“For the last five years that I have been here we have played Tuskegee and it has turned into a good rivalry, because we play in the same places, we recruit the same kind of athletes,” Talladega College head coach Will Ramos said. “We have a lot of local people that went to Tuskegee, so it has become a very friendly rivalry.”
“I had a little chat with Dion this week with Tuskegee coming to town,” Ramos said. “He is very excited about playing. He has one of his cousins over there and he played there for one year. He is very excited. He worked excellent this week and he worked very hard on his hitting. He is struggling right now; I also know that Dion is kind of a slow starter to the season kind of guy. He is trying to get going. Last week, he didn’t have a bad weekend, but he didn’t have the weekend that we expect from him. He did work extra this week. He is a little under the weather, but he is excited about playing.”
Last season, the Tornadoes swept the Golden Tigers in the season series 3-0. TC won both of the games early in the season, 6-4 and 5-4. Later in the season, TC went on the road and defeated Tuskegee 12-2.
Former TC Central standout and Tuskegee centerfielder Cameron Duncan said today’s game will be bitter sweet as this marks the last time he will get a chance to play against his cousin TC centerfielder Dion Duncan.
“This is the finale, this is the last time we are going to play each other in our college career,” Cameron Duncan said. “The last two times we came down there, we lost by one run both times and I was very mad.”
Dion Duncan said playing against each other makes their game rise to a higher level.
“It feels different,” he said. “It makes me play better, because you don’t want him to outdo you and he don’t want me to outdo him. “ We are both going out there playing hard. We kind of feed off each other like we’ve always done.”
Cameron said that they try to reframe from talking trash to each other, because their competitive nature in the past has made it take a turn for the worst.
“We don’t talk trash because we are very competitive,” Cameron Duncan said. “We can talk trash and not like each other, so we try to stay away from that. We try to stay cool because when we talk trash it goes from 0-10 and we will try to fight each other. We are very competitive.”
The Tornadoes enter today’s double header on a three game winning streak, which helped the team get back to .500 with a 6-6 record. Dion Duncan has .289 batting average on the season with a home run and he has seven stolen bases. Dion feels he has put a lot of pressure to perform on himself since it is his senior season.
“I feel like I started a little slow,” Dion said. “I guess it was because I have so much pressure on me. It is not like when you are a freshman or sophomore when you can say I always have next year. I think I am putting too much on my shoulders right now trying to be too good instead of just playing.”
Cameron Duncan has gotten off to fast start for the Golden Tigers. The senior has a .500 batting average through four games.
“I’m glad that I am kind of fast, he said. I can put them on the ground and get on base. I have been getting walked a lot this year. I have been hitting the ball alright.”
Both players have step lofty goals for their senior season. Last season, Talladega College won 34 games, but this season they are looking to increase their wins and win the N.A.I.A National championship.
“I want the ring, Dion said. “Everybody else is saying that they will be satisfied by just being ranked and going to the tournament, but I want the ring.”
Tuskegee will try to finish what they started last season, as they were three outs away from winning the S.I.A.C. title. This year, the Golden Tigers have all their players back from last season, so Cameron is confident in his team’s chances.
“Last year, we were one inning away from winning a championship, so we are trying to win the championship this year,” Cameron said. “Second place is not fun; we are definitely trying to win a championship. We return everybody from our team for the exception of one player. We are trying to win the championship and go to the DII playoffs.”