Even when the season is over, the Brazos Valley Bombers find a way to keep winning.
Two stalwarts of the Bombers pitching staff picked up awards for their performance this season, the Texas Collegiate League announced on Friday. Starting pitcher Casey Whitmer nabbed one of the three most prestigious honors, as he was named the TCL Freshman of the Year. Reliever Tyler Davis was the lone Brazos Valley representative on the TCL All-League Team.
Whitmer, a freshman at Florida State who is transferring to Texas for the fall, was dominant much of the season before being shut down for precautionary reasons in mid-July. Despite missing the final two weeks of the season, Whitmer still led the league with 51 strikeouts against just 18 walks in 46.2 innings. He led the Bombers staff with a 1.54 ERA and held opposing batters to a miniscule .163 batting average, allowing only 27 hits on the season. On June 26, Whitmer struck out 14 batters, one short of the league record at the time, in seven innings of two-hit baseball. For his efforts, he was named TCL Pitcher of the Week and was later named starting pitcher for the Speaker Division in the TCL All-Star Game.
While Whitmer captained the Bombers starting rotation, it was Davis who carried the weight in the bullpen. The McNeese State freshman led the TCL with 21 appearances, all in relief, and finished tied for second with six saves. Davis allowed just six earned runs all season in posting a 1.72 ERA; in fact, it wasn’t until July 1, in his tenth appearance of the summer, that Davis surrendered his first earned run. He struck out 31 in 31.1 innings, allowing ten walks and 27 hits. Opposing batters managed a meager .224 average against Davis. Like Whitmer, Davis and his trademark eye-black represented the Bombers in TCL All-Star Game.
The awards wrap up a successful inaugural season for Brazos Valley. Three different Bombers won weekly honors: Whitmer and Clint Helms each were named Pitcher of the Week once, and Joseph Towns earned the first league hardware as TCL Player of the Week in Week Two of the summer. First baseman Will Basom picked up the Player of the Month award for June as well. Six Bombers – Basom, Davis, Towns, Whitmer, Keith Stein, and Mark McGonigle – represented the Speaker Division in the TCL All-Star Game. Helms also turned in one of the most memorable performances in league history on July 10, authoring the TCL’s first-ever no-hitter against the Coppell Copperheads.
The Bombers finished with a record of 23-20, good for second place in the Speaker Division, two and a half games behind Coppell. With that, Brazos Valley earned a spot in the playoffs, taking on the Copperheads in the Division Series. Coppell prevailed, two games to none, ending the Bombers season at Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark last Tuesday.
The Bombers are members of the nine-team Texas Collegiate League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate circuits. Teams like the Bombers bring minor league baseball-style entertainment to communities throughout the country, giving some of the best college players a chance to further their careers in wood bat leagues in front of Major League scouts. The Bombers 48-game inaugural season begins in early June and runs through the beginning of August, followed by the TCL playoffs and a championship series. Tickets for the 2008 season will go on sale soon. More information is available by calling the Bombers ticket office at (979) 779-PLAY, visiting the Bombers office in Bryan, or logging on to the Bombers’ official web site at www.bvbombers.com.