Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 preview: Voorhees

This kicks off the 2015 season previews for college/junior college baseball programs in South Carolina. I've asked for responses from every school. I'll run all I receive. Some days, I may run more than one. I'll publicize all on Twitter (@palmettobase) and Facebook (

Justin Thomas is beginning his first season as head coach at Voorhees College. Here are his responses to the preview survey.

PSB: After what you saw in fall workouts, what are your team's prospects for the 2015 season?

JT: I believe our team has a better understanding of the game of baseball. Our team baseball IQ has improved vastly. Our team is anxious to get on the field and play, but more importantly they are ready mentally and physically. We will take our lumps as the season goes on, but I am more than confident we will win some games and surprise a lot of people.

PSB: What are your biggest areas of concern entering the 2015 season?

JT: My largest area of concern is the lack of bodies in general, not a specific position. It will be hard to make it through a 40-game schedule with 14 players, but that was out of my control and the predicament I inherited when I took the position. I can only worry about things I can control and that’s 40 games with these 14 young men.

PSB: In what areas does your team appear to be improved from the 2014 season?

JT: I was not here in 2014, but I can speak from August 2014 until present day. Our team’s greatest improvement has been mentally. Not only our baseball IQ, but our level of responsibility and discipline. We still have a lot of work to do, but we have come a mighty long way. We are now holding our selves responsible and they are starting to answer to the standard I have set for them. In the beginning it seemed as if the standard I had set for them was too high, or that they were stuck in their ways. Now things are starting to change. If a program is going to change it has to start internally and follow suit from the top and work down. That is what is beginning to take place.

PSB: Based on fall workouts, which returnees from 2014 (including redshirts) look best prepared to play a bigger role in 2015?

JT: Infielder Justin Watts, Outfielder/Catcher/ Roberto Face, and Infielder/Pitcher Marvin Mouzon.

Roberto has worked hard each and every day since day one and that is no exaggeration. Whether it be extra cage work, catching bullpens, or field maintenance, he’s been there and most importantly he hasn’t complained one time since I met him. His passion and desire is evident through his work ethic.

Justin has an opportunity to be an unsung hero on our team as long as he stays within himself. He’s small in stature, but his heart and passion for the game runs deep. His defensive game has improved vastly each month since August. Where he may get himself in trouble is when he tries to do too much at the plate. He’s slowly adopting the concept of staying short through his swing and letting his hands work while focusing on driving the ball up the middle. If he puts it all together he can be our everyday second baseman.

Marvin is a senior that has a lot of talent, but even as a senior it is raw. He has a smooth swing with good pop, but can get long often trying to drive the ball out of the park. When he lets his hands do the work he’ll be more consistent which is the name of the game.; As for on the mound he gas good stuff from a three-quarters arm slot. Any issue that he has will be between the ears as his frustration grows fairly easy. All three of these young men have been great and I’m blessed to have them as well as everyone else on our team.I am excited for them this spring.

PSB: Based on fall workouts, which newcomers are most likely to contend for major roles in 2015?

JT: Outfielder Seth Eakin, Infielder/Pitcher Chris Zurcher. Infielder/Pitcher Tyler Rosado, Outfielder/Pitcher Javier Vizcarrondo

These young men joined our team Jan 2015 and have hit the ground running. In simple team activities such as pre-game I/O, it is evident how they make our team better. During our weightlifting and bullpen sessions they’ve done a great job with jumping in and following suit. The reason I am most excited for these men is that at one point they had a point in life that there was no baseball, and now baseball is back in their lives. If you love the game it’ll love you back and I believe these four men will reap the benefits of that and as a team we all will.

PSB: Has there been some big off-the-field news from your program since last season? If so, what?

JT: New Head Coach – Justin Thomas.

(Here's the Voorhees release on Thomas' hiring): Thomas

Next: USC Salkehatchie

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