Midland College baseball players Chris Shaw and Thomas Mcllraith will be playing for the Oklahoma Sooners this fall.
The players are finishing out the season at MC and are preparing for their transfer to the University of Oklahoma.
Mcllraith and Shaw signed with the OU last fall. Both players were presented with playing offers from other universities, but after their visit to OU, the players said it was an easy decision.
Mcllraith and Shaw visited the campus together in October of 2013, prior to making their decision.
Mcllraith and Shaw watched the OU baseball team practice, hung out with the players, and learned more of what the OU baseball program had to offer.
“I love what they are doing with the baseball program,” Mcllraith said. “I really enjoyed the weekend I got to spend with them.”
“I chose OU because it is a great place to go. It has an atmosphere that is bred for excellence,” said Shaw, who is originally from Canada.
Their time spent interacting with the current OU baseball players increased their excitement.
During their visit, the MC players became impressed with the new OU coaches.
“They have brought in a couple of new coaches who are looking to make a positive impact on the program,” Shaw said.
Both players are excited to see how the new coaches will benefit the Sooners baseball program.
“The new coach was focused on a national championship, and that’s what it’s all about,” Mcllraith said.
The players are anticipating the future competition between OU and other teams in the Big 12 conference.
Playing at the Division I level will bring in competitors like the University of Texas, Kansas State University and OU’s top rival, Oklahoma State University.
“The OU baseball program has had a lot of success in the past. We hope to help the team maintain that success,” Shaw said.
Mcllraith and Shaw are both in their second year of Chaps baseball.
Mcllraith will continue to play pitcher at OU, and Shaw will continue playing catcher.
Both players are planning to make the best of their baseball season at MC.
Both Shaw and Mcllraith said they intend on working as hard as possible to help bring the Chaps to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado on May 25.
The Midland College Chaps baseball team has gotten off to a good start this season as the team started their year going 5-3. The season started off with Midland facing Weatherford in a three-game series over two days on February 7-8 . MC took the first two games with an easy 6-1 victory and a high scoring 12-9 win. The Chaps fell behind in the sixth inning in the last game of the series and ended up losing 12-7.
A week later, on Valentine’s Day, the Chaps baseball team bounced back from their loss to Weatherford and swept McLennan in a quick two game series. MC had the upper hand in both games winning 11-5 and 7-2.
The next afternoon, MC took on San Jacinto but was unable to keep their hot streak going and fell 5-2. The Chaps stayed close for most of the game. They tied the score in the bottom of the first after San Jacinto quickly produced a run to start the game. San Jacinto scored again in the third inning and the Chaps in the fifth, but San Jacinto put the game away for good in the eighth when they scored two more runs.
On February 19 the Chaps took on Hill College in a double-header. The Chaps took the first game early by scoring three runs in the first inning and staying ahead despite Hill’s efforts. The Chaps won 6-2. The second game of the day didn’t fare as well for the Chaps. Despite scoring three runs in the ninth inning, it wasn’t enough to catch Hill and the Chaps lost 9-5.
The next weekend, Feb. 22-23, the Chaps had a pair of double headers. The team first faced Colby on Saturday, then Seward on Sunday. Colby took the first game of the day with a score of 4-2, but the Chaps raged back in the second game of the day, outscoring Colby 13-2. Sunday’s games were similar to Saturday’s.
The Midland College Chaparrals baseball head coach David Coleman is optimistic about the upcoming season after coming off the teams first Region V tournament win last season and the team’s first appearance at the NJCAA World Series. The season begins against Weatherford at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7 at Christensen Stadium.
“We have a lot of new faces this season,” Coleman said. “But, those new players coming here know that we have a certain expectation.”
Coleman has been with the team since 2006 as the second head coach in the team’s history. Coleman was named conference Coach of the Year in 2013 and Jeremie Fagnan was named Player of the Year. Coleman and his coaching staff hope to continue to build on the success of the previous years.
This season the team will also see renovations done to Christensen Stadium. The stadium, built in the 1950s, has been in need of renovations since being vacated by the Midland Rockhounds in 2002. The renovation budget money is designated to remodel the concession area and press box as well as extend the dugouts.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Coleman said.“It’s absolutely wonderful that these renovations are happening. The players need to see that the community supports them and this is a good way to show them.” Coleman also thanks the MC board of trustees for designating the money for the renovations. The renovations to the stadium are scheduled to start as soon as possible, but no specific completion date has yet been set