Baseball practice and scrimmages have started in our area. What a beautiful sound it is, the “ping ” of the ball leaving the bat. Coaches are putting their teams together while playing in their first scrimmage.

The 2010 THSBCA preseason polls are out. In 4A, Little Cypress-Mauriceville nor Vidor cracked the top 10 but hopefully that will change. Brenham starts off number one followed by Austin Lake Travis, Pflugerville Hendrickson, Corpus Christi Calallen, Corpus Christi Moody, Fort Worth Arlington Heights, Canyon Randall, Aledo, Rockwall Heath, followed by a tie for tenth with Midlothian and San Marcos.

In 3A, it’s a different story. Two of our Orange County teams will start off in the top 10. Giddings is in the No. 1 spot, and then comes those pesky bulldogs of Jasper, followed by Lubbock Estacado. At the No. 4 spot are the Orangefield Bobcats followed by West, Pleasant Grove and then at No. 7, the Cardinals of Bridge City. Celina, Princeton and Robstown finish out the top 10.

It is nice that Orangefield and Bridge City are getting recognition early but we all know the final poll is what counts. Preseason polls just give us something to talk about. The key is to not worry about the polls and take care of business each week. If you do that, the polls will take care of themselves.

I traveled to Orangefield to watch them have an intra-squad scrimmage. They have the place really looking nice. They added a new back stop, score board and a press box. Things are looking good at Orangefield, not only the place, but the team. It was too cold to play baseball but that did not stop them. The only pitching I got to see was Coach Bennett. His fastball was not too bad but they needed a change after the first inning. They were teeing off on him.

Jacob Felts’ throws to second were fun to watch as he looked like he was in mid-season form. I have never seen a Catcher put on his gear as fast as he does. All you see is him walk into the dugout and then right out fully dressed, like superman coming out of a phone booth. Anything hit to center was quickly sucked up by Jace Statum. He makes it look mighty easy. There were a couple of new ones that looked good, Jacob Brown in the outfield and Luke Johnson in the infield. Austin Scales and Parker James will be a big part of the team also. Overall the team was loose, joking around and having a good time. Orangefield will scrimmage Vidor Saturday and Nederland Tuesday.

 After leaving Orangefield, I ran over to Bridge City. They were working on bunting and signals. If anyone can figure out Coach Landry’s signals, please let me know. He was telling the team while he was doing them and I still could not understand them. But I guess the key is for his players to understand and no one else. They were getting it! I only stayed about 30 minutes but it looks like all business in Bridge City. A lot of good young talent was on the field. Should be a few to step up and help the Cardinals. Mitchel Hubbard should help Hicks and Zoch with the pitching. Evan Boren, Colby Carpenter, Zach Smith, Josh Lemoine and Zach Heinze should help out in the field. Bridge City will scrimmage Barbers Hill Friday and Port Neches Groves Tuesday.

What an atmosphere in West Orange. I took in a practice and they were getting after it. They were working on everything from fielding bunts and ground balls, to bunting, hit-and-runs, squeezes and small ball with great detail. I talked with Coach Riojas for a couple of minutes and he had me wanting to put on a uniform. The players were wearing a shirt with “TEAM ME” on the back of it. Riojas explained it means all about the team and not about me.

They also had a sweat shirt that had a state of Texas emblem on it with WO-S inside it. Riojas said, “We are not only making an impression on the area but the whole state.” The team was sharp, focused and had a tremendous attitude. Riojas has his team motivated and if they make a mistake, it will be at full throttle. Lots of talented players on the field but one up and comer to keep an eye on is Jacoy Finney. He had a lot of pop off his bat. Overall the team looks good and they are hungry. The Mustangs will scrimmage Memorial Friday. West Orange’s alumni game will be Feb. 20. It will be a rag ball game. Come meet the 2010 Mustangs and visit with former players. Contacts are Annely Domas 670-5309, Coach Riojas 313-1019 and Tony Dallas at 882-1943.

I watched LC-M practice and got there just in time to hear Coach Griff going over game situations. Let’s talk about the machine. LC-M has one that does it all. I watched them take fly balls, ground balls and even line drives. The best thing about it – it has a remote control. The coach can sit in his chair and work the dog out of his players. I asked Griff about the machine and he said, “It nice to have, and it really benefits our outfield.” Griff still uses a fungo but the machine can do a lot in a hurry. One good thing about it, the coach does not get tired and the players work their butts off too. I would have to say that no one takes more ground or fly balls in the area. Brandon Landry looked as smooth as ever on short stop.

Looks like he going to have some good young players step up and help him. Ryan Waddell (cousin to Shane) was sharp at third, along with Mason Dallas in the outfield. Cody Smith should help out on pitching and Alex (the bambino) Blem, will help out at first and with his bat. Overall the Bears look good. People are wondering what kind of year the Bears are going to have. Looks like LC-M will field another winning team. LC-M will scrimmage West Brook Saturday and Jasper Tuesday.

I took in an indoor practice at Vidor. With this weather that’s about all they can do. Vidor has a pretty nice indoor set up, two nice cages and a gym with turf. I watched them take ground balls, conduct throwing drills and work on foot work. Michael Hester looked sharp with his catching drills and there was a big boy walking around that was impressive. Six foot seven inch, two hundred and seventy pound Matt Peno. He moves well for a big guy and will be a big part of the Pirates this year. Tyler Anseley should also help out in the infield. The Pirates are eager to get outside and start playing some real baseball. Vidor will scrimmage Orangefield Saturday and Silsbee Tuesday.