Marcos Dominguez is entering his second season as Head Coach of the Talladega College Tornados in Alabama. In his first season, the Tornados had a record of 36-24, and made an Opening Round appearance. Dominguez was voted Small School Coach of the Year by Black College Nines.
Dominguez attended the Ferreira Baseball Academy in Santiago, Dominican Republic. He played at Ranger College in Texas, and was recruited by Will Ramos to play at Talladega. After graduation, Dominguez stayed on at Talladega as an Assistant Coach, then took the Head Coaching job when Ramos was hired by the University of the Virgin Islands.
Bob Broughton, courtesyrunner.com: Talladega’s baseball program started in 2009, right? You started having winning records in 2011. What do you think the reasons are for the program’s success?
Marcos Dominguez: The program’s success came from the hard work of the baseball players. They always want to be successful.
BB: You pitched for the Tornados for two seasons, had eight wins and 85 strikeouts. What was the highlight of your playing career?
MD: My first win against U. of Mobile. Why? Before that, I had five no-decisions.
BB: Even in 2014, when you arrived at Talladega, they had a large number of Latino players. What makes Talladega attractive to them, yourself included?
MD: The head coach was a Latino and we are a family here at Talladega. The reason is the Latinos talk to each other. That was how I got here. I have a friend that was playing here and he talked to me about it. If the head coach is a Latino, all the Latino players are going to feel more comfortable.
BB: You stayed on at Talladega as an assistant coach, then Coach Will Ramos went to the University of the Virgin Islands, and you moved into the head coaching job. Do you know if that made you the youngest head coach in college baseball?
MD: Well, I think so. I really don’t know, but most of the coaches have said that.
BB: Anyway, you had a good season: 36-24, wins over Faulkner and Tennessee Wesleyan, and made the Opening Round. Now, how does it look for next season?
MD: Well, looking good for next season. Most of the players are returning, so everything is going to get better, God willing.
BB: Let’s talk about who you’ve got coming back. Your ace, Kyle Chavez, is gone, but it looks like you’ve got a lot of young guys.
BB: DH Broderick Johnson.
MD: A Junior transfer from Wallace CC (AL). He is a game player, has the love to win, and good leadership qualities. Loves to compete, also is one of my best hitters.
BB: IF Wilkin Louis.
MD: An upcoming Sophomore from the Dominican Republic. A really good hitter with a lot of speed. He can pitch, too, but he had arm problems this year, so I decided to let him focus on hitting.
BB: 1B Emilio Martinez.
MD: A transfer for Ranger College in Texas. Good hitter, great defense, loves the game, and is one of the leaders on the team.
BB: P Bryan Marquez.
MD: He’s from Puerto Rico, and a really good pitcher. This year, he was my best bullpen pitcher. He did really good this year because he was in his spot.
BB: P Daniel Castillo.
MD: He’s from Colombia. A really good pitcher, high 80’s, low 90’s with good control. If he get better on his off pitches, he will be one of the best pitchers in the NAIA .
BB: And what new guys do you have coming in that you think will get a lot of playing time this year?
MD: CF Julian Lopez from Venezuela. Played at Labette CC (KS). He was here last year, but never got cleared by the NAIA. LHP David Concepcion from the Dominican Republic, played at ASA College in Miami. RHP Rafael Almonte, a Freshman from New Jersey.
BB: You played some games last Fall in Puerto Rico. You won all four of them, but other than that, how was the trip?
MD: The trip to PR was really good. The boys had fun. There was good competition and good facilities.
BB: Are you going there again this Fall?
BB: Anything else interesting about this year’s schedule?
MD: Well, it’s the same schedule but stronger.
BB: Are you getting another shot at Georgia Gwinnett? If so, are they coming to Talladega?
MD: We are playing a three game series with them at their place.
BB: Where is the support for your team coming from?
MD: We get some alumni and community support, but most of the money comes from our own fund-raising.
BB: Tell us a bit about Talladega College. What is it known for, and what are its academic strengths?
MD: Talladega is a Historically Black College (HBCU). It’s really good academically.
BB: When you’re talking to potential recruits, what do you say to them to convince them to go to Talladega?
MD: Well, that is the really hard part. I have to be in recruit mode to do it.
Bob Broughton is a freelance writer whose blog, Courtesy Runner provides independent coverage of NAIA baseball.