Tornadoes set lofty goals for 2014
by LaVonte Young
Feb 10, 2014 | 1037 views |  0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA- Will Ramos has high expectations for his Talladega College baseball program this season. Last season, the Tornadoes set a school record in wins with 34, but missed the NAIA tournament. This season, the sixth year coach wants his team to take the next step.

“Last year, we won 34 games and obviously we are looking for improvement,” Ramos said. “In my six year here we have improved, so we are looking for 35-40 wins. We hope that puts us in the lower end of the top 25-that is the only way that we can qualify this year and we want to win the conference.”

Ramos has been impressed with what he has seen from his team in the offseason and through six games. The Tornadoes are 2-4 on the season, with both of their wins coming against the University of Mobile last weekend.

“This year’s team looks like it’s going to be good team,” Ramos said. “We have a lot of strengths this year and we have a lot of seniors. A lot of people you see for the last four years like: Kameron (Mizzell), (Dion) Duncan, we still have Luis Benitez and George Santiago. These guys have played a lot of games at this level, so I expect good things from this team.”

With the inclement weather coming through the southeast, Talladega College will have to wait a few days for their 2014 home opener. The Tornadoes were scheduled to take on Concordia-Selma on Tuesday. TC will now play their first game in their friendly confines on Friday against Indiana University Southeast. Last season, the Tornadoes struggled at times on the mound. TC lost their ace pitcher from last season in Ryne Drummonds. Last season, Drummonds struck out 19 batters against Martin Methodist in a 5-4 loss. He averaged nine strike outs per game. Jeff Pool went 7-2 last season with an opponents’ batting average of .272 and will likely be the team’s ace. Talladega native Ryan Pettus also had a solid season with a 5-1 record with an opponents’ batting average of .286.

“We tried to address that during the offseason,” Ramos said. “Obviously, the numbers last year, I think we went through the season with eight pitchers. I think we had a good outcome with 34 wins. This year, we have 12 good arms. We have transfers from Junior Colleges and Universities like: Point Park who was No.2 in the nation. We got a guy from there (Bryan) Lopez. He seems like on the left side and seems like he is going to be a step up for us on the pitching mound. We have some transfers from Martin Methodist; also we have from (Marcos) Dominguez from Texas, so we have some good arms. We still have Jeff Pool and he is going to be a big part of pitching right now. We still have Matt Holland, Ryan Pettus, who we depend on to help us from the bullpen. We are expecting good things from them this year.”

Ramos said he has seen improvement from junior third baseman Austin Drummonds. He believes playing in the offseason really helped him at the plate.

“I thought last year with Austin Drummonds at third base I was ready to get another third baseman and move him to the outfield or pitching,” Ramos said. “This year, he went to Canada and played all summer and his bat came to life. I am very impressed with right now, to me he is one of the most improved player this year. He had a very good weekend hitting at the plate at Faulkner and he had a good weekend with the glove. He is moving extremely well. Kameron he is also looking very tough at the plate. He hit a homerun and he did very well. Hitting wise we are going to be good. We still have Luis Benitez at the three hole with Kameron. We have some new additions, so I am expecting good things from them and (Dion) Duncan.”

TC hosts Indiana University Southeast in their home opener on Friday The first game of the series at noon. The first game of the double header on Saturday will start noon. with the second game scheduled to start at 2 p.m.