Six Brazos Valley Bombers have been selected to play in the Brookshire’s-McCormick Texas Collegiate League All-Star Game, the league announced today. Pitcher Casey Whitmer and third baseman Joseph Towns were chosen to start for the Tris Speaker Division All-Star team in the annual battle with the Rogers Hornsby Division stars. Will Basom (first base), Keith Stein (outfield), Mark McGonigle (designated hitter) and Tyler Davis (relief pitcher) were also selected as reserves for the team.
The TCL All-Star Game, which pits the All-Stars from the Speaker Division against those from the Hornsby Division, will take place on Monday, July 9 at Lupton Stadium at Texas Christian University. The game will begin at 7:00 pm, and it will be preceded by a home run derby at 6:00 pm. TCL’s midsummer classic will be televised live on FSN-Southwest.
Whitmer has been arguably the league’s top pitcher to date. In six appearances, five of them starts, he has a 1-1 record and a 1.76 ERA. He leads the league with 30.2 innings pitched and has surrendered just 18 hits, with opposing batters hitting a miniscule .166 against him. His most remarkable statistic, though, is his league-leading 44 strikeouts; not only is he averaging an eye-popping 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings, but no other pitcher in league has struck out more than 25 batters. In his June 26 start against the division-leading Coppell Copperheads, Whitmer struck out 14 in seven innings of two-hit ball, falling one short of the TCL regular season record for whiffs in a game.
Towns earned the All-Star nod just a few weeks after winning the team’s first individual league honor. The UT-Tyler product was named TCL Player of the Week for June 11-17 after hitting a torrid .529 with two home runs and eight RBI during the stretch. For the season, Towns is batting .310, second on the team among regulars, and his two homers are tied for the team lead and second in the league. He is second on the club and third in the league in hits, and he leads the Bombers with ten RBI.
Basom made his way onto the team with steady, dependable hitting. With 20 hits he leads the TCL, and his .345 batting average is best on the Bombers and among the league leaders. He also tops the league with six doubles. Not only is Basom producing, but he is also making opposing pitchers work; he has struck out just four times in 58 at-bats, an impressive rate of 14.5 at-bats per strikeout. His eighth-inning run on June 14 against the Mineral Wells Steam capped a Bombers comeback and proved to be the game-winner.
Stein and McGonigle have both been key additions to the Bombers lineup after finishing out their respective seasons in the NCAA playoffs. Stein, who had a breakout season at Sam Houston State, has hit .289 since taking over the center field position with Brazos Valley. His three stolen bases are tied for second on the team. McGonigle’s bat has been equally important since he joined the team from the University of New Orleans. He is batting .298 with 17 hits, both second on the team. He leads the squad with eleven runs scored and he’s second with five doubles. The Houston native has also displayed a cannon arm from the outfield, posting a pair of assists.
Davis has been as dependable as anyone in the bullpen this season. He has appeared in ten of the Bombers 17 games, leading the league in appearances. Davis is 1-0 with one save and a 1.69 ERA. In fact, it wasn’t until yesterday, his tenth appearance of the season, that Davis gave up an earned run. In 16.0 innings, the McNeese State product has struck out 15 batters.
The Bombers go on the road Monday for a critical doubleheader against the division-leading Coppell Copperheads, then take on Duncanville Tuesday in another important divisional game.
The team will be back to celebrate America on July 4 at Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark. The Bombers will take on the Wichita Falls Roughnecks in a special mid-week afternoon game beginning at 3:05 pm.
The Bombers will go back on the road to finish out the week, followed by a four-day break for the TCL All-Star Game. The team will return home on July 12 for Thirsty Thursday, July 13 for Fireworks Friday, and July 14 for Bombers T-shirt Giveaway Night.