By Louie Avery
Texas A&M University-Texarkana held its third annual Moonlight Madness Sunday at George Dobson Field.
“This is our first fall practice, where we invite our fans to come out and meet the coaches and players,” said head coach Steve Jones. “I’m really just expecting parents, faculty, staff and students.”
Jon Stavinoho, who played for Jones at New Mexico Highlands is one of three new assistant coaches. Stavinoho will be the Eagles’ position and infield coach. Carson Schneider pitched for the University of New Mexico, and will be Texas A&M-Texarkana’s pitching coach. Kelly Morton, a longtime friend of Jones is getting back into baseball and moving from Seattle, Wash.
Coaches greet 49 candidates for Eagles’ roster
Twenty-three pitchers were among the 49 players that greeted the coaches for the first practice. Two players can pitch and play a position. Six players started at one point or another last season.
Bobby Kramer from Grand Prairie, Texas, is one of the returning players. Kramer had Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2017 spring season. Jonathan Boucher did catch last spring. Infielders Zach Boehler, Kolton Perfect and George Gugino are also back. Chase Beebe has been moved to the outfield. Record-setting Cole Beckham, a junior, is also back.
Beckham, a former Genoa Central star, played in a record 56 games last spring, and also holds the career record having played in 105 games. His .366 career batting average, 61 runs scored in 2017 and 116 over the past two seasons are records. He has 127 hits during his two seasons with the Eagles, and was hit by a pitch a record 16 times last spring.
Kramer holds team’s batting average record
Four school records belong to Kramer despite him missing last season. His .434 batting average in 2016 was a season record. He hit 23 doubles that year, with a .522 on base percentage and .691 slugging average.
“I’m expecting Beckham and Kramer to have great seasons,” Jones said. “This is a very important year for Beckham, who I believe could be drafted with a good season.
“If we can stay healthy we should be better this spring. I think we brought in some good arms. They had great numbers at their junior colleges.”
The Eagles are scheduled to scrimmage Paris Junior College Oct. 4 at George Dobson. Fall practice will end at the end of that month when Jones splits his squad for a seven-game series.
“After that we’ll set our roster at thirty-two to thirty-five players,” Jones said. “We’ll probably red-shirt seven to ten players. Others will quit, or be cut.”