By Bailey Rae Poer––
Looking for a homefield advantage this weekend, the Tarleton State University Texans will open Lone Star Conference play at home in the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex against the Cameron University Aggies with the series opener on Friday, followed by a double header Saturday afternoon and the finale on Sunday.
Hoping to continue the team’s custom of success on the home field, Interim Head Coach Brennan Rogers is hopeful as the Texans move into conference play.
“We feel pretty confident with where we are … with the teams in the conference,” said Rogers, “The schedule was set up to play the toughest competition early in order to get us ready for this moment.”
The team faced adversity early in the season with coaching changes, but this is no excuse for the Texans, said Roger, whose expectations for the season are to continue to get better every day.
“For all of us it’s about maturing and becoming what it is we can become, “ he said. “We understand that in this profession it is about winning, but more than that we want these guys to be ready for real life after baseball.”
The Texans experienced a shaky start to the preseason facing several teams Rogers described as tough. These preseason games, however, gave the Texans a chance to play several conference teams that they will face later in the season. The last three series the Texans have played have been against conference teams and resulted in one win, one loss and one split. Rogers believes that this has proved to the players that they have a good chance this season.
The team dynamic has been an interesting one so far this season.
“It has been fun to watch some of the guys step up and become leaders this season,” he said.
Sammy Scarborough, who is the only senior position player on the team this year, has exemplified this. “If you’re in the stands watching, you might not realize he is a leader, but he just does everything the way we ask and the young guys see him on the field doing that every day and look up to it,” said Rogers.
One area Rogers wants to target is improving the team’s focus. “We have to find a way to stay locked in longer,” Rogers said.
The whirlwind of coaching changes has been full of learning experiences for Rogers.
“A lot of the things you already know, but when you are put in that position you have to execute and be the leader. For me it is about being organized and being structured and sticking to our standards,” he explained.
Formerly a player for Arkansas-Fort Smith, Rogers came to Tarleton initially to study under former Coach Bryan Conger and learn his style of coaching which is much more structured than the style that Rogers had played under.
“Fort Smith is extremely laid back,” he said. “They don’t have a high set of standards that you follow where Coach Conger is very strict, you do things right and act right on and off the field.”
Creating a balance between the two styles was a bit of a dilemma in the beginning of the season as Rogers only got to learn under Conger for a semester.
These standards that the team continues to go by are: be on time, compete with energy every single day, bring the truth, and have fun playing the game.
Rogers says he’s proud of the team’s resiliency.
“It would have been really easy for them to just give up after Conger left and the team got off to a slow start,” he said. “We had a practice where we laid it all out on the line and realized that we were going to get through it all and that giving up was not an option.”
“I’m just really proud of these guys that have stepped up through the season,” he said.
Stacked up against Cameron University, the Texans appear to have a good chance this weekend as the Aggies are 9-16 overall and only 4-11 on the road while the Texans are 6-2 at home. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m. Friday.