“We are very excited about this upcoming season,” Talladega College head coach Will Ramos said. ”We start Friday at Mobile University. I think the kids are excited and I think that we are prepared. We worked very hard this fall in condition and we worked very hard on the fundamentals of the game. We have a lot of seniors and I expect them to step up. We have Viso, Chase; we have the new addition in Drummonds and some other Junior College transfers. I am very confident about this group.”
The last two seasons, the Tornadoes have won 30 and 29 games respectively. Last season, TC made to the NAIA Tournament, but dropped their first two games.
Ramos said if the Tornadoes don’t clinch a berth the NAIA National tournament in Tennessee that their season is a failure.
“Expectation is no less than going to the National Tournament,” the fifth year head coach said. “If we don’t make it there we failed. That is the expectations of me, the administration, the president and down to the players. The goal is to make it to the tournament. At the same time, we know that this is college baseball and anything can happen. I think their goal is 35 wins at the end of the year. That puts us in good position to go the tournament as a top two seed and that is what we want.”
Last summer, Ramos was very excited about his pitching staff and for a good reason. The Tornadoes return their top two pitchers in Viso Gabriel and James Rodriquez. Both of them led the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference in several categories last season. With transfer Ryne Drummonds in the rotation, the Tornadoes have a solid trio of that capable of being dominant every time they take the ball. Ramos is also impressed with the way his team is hitting the ball.
“I feel very comfortable with my pitching staff,” Ramos said. ”I am very happy as you can see giggling. During the summer, I thought pitching was going to be the strongest part of the team and it still is. We have guys with strong arms and we have the numbers. We have 10 or 11 guys that can come in at anytime and that is pretty good. Hitting has come a long way and I am excited about the hitting too. I don’t think we will surprise anybody, because they know the type of team that we are. I think we are going to represent Talladega College and the community in the right way.”
Sylacauga native Drummonds will take the ball on opening day on Friday.
“Last year, at school I was the No. 3, so I didn’t get to go out on a Friday night to make a start, Drummond said. “The junior college [Jefferson Davis] I was the No. 1 and got to do it, so it is going to bring back memories. I am excited about it.”
Reigning GCAC Player of the Year and preseason NAIA All-American Chase Benfield enters his senior campaign without any stress.
“Every year coming up to this year has been pretty hard on myself going into the season,” Benfield said. “This year, I think I am more relaxed coming back from Canada winning a championship. Being here four years, I have been through it all. It is less stressful on me right now.”