Talladega College twice defeated Concordia College (Selma) at home to start its 2016 baseball season yesterday. Talladega won the first game 9-3 then finished off the Hornets in game two, 15-2.
Talladega (2-0), the No. 8th ranked team in Black College Nines’ “small school” division Top 10 preseason poll looks for a third straight Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Championship this season.
Throughout the tenure of Tornadoes head coach Wilberto Ramos, Talladega has put some outstanding teams on the field, especially in the last five years. So it’s significant to say that the makeup of the 2016 team could have what it takes to be another Ramos standout ballclub even in a rebuilding year.
One big offensive contributor from last year who is back this season is Jean Marmol (.324 in 55 games, 58 hits, 4 home runs, 44 runs batted in and a .514 slugging percentage). Johnny Garcia (.329) and Anthony Rodriguez ( 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 11 runs batted in) are two other returning upperclassmen who will be counted on this year.
One concern is the pitching rotation. But that concern might be eased with the addition of hard throwing Julian Christopher Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia, Avondie Little, 6′-3″ Julian Fitts and Brayan Marquez from Patillas, Puerto Rico. Whatever roles they are used, they’re going to be a key pieces to the puzzle making an immediate impact.
Talladega has a tough schedule. According to coach Ramos, “that’s the way we like it. We just feel the better opponents we play, the better we will be down the road”. It’s a huge bonus, when you can get a team to really mesh during the season, as Ramos has proven time after time. That’s precisely what’s expected of Talladega baseball.
Black College Nines, ranked Talladega No. 8 in its preseason top 10 poll even in a rebuilding year, but don’t be surprised to see them move higher towards the end of the season.