The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Sports

January 1, 2008

No. 1: Baseball is back at SHSU

Bearkats sweep through Southland Tournament, keep winning at Oxford Regional

For years, baseball was Sam Houston State’s pride and joy.

The Bearkats won 1,127 games and lost only 579 from 1957 to 1994. With four ties thrown in, that’s a winning percentage of .659.

During that lengthy 38-season stretch, SHSU won an NAIA national championship (1963), two Lone Star Conference titles (1981 and ’82), three Gulf Star Conference championships (1985, ’86 and ’87) and one Southland Conference crown (’89).

The Bearkats took nine trips to the NAIA World Series and three visits to the NCAA Division II Regionals. After making the move up to Division I, they earned their way to three NCAA Regionals, winning a combined three games at Austin’s Disch-Falk Field in 1987 and ’96.

Hard times hit the SHSU program after the Bearkats beat Miami in the ’96 regional in Austin. A school that had played 38 straight seasons of .500 or better baseball turned in eight losing records in a row, starting in 1999.

Down on their luck and looking for answers, the Bearkats turned to a veteran college baseball coach for help. In July of 2006, SHSU director of athletics Bobby Williams announced the hiring of Mark Johnson, the longtime Texas A&M; head baseball coach. Johnson had been out of coaching for a year, but charged up and ready, he eagerly accepted the challenge that came with the job at Sam Houston.

No one expected immediate results, but Johnson sure produced some.

The Bearkats went out this spring and won 34 games in the regular season, which was good enough to get them into the Southland Conference Tournament for the first time in seven years.

Then they got hot.

Led offensively by Bobby Verbick, Heath Pugh, Clint Mann and Keith Stein, the Bearkats and pitchers Jacob Howard, Jessie Marshall, Tim Gray, Matt Fry and Luke Prihoda ripped off four wins in a row at the conference tournament in Natchitoches, La.

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  • 4-19-gray.jpg SHSU SOFTBALL — Bearkats get mixed results, split doubleheader against Abilene Christian

    Coming into the doubleheader with Abilene Christian, Sam Houston State had a 3-0 record against the Wildcats.
    Though the wins came in tournaments played earlier in the season, the Bearkats believed they could sweep Friday’s action.
    Sam Houston had to settle with a split after winning the first game 7-1, then losing the night cap 4-2.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • SHSU BASEBALL — Lamar rolls over the Bearkats

    The Bearkats were able to rally from an early offensive barrage from Lamar on Thursday night but couldn’t duplicate that effort Friday as they lost 13-3 in eight innings. The loss sets up a crucial rubber game today at 1 p.m.

    April 18, 2014

  • SHSU MEN'S BASKETBALL — Bearkats sign Jamal Wlliams

    The Sam Houston State men’s basketball team announced the signing of Houston Episcopal High School guard Jamal Williams.

    April 18, 2014

  • RODEO INSIDER: Bearkats ranked No. 1 in NIRA Southern Region

    After winning last weekend’s Hill College Rodeo, Sam Houston State is ranked No. 1 in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Southern Region men’s team title race.
    Sam Houston has earned 3,620.5 points and No. 2 ranked Hill has 3,573.83.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18-sabrina.jpg HUNTSVILLE SOFTBALL — Lady Hornets go out with a bang

    Even though the season didn’t go exactly the way Huntsville’s softball team planned it, the Lady Hornets ended things on a high note Thursday night against Willis.
    In the season finale, Huntsville took a 3-2 victory over Willis thanks to stellar pitching and timely hitting by senior Sabrina Johnson.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18-allison.jpg Rough day at Alpha Omega Academy

    This softball season has been a learning experience for Alpha Omega Academy.
    With only four returning starters, the Lions are still feeling the growing pains.
    It didn’t help after the Lady Lions got run-ruled by Pasadena First Baptist 15-4.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17-chandler-hits-iron.jpg HUNTSVILLE GOLF — Chandler Phillips wins third straight Region III championship

    The back-to-back defending champion left no doubt as to who is the top golfer in Class 4A’s Region III.
    Huntsville junior Chandler Phillips went into the final round of the regional tournament Wednesday in fourth place and three shots back of the lead, then turned in a 2-under-par 69 performance, capped by a birdie on the 18th hole to win the regional individual medalist title for a third year in a row. By doing so, he clinched his third straight berth to the UIL Golf State Tournament.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-17-Courtney-putts-18.jpg HUNTSVILLE GOLF — Lady Hornets punch ticket to UIL Golf State Tournament

    The Lady Hornets finished just like they expected and will be moving onto the state golf tournament after placing third at the Class 4A Region III tournament on Wednesday at River Ridge Golf Club.
    Huntsville held a 14-shot lead over fourth-place Barbers Hill going into the final round and barring an epic collapse, the Lady Hornets were set to cruise onto state tournament.
    Yet it was still about playing to the highest of their capabilities in pursuit of a second straight state tournament appearance.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-16-amy-roberts.jpg LADY DOGS SOFTBALL — Sweet send-off

    There could not have been a better way to send off the New Waverly seniors than posting a 10-0 run-rule victory against Anderson-Shiro on Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-16-azar.jpg BEARKAT BASEBALL — Winning streak ends in 5-2 loss to Houston

    Through much of Tuesday’s nonconference clash, the Bearkats were able to match everything 14th-ranked Houston threw at them.
    That is until the final innings when the Cougars scored three runs and Sam Houston State couldn’t counter and lost 5-2.
    As a result, the Bearkats’ six-game winning streak came to an end as well as their three-game streak in midweek games.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

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