July 1, 2012
With the NCAA allowing coaches to work with their players during the summer teams throughout the country stand to benefit once practice begins in October.
That’s just one positive for new College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik, who will also take his team on a tour of Canada in early August.
For a team that has to make up for the loss of leading scorer Antwaine Wiggins in addition to becoming more familiar with a new head coach, the ten extra practices and three exhibitions could prove to be invaluable.
“This is a great opportunity for our new staff and team to develop chemistry prior to the season,” said Wojcik in a statement released by the school. “Our players have been here all summer working, training, practicing and going to school.
“This trip will allow us to be in a good place heading into the fall semester with the majority of the team back in addition to our four newcomers on the squad.”
While Wiggins moves on guard Andrew Lawrence (13.0 ppg, 5.5 apg) and forward Trent Wiedeman (12.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) return, and sophomore Adjehi Baru (7.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) has the ability to be an All-SoCon player down the line.
The trip also allows the four newcomers, which includes juco transfer Anthony Thomas (who has the ability to slide right in for Wiggins), to get in some valuable game time with their new teammates.
With this extra time and the players returning to campus, College of Charleston is more than capable of using their August trip as a springboard into contentions in the Southern Conference in 2012-13.
July 1, 2012
A tall, lanky lefty approaches the plate at TD Ameritrade Park. In front of him, his father stands ready, with a bucket of baseballs at his side and a protective cage in front of him.
Mild applause wafts in as his name is called. Most in the crowd don't recognize it. They will soon.
The first pitch comes, and the hitter's eyes lock on the target. His surfer-like blond hair is mostly hidden behind a hat with a maroon “C” stamped on the front. On his jersey, the word “Cougars” spreads across his chest in all caps.
He leans back, steps forward and swings.
Daniel Aldrich, a College of Charleston sophomore who hit 22 home runs and was named national freshman of the year in 2011, sent 12 balls over the right-field wall en route to winning the 2011 College Home Run Derby.
One season and 11 more home runs later, he's back to do it again.
The 2012 College Home Run Derby on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at TD Ameritrade Park will feature the reigning champ alongside seven other long ball hopefuls. Aldrich, however, has something his competition doesn't: Experience.
After taking home the crown last year, he knows that a player can't approach the Derby as he would a regular game. A few things need to change — starting with the swing.
“In a game, you're not really trying to hit home runs. It's something that just happens. In a home run derby, it's a little bit of a swing change,” Aldrich said. “You're trying to get a little more air under the ball, so it's more of an uppercut.”
The task is even more daunting in TD Ameritrade Park, a place where home runs go to die … usually on or before the warning track. Time and again, College World Series hitters belted balls into the power alleys, glancing up optimistically as they started their usual trot.
And like a broken record, ball after ball didn't leave the yard. For home run hitters, trying to put on a show at TD Ameritrade is a lot like having a snowball fight in the desert. The setting is not ideal.
Aldrich knows that if he hits it well, however, dimensions won't make a difference.
“It's definitely not a home run park,” Aldrich said. “I was watching this College World Series, and the home runs in the series went down from Rosenblatt dramatically. It's definitely not a hitter's ballpark, but if you hit it right it's still a good pop. You can get it out.”
Aldrich is thrilled to have a chance to defend his title. The crowd and atmosphere, rather than the competition itself, make it worthwhile.
“It was so awesome being part of a crowd like that on that stage,” he said. “It was really fun.
“They called again and asked if I wanted to come and defend it, and I said, ‘Absolutely.' It's a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to doing it again and trying to put on another display.”
Some advice for fans in right field Tuesday night: When the lanky lefty steps to the plate, don't leave your seat. Keep your eyes forward and your gloves ready. Then:
Brace for impact.
Post and Courier
June 29, 2012
College of Charleston slugger Daniel Aldrich will return to Omaha, Neb., next week to defend his title in the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby.
Also competing in the contest, which is 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, is South Carolina’s LB Dantzler. The event will be broadcast via tape delay on WCSC (CBS) at 2 p.m. July 7.
Last season, Aldrich won the title with a dominating performance, hitting 10 home runs in the first two rounds before defeating Georgia Southern’s Victor Roache, 4-2, in the final round.
A native of Mount Pleasant, Aldrich finished the 2012 season on a tear, hitting .372 in the last 23 regular season games with eight home runs and 25 RBIs. He was named the SoCon Player of the Week twice. He finished the season with 11 home runs and a team-high 46 RBIs, batting .287 and slugging .574.
Dantzler hit .262 this season with 10 homers and 48 RBIs for the College World Series runner-ups.
Joining Aldrich and Dantzler for this year’s competition will be Virginia Tech’s Tyler Horan (15 homers), Georgia Tech’s Daniel Palka (12), Virginia’s Derek Fisher (7), Tennessee Tech’s Zach Stephens (18), LSU’s Mason Katz (13) and Fresno State’s Aaron Judge (4).
June 29, 2012
Spartanburg native Heath Hembree, a pitcher in the San Francisco Giants organization, has been named to the Triple-A all-star game.
Hembree went to Broome High School, Spartanburg Methodist College and then the College of Charleston. He was picked in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and is considered a closer of the future.
The Pacific Coast League all-stars will face the International League all-stars on July 11 at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y.
Hembree, 23, is 13-for-15 in save chances with a 1-1 record and a 4.13 ERA. He is holding opponents to a .188 batting average in his first season at the triple-A level. Hembree led the California League with 21 saves in 2011, ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Giants' organization by MLB.com and rated as having the best fastball among all San Francisco minor leaguers by Baseball America.
Hembree is the second pitcher from Broome High to be named all-star this week. Kevin Pucetas, who played at Limestone, on Thursday made the Double-A game for the Eastern League. Pucetas is 6-2 with a 2.63 ERA for the Harrison Senators team in the Washington Nationals organization. That game will be played July 11 in Reading, Pa.
Post and Courier
June 28, 2012
With an apparent deadline looming, College of Charleston officials remain tight-lipped on the school’s future in the Southern Conference.
The conference reportedly has given three of its member schools until next week to declare their intentions of staying in the SoCon or leaving for the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Times-News of Burlington, N.C, reported that the SoCon has given a tentative deadline of July 4 for the College of Charleston, Appalachian State and Davidson.
“In keeping with our policy surrounding conference membership, it would be inappropriate for us to make a public comment at this time,” Jason Yaman, Southern Conference assistant commissioner for media relations, said in an email Wednesday afternoon.
College of Charleston director of athletic communications Marlene Navor deferred all questions to Joe Hull, the school’s athletic director. Hull did not return calls or text messages Wednesday.
The CAA is losing three members to larger conferences — Virginia Commonwealth to the Atlantic 10 this fall; Georgia State to the Sun Belt and Old Dominion to Conference USA, both in 2013.
Several reports this past weekend had the CAA formally contacting College of Charleston, Appalachian State and Davidson about leaving the SoCon to join the CAA. Several news outlets had Furman and Elon also being contacted by the CAA to gauge their interest. Furman and The Citadel both joined the SoCon in 1936 and are the longest tenured schools in the league. College of Charleston has been a SoCon member since 1998.
The Times-News reported that Davidson and College of Charleston have pushed for Furman and Elon to be included in the CAA’s expansion. The four former SoCon schools would join with UNC Wilmington to form a Southern Division in the CAA.
Travel is a big concern. The footprint of the Colonial Athletic Association extends from UNC Wilmington to Northeastern in Boston. The league recognizes 18 sports, including football.
Appalachian State and Georgia Southern have made no secret about their desire in taking their football programs from FCS (formerly known as Division I-AA) to Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I). The CAA competes at the FCS level.
Should College of Charleston elect to leave the SoCon, the school would have to pay a $600,000 exit fee with less than two years notice or $300,000 with more than two years warning.
Post and Courier
June 27, 2012
College of Charleston junior baseball player Christian Powell has signed a professional contract with the Minnesota Twins and will start playing for the Elizabethton Twins of the Rookie-level Appalachian League.
A native of Greenwood, Powell was drafted by the Twins in the eighth round of this year’s Major League Baseball Draft.
Powell was the Southern Conference pitcher of the year after leading the SoCon with an ERA of 2.69 and record of 9-4. Powell recorded 77 strikeouts against just 29 walks in 16 starts and 93.2 innings pitched. He finishes his career ranked second all-time in starts (44), second in wins (24), sixth in strikeouts (203), and ninth in ERA (4.10) in CofC history.
Powell is the last of the 2012 College of Charleston draft picks to sign, joining Marty Gantt (Rays) and David Peterson (Braves). Seniors Kyle Owings (Diamondbacks) and Josh Renfro (Cardinals) signed professional free agent contracts.