Sod Squad open collegiate season with a W against Brazos Valley


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Amarillo Sod Squad shortstop Thomas Greene steals second base in the bottom of the second inning during the Sod Squads Texas Collegiate League game against Brazos Valley on Friday night at Hodgetown. [Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]

Compiled by Jaycee Adams

The Amarillo Sod Squad’s season opener started on a high-note with a 5-4 victory over the Brazos City Bombers on Friday night at Hodgetown.

After an immensely successful first season in the Texas Collegiate League last summer, Amarillo Sod Poodles general manager Tony Ensor decided to bring back the Sod Squad for fans to experience college athletes from across the country to showcase their skills again this summer.

Sod Squad manager Rocket Wheeler, who has been managing in the minor leagues since 1985, was impressed with the atmosphere Hodgetown had to offer.

“We got a win, and a fireworks show after,” Wheeler said. “We had a great crowd that was into the ballgame the entire night. This stadium is everything Tony said it was, and the fans stepped up.”

Amarillo (1-0 overall) took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning thanks to timely hits, sharp base running, and crucial errors by the Bombers.

The Sod Squad stole three bases in the inning that helped plate the three runs.

“We are going to aggressive on the bases,” Wheeler said. “We are going to take chances and run when we can.”

The Bombers answered tying the contest at 3-3 in the middle innings until Amarillo took control once again with heads up baserunning from Cody Akers. Akers hustled down the line to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth after a wild pitch to insure the win for the Sod Squad.

Consistent pitching also proved to be a key to Amarillo’s success. Wheeler had a plan in place for pitchers by committee that was able to work out.

“I gave everybody two innings,” Wheeler said. “They all threw good at one point. We’re still feeling each other out.”

CJ Horn, of Bethune-Cookman, and teammate Olasin, from Sierra College were both 2-for-4 on the night for Amarillo.

The series concludes with Brazos Valley at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.

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