“It is a big conference series,” TC head coach Will Ramos said. “Edward Waters has a good program and they are coming out of Florida. We always look forward to playing them, because like I said they have a good baseball program. Last year, we only dropped one game here. Out of six games against Edward Waters last year, we won four and lost two. I think the kids are doing well; we had some good practices this week. The weather is getting warmer and as the weather gets warmer I think my kids play a little better. I expect for them to play well, play tough and defend home tomorrow.”
Since the weather has begun to heat up, so have the Tornadoes. TC (12-8) is on an eight game winning streak. Ramos believes that his team is starting to come together.
“It has a lot to do with play mentality,” Ramos said. “I think we had a very slow start this year. I think at one point we were 4-8 and now we turn around we are 12-8. We are on a winning streak and I think it is because of player commitment. The team is starting to gel together. We had to make some changes to the lineup and we had to make some changes to pitching staff from the bullpen to the starting rotation. It took about a week to see what we have and it is working. The little changes with the lineup and pitching staff are working. I think a lot of it has to do with the weather. The first weeks of the season we didn’t practice at the field, because it was real wet. We had to do some work out of the cages. We didn’t practice too much defense, but now since the weather is warming up we have been able to do all that.”
Ryan Drummond, Ryan Pettus and Jeff Pool are the starting pitchers for this weekend’s series. Ramos believes that the pitchers that are taking the ball this weekend gives them the best chance at winning.
“I think those three guys are going to give me a good chance to win all three games,” he said. ”Everybody is ready in the bullpen. I feel very confident and hopefully all three of them will give me good outing.
Nerio Barretto and Jeff Pool earned Player of the Week honors for their performance last week. Barretto earned NAIA Player of the Week. The junior hit 1.000 for the week with nine hits in nine at-bats, including four doubles, two triples, four RBIs and seven runs scored. Against Bethel University on March 4, Barreto finished the contest 4-for-4 with three doubles and one triple.
On the season, Barreto ranks fifth in the NAIA in doubles (11) and 10th in total bases (54). Barreto has a .478 batting average, which leads TC and he is 18th in the NAIA.
Pool lead the Tornadoes past Bethel, 8-0 last week. Pool struck out six batters, while allowing two hits, walking four batters and no runs.
“That is the first time that it has happened in Talladega history where we had an Offensive Player of the Week nationally,” Ramos said. “I am very happy for Nerio (Barreto). He is a good kid and he has been hitting the ball very well. Jeff Pool, he also got nominated for Pitcher of the Week national and he got Pitcher of the Week in conference. Having two guys nominated national makes me very proud.”
Ramos hopes that the community comes out and supports the Tornadoes like they did last week against Concordia-Selma.
“Hopefully, we can defend home field,” Ramos said. “I want to give a shout out to our crowd. We had 150 people here from the community. I think that’s why we play so good at home is because the community shows up.”
The first pitch of the three game series is set for 2 p.m. today. TC will wrap up the series on Saturday in a double header, which starts at noon.