Bridge City uses team concept to take control of district race
Bridge City Baseball at its best
At the beginning of this season, unlike in years past, the Bridge City Cardinals were not considered the team to beat in 21-3A due to the departure of several key factors from last years team. Most media types had Silsbee as the top team to beat with the Cardinals picked to be runner up. The biggest question concerning this years team was like a line from an old country song “who’s gonna fill their shoes?” Losing players like Hayden Guidry, Bryce Sampere, Preston Pittman and Nick Portacci to graduation was certainly a concern, unless you knew the guys who had been patiently waiting for their chance to play. Last years JV squad went 21-5 with no losses to any 3A teams. They were very talented to say the least and more than ready to take their turn with the big squad.
In a recent conversation with team leader Hunter Uzzle I found out more about the team concept that prevails with this years squad. “Last year while watching the College World Series we all saw the guys on the Mississippi State bench and how they were so involved in the game, they called their group the “Bench Mob” and they were awesome” said Uzzle. “Those guys knew their role and were an important part of getting that team to the championship, that’s what we have this year, a bunch of guys who don’t get much credit from the media but are the backbone of this team. We have one of the best defensive and fundamental teams around and that’s without any ego’s, everybody comes to the park and goes to work doing their particular job. It’s just not fair to those guys that nobody knows who they are, but we sure do, we call them the T.O.G. Squad which stands for “The Other Guys” added Uzzle. After thinking about this statement for few minutes I had to agree with the Senior catcher, this years squad is full of unsung heroes.
“If you look at guys like Blaine Mcelduff and Jonah Watts in the middle at short stop and second base, Kyle Bergeron at third along with Sage Elmore, Blake Pruett and Bryce Carey sharing time at first base and designated hitter those guys are the anchors of our defense and unselfish at the plate. Having Ashton Hunter, Blaine Huff and Trevor Gunn patrolling the outfield with Keaton Langston gives our pitchers the comfort to know its going to take some work to get a ball passed those guys with all that speed.” Last but not least is the real cast of characters, the trio of lefthanded pitchers, Bryson Macfarland, Wayne Currie and Lane Ashworth.
“The lefties do it all, on the field and off, they carry their share of the load and offer up some pretty good dugout entertainment as well” laughed Uzzle. “All of the guys on this years team are unselfish and not worried about individual honors, they just want to win and that’s what it’s all about,” he added.
Evidently this feeling of team first has worked wonders for the group that many considered to be a “weak team” by Bridge City standards. That team featuring the “T.O.G. Squad” has quietly run their district record to 8-0 and overall record to 19-2-1 while being ranked #2 in the state. Not too shabby for a bunch of guys who waited their turn and are now making the most of the moment.
Bridge City clinched at least a share of the district title this year and number 23 for the program after beating Hamshire Fannett 4-2. Bryson McFarland got the win for the Cardinals as Chase Shugart got the save. Bridge City needs 1 more win from their last 3 games to take the outright championship and top seed heading into playoff action. BC takes on Hardin Jefferson Friday at Bridge City at 7 p.m.