Regional Time Again
Where the Auburn Tigers are sent and how they do in an NCAA Regional won’t change the fact that this has been a much improved year for Coach Butch Thompson and his staff in their second season on the Plains.
Taking a team that was picked to finish tied for last in the SEC West and winning 16 league games and seven series is very impressive. When you consider that starters Keegan Thompson, Casey Mize and Davis Daniel missed five starts during league action with shortstop Luke Jarvis, right fielder/pitcher Daniel Robert and outfielder Bo Decker all dealing with nagging injuries, it’s better than impressive and borderline remarkable.
This roster isn’t close to the top level teams in the SEC and nothing like what the Tigers will have in the coming seasons with impressive commitments already on board, but what it has shown is that Thompson and assistants Brad Bohannon and Doug Sisson know how to get the job done and what buttons to push.
Could the season have been better? Absolutely. There’s no denying that the sweep by Alabama was the most disappointing part of the season, but it also could have been worse. This team won a ton of close games early and got a walk-off home run to beat South Carolina and win a series from the Gamecocks.
That’s why baseball is a marathon and not a sprin, because you take the good with the bad and the cream usually rises to the top at the end.
With this staff at the helm there are going to be many more good times ahead for the Tigers on the diamond.
Tough Finish For Softball Tigers
Watching Oklahoma celebrate a berth to the Women’s College World Series on Saturday at Jane B. Moore Field two things struck me. First, what the NCAA did by seeding Oklahoma 10th was borderline criminal.
A team that was the defending national champs, 54-9 on the year, and 16-0 in true road games had no business not being a national seed. I had a feeling they were going to match the two teams up if at all possible when the regional pairings came out, but to see it happen shows you that in the end the seeding process is more about potential TV matchups than a true test of the top 16 teams in the country.
The other thing that struck me was watching Kasey Cooper try to hold it together knowing she had played her last game with the Tigers.
Watching her play in high school as both a pitcher and position player, I knew Cooper was going to be good, but never did I expect her to turn into the greatest player in school history by a wide margin.
It just goes to show you the work ethic and drive she possessed, things that showed up on the field and in the classroom.
With the program rolling now there may be someone to come along and break a few of Cooper’s records down the road, but as far as I’m concerned there will never be another one like her.
Big Cat Time
This weekend is the annual Big Cat Weekend on the Plains and as usual it should be a good time and a good group of prospects on hand for the Tigers. One of the guys to pay close attention to is wide receiver Shedrick Jackson out of Hoover High.
While he may be known more for being a relative of Bo Jackson, Shedrick is a really good wide receiver in his own right and would be a good fit in Auburn’s offense because of playing in a similar system at Hoover. A physical player, he's been on my radar since last summer when I watched him in a 7-on-7 camp at Hoover. Seeing him continue to develop physically has only backed up my original thoughts that he'll be a really good wide receiver on the next level.
He’s looking at five schools, but there is no question Auburn will be tough to beat if the Tigers push for a commitment.