RICHARDSON, Texas –– Concordia Texas and Texas-Tyler have been predicted to win 2013 American Southwest Conference baseball division titles, it was announced by the ASC office on Tuesday (Jan. 29) after a vote of each division's head coaches, sports information directors and media members. A total of 28 players – 14 from the West Division and 14 from the East Division – were named to the players to watch lists by nominations from head coaches.
Concordia Texas, which went 37-11 overall (17-4 ASC) last year en route to its second straight conference title, totaled 139 points and collected 17 of the 21 possible first-place votes in the annual poll to be the favorite in the West Division. Head coach Tommy Boggs' Tornados, who are also coming off their second consecutive division title, boasted a 2.71 team ERA in 2012 with a league-leading 360 strikeouts. CTX also won a conference title in 2002.
Three-time ASC champion Texas Lutheran wrapped up the second-place position with 118 points and two first-place votes. Head coach Greg Burnett's Bulldogs (27-14, 16-5 ASC) led the West in pitching (2.68 ERA) last year. Hardin-Simmons (20-20, 12-9 ASC) landed the final two first-place votes and was predicted for a third-place finish, just two behind TLU. Mary Hardin-Baylor (21-17, 11-10 ASC) came in the fourth spot with 77 points to round out what would be the West Division's four teams to qualify for the ASC Championship Tournament Series.
Howard Payne was predicted to finish fifth in the West with 60 points, followed by Sul Ross State (50 pts.) and Schreiner (38 pts.).
Texas-Tyler, which went 33-12 overall and 14-4 in ASC play last season to win its seventh division crown in the last eight years, totaled 134 points and 11 of the 21 possible first-place votes to be the favorites in the East Division. The Patriots are under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Bertrand, who was a student-athlete at ASC member Louisiana College and has been the pitching coach at LSU-Shreveport since 2006. UT Tyler, which won back-to-back conference titles in 2009-10, led the ASC hitting last season with a .335 batting average.
Texas-Dallas (28-15, 14-4 ASC) was the pick for second place with nine first-place votes and just three fewer points than UT Tyler. Head coach Shane Shewmake's Comets, who tied for the East crown last season, led the division with a 3.21 team ERA. Mississippi College (21-24, 9-9 ASC) picked up the final first-place vote and totaled 106 points to claim the third-place position. Louisiana College (15-24, 7-11 ASC) was the fourth-place selection to conclude what would be the East Division's four ASC tournament teams.
LeTourneau totaled 55 points to be the fifth-place selection in the East, followed by East Texas Baptist (53 pts.) and Ozarks (38 pts.).
Making up the "14 To Watch in the West Division" list is junior outfielder Brent Schaekel and senior right-hander Austin Rupert of Concordia Texas; junior second baseman/shortstop Marcus Uechi and senior right-hander Tyler Brunnemann of Hardin-Simmons; senior outfielder Carlton Brown and junior right-hander Corey Howie of Howard Payne; senior outfielder Chris Florack and senior right-hander Chance Ryan of Mary Hardin-Baylor; senior first baseman Chris Whitehead and senior right-hander Matt Valley of Schreiner; senior outfielder Dakota Dill and sophomore right-hander Ray Gutierrez of Sul Ross State; and junior catcher Ryan Hill and senior right-hander Sean Kistlerof Texas Lutheran.
Landing on the "14 To Watch in the East Division" list is sophomore outfielder Matty Sullivan and sophomore right-hander Zach Tampke of East Texas Baptist; junior outfielder/designated hitter Chris Bertram and senior right-hander Kirby Cantalamessa of LeTourneau; senior outfielder Cole Bagbey and senior right-hander Seth Webster of Louisiana College; senior second baseman Josh Perez and senior left-hander Ryan Glover of Mississippi College; senior second baseman Nick Brill and senior right-handerIan Bryan of Ozarks; senior first baseman/outfielder Jake Wyand and senior right-hander Derek Dallas of Texas-Dallas; and senior third baseman T.J. Martin and junior right-hander Jack Barkley of Texas-Tyler.
Kistler, who went 4-1 with eight saves and a 0.91 ERA last season, received honorable mention on D3Baseball.com's Preseason All-America list.
Barkley (10-1), Bertram (.341), Dallas (3.04 ERA), Dill (.369), Martin (.369) and Shaekel (.341) were first-team All-Division selections last year. Dill was also ASC West newcomer of the year, while Martin won an American Baseball Coaches Association Rawlings Gold Glove.
The 2013 ASC season – the 17th in league history – begins as early as Feb. 1. The eight-team conference tournament's first round, which is played in a best-of-three series format at sites of the top two seeds from each division, is set for April 26-27. The four victorious teams will advance to the double-elimination championship round, set for May 3-5 at the home field of the top remaining seed from the East Division. The ASC champion receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.
NOTES: Other new head coaches in the conference are Lee Driggers of East Texas Baptist and Ben Shipp of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Driggers, who spent the last four years at Wheaton (Ill.), won four ASC titles at former league member McMurry from 1996-2008. Shipp returns to the same position he held at UMHB from 1985-1997 before taking over as full-time athletic director. . . . Conference runner-up McMurry finished 23-24 overall and 12-9 in conference last season, while fellow ex-ASC institution Centenary went 24-15 overall but did not have a league record due to going through the NCAA Division III reclassifying process . . . . Concordia Texas is ranked No. 13 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 Poll and No. 16 in the D3Baseball.com Top 25 Poll, while Texas-Tyler is receiving votes in both. . . . . To talk about ASC Baseball on Twitter this season, use the hashtag: #ASCbb.
2013 ASC PRESEASON BASEBALL POLL
[Voted on by ASC Head Coaches, Sports Information Directors and Media Members]
Team (first-place votes) Points 2012 Record (finish)
1. Concordia Texas (17) 139 37-11, 17-4 ASC (1st)
2. Texas Lutheran (2) 118 27-14, 16-5 ASC (2nd)
3. Hardin-Simmons (2) 116 20-20, 12-9 ASC (T3rd)
4. Mary Hardin-Baylor 77 21-17, 11-10 ASC (5th)
5. Howard Payne 60 14-24, 7-14 ASC (6th)
6. Sul Ross State 50 9-30, 5-16 ASC (7th)
7. Schreiner 38 7-33, 4-17 ASC (8th)
* McMurry (23-24, 12-9 ASC) is no longer member of the conference.
Team (first-place votes) Points 2012 Record (finish)
1. Texas-Tyler (11) 134 33-12, 14-4 ASC (T1st)
2. Texas-Dallas (9) 131 28-15, 14-4 ASC (T1st)
3. Mississippi College (1) 106 21-24, 9-9 ASC (3rd)
4. Louisiana College 71 15-24, 7-11 ASC (T4th)
5. LeTourneau 55 15-23, 7-11 ASC (T4th)
6. East Texas Baptist 53 12-24, 7-11 ASC (T4th)
7. Ozarks 38 15-24, 5-13 ASC (7th)
* Centenary (24-15, 0-0 ASC) is no longer member of the conference.
2013 ASC PRESEASON WATCH LISTS
[One position player and pitcher nominated by each ASC head coach]
14 To Watch in the West Division
Carlton Brown, OF, Sr., Howard Payne
Dakota Dill, OF, Sr., Sul Ross State
Chris Florack, OF, Sr., Mary Hardin-Baylor
Ryan Hill, C, Jr., Texas Lutheran
Brent Schaekel, OF, Jr., Concordia Texas
Chris Whitehead, 1B, Sr., Schreiner
Marcus Uechi, SS/2B, Jr., Hardin-Simmons
Tyler Brunnemann, RHP, Sr., Hardin-Simmons
Ray Gutierrez, RHP, So., Sul Ross State
Corey Howie, RHP, Jr., Howard Payne
Sean Kistler, RHP, Sr., Texas Lutheran
Austin Rupert, RHP, Sr., Concordia Texas
Chance Ryan, RHP, Sr., Mary Hardin-Baylor
Matt Valley, RHP, Sr., Schreiner
14 To Watch in the East Division
Cole Bagbey, OF, Sr., Louisiana College
Chris Bertram, OF/DH, Jr., LeTourneau
Nick Brill, 2B, Sr., Ozarks
T.J. Martin, 3B, Sr., Texas-Tyler
Josh Perez, 2B, Sr., Mississippi College
Matty Sullivan, OF, So., East Texas Baptist
Jake Wyand, 1B/OF, Sr., Texas-Dallas
Jack Barkley, RHP, Jr., Texas-Tyler
Ian Bryan, RHP, Sr., Ozarks
Kirby Cantalamessa, RHP, Sr., LeTourneau
Derek Dallas, RHP, Sr., Texas-Dallas
Ryan Glover, LHP, Sr., Mississippi College
Zach Tampke, RHP, So., East Texas Baptist
Seth Webster, RHP, Sr., Louisiana College