tuesday, retiring the first 17 batters he faced before hitting Ehren Kirby with a pitch with two out in the top of the sixth inning. Tucker Stakey followed up with a base hit to end the no-hitter but Stevens still finished with a two-hitter and a big win for Three Rivers (16-15, 7-5 MCCAC).
“He certainly threw a great game when we needed it,” Three Rivers coach Stacey Burkey said of Stevens. “He had a lot of groundball outs and our infielders played really well. (Alex) Lang had nine assists. They weren’t easy plays, some of them. He was having to go into the hole and get it.”
Stevens also got plenty of run support from his teammates. Andy Westfall gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a sacrifice fly to score Trent Wooldridge. But the big blow arguably came in the bottom of the fourth from the bat of Garrett Stockton.
After Wooldridge reached with an infield single and Lang drew a walk, Stockton brought everyone home with a three-run homer to extend the lead to 4-0 and give Stevens some breathing room.
“That was huge,” said Burkey. “It turned a one-run game into a four-run game. That was a big swing from Garrett there. … He’s been set back by injury recently but he’s been able to take BP and practice the last few days and looked good. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s been able to put a big swing on the ball. He’s been doing that the last few days (in practice).”
Moe’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning scored Wooldridge to give Three Rivers its fifth and final run of the day.
The first game was a different story. Shawnee put up five runs in the top of the fourth to break open a close game and seize the momentum.
The Raiders did not give up, scoring once in the fifth inning and twice in the sixth to get close – and they had the tying run up in the bottom of the seventh but could not complete the comeback.
“The big inning hurt us,” Burkey said. “They had three hits that inning and we gave up two walks. They were able to put some stuff together and (get the big inning).”
Three Rivers is back in action Thursday when it travels to Jefferson for a pair of MCCAC and Region XVI contests. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
It might not have been one of the prettiest wins of the season for the Three Rivers baseball Raiders, but it was certainly one of the most exciting.
The Raiders rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come away with a wild 12-11 win in the opener of a doubleheader against the St. Charles Cougars in the first game of a Region XVI doubleheader at Pattillo Field.
The nightcap was another exciting contest, as the Cougars won 5-4 in 10 innings to salvage a split despite Three Rivers again scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 4-all and force extra innings.
In the opener, the Raiders (15-14) trailed 11-10 entering the final frame, but didn’t need long to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Jordan Carter was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, while Trent Wooldridge followed up with a base hit to put runners at first and third.
A wild pickoff throw allowed Carter to come home with the tying run, while Wooldridge advanced to third. After Cory Deere walked, a balk allowed Wooldridge to come home with the winning run.
A fittingly wild ending to a wild game.
Three Rivers took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Carter tripled home Blaine Tanner and Andy Westfall, then seemingly broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning.
A walk, a hit batsman and a base hit loaded the bases with two out for Westfall, who singled to chase home Travis Moe and Zach Bucci and make it a 7-4 game. Trevor Robertson then followed up with a base hit of his own to score Tanner while Carter capped the rally with a two-run single to bring home Westfall and Robertson and make it 10-4.
But the Cougars did not give up, scoring twice in the top of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 10-6, then adding five runs in the top of the sixth, tying the game at 10 on Robert Wright’s two-run single and taking an 11-10 lead on Brady Swift’s base hit that scored Wright.
Wooldridge paced the Raiders attack with three hits, while Tanner, Westfall, Robertson and Carter – the bottom four hitters in the order – each had a pair of hits. Carter drove in four runs while Wooldridge, Robertson and Westfall drove in a pair.
Jonathan Lycan pitched two innings of one-run relief to earn the victory in relief of starter Alex Piontek.
Three Rivers is back in action this weekend when it travels to North Central for a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday before returning home Tuesday to host Shawnee.