East Texas Pump Jack’s 2009 Roster Taking Shape

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

With Opening Day less than two and half months away, the East Texas Pump Jacks today announced the first three members of the 2009 roster.

Returning to the Pump Jacks this summer is pitcher Chad Sherman, now a junior at Texas A&M. He will be joined by a pair of juniors from the University of Maryland, outfielder A.J. Casario and pitcher Ian Schwalenberg.

Sherman, who starred for two years at Panola College, started three games for the Pump Jacks last summer before succumbing to a shoulder injury. Though affected by the injury, Sherman registered 13 strikeouts in 13 innings while going 0-1 with a 6.92 ERA.

The Bullard native, who pitched well in fall ball for A&M before he was slowed by several minor ailments, made his first start as an Aggie Tuesday night. Sherman pitched four innings against New Mexico, allowing two runs on six hits, striking out four with no walks.

Prior earned his spot with the defending Big 12 champions as a leader of the Panola pitching staff. As a sophomore, he led the Ponies and finished third in Region XIV with 79 strikeouts, posting a 3.00 ERA and a deceptive 3-6 record. That performance came after a freshman campaign that saw him finish in the region with a 1.90 ERA, earning all-conference honors and an invitation to the Texas-New Mexico Junior College All-Star Game.

The 6’5” Sherman is no stranger to success in the summer, either. Following his freshman season in 2007, he was rated one of the top prospects in the Valley League while pitching for the Staunton Braves. Sherman posted a 5-2 record and 2.47 ERA, finishing first or second on the staff in nearly every pitching category.

In Casario, the Pump Jacks have added a five-tool prospect who has already been drafted once by a major league team – and his performance this season suggests it won’t be the last time, either. He is currently third on the Terrapins with a .328 average, tied for first with three homers, and second with 15 RBI. His 17 runs scored also lead the squad.

But Casario has had success from the beginning at Maryland. The 27th round selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 led the Terps in batting (.331), slugging (.482), triples (three), and stolen bases (14) as a true freshman. He followed that with a .283 average, seven home runs, and 40 RBI as a sophomore. He also showed off his cannon arm by picking up seven outfield assists over his first two college seasons.

Casario has also been busy the last two summers. Following his freshman campaign, he played for the College Park (Md.) Bombers of the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League, where he earned an invitation to the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. A.J. spent last summer with the Sanford (Maine) Mainers of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.

The native of Pine Hill, N.J., first gained notoriety as a prep catcher at Overbrook High School. In his senior season, he earned all-state and all-South Jersey accolades while hitting .561 with 14 homers, 10 doubles, and 49 RBI – in just 22 games. His home run and RBI totals set school records, and he fell two round-trippers short of the South Jersey high school record. He was looked at by several big league organizations as a senior, and with his selection became the second player from Overbrook taken in the MLB draft.

Casario’s teammate at Maryland, Schwalenberg is an imposing figure on the mound at 6’3”, 210 pounds. After making 32 appearances in his first two seasons, he’s made three starts and worked out of the bullpen twice this season. In spite of his hard-luck 0-2 record, Schwalenberg has posted a respectable 4.67 ERA. In 17.1 innings, he has struck out 22 batters against just six walks; his 1.27 strikeouts per inning lead the Terps.

Like his fellow Terrapin, Schwalenberg is no stranger to summer ball. After spending the 2007 summer campaign with the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plain League, Ian made genuine strides last year with the Watertown Wizards in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. A solid member of the Wizards’ rotation, Ian went 2-4 with a 3.72 ERA. He made seven starts for Watertown and led the staff in both strikeouts (35) and innings pitched (48.1).

Ian was recruited by the Terps after a star-studded prep career at Huntingtown High School in southern Maryland. A two-way player who shined equally on the mound and at shortstop, Ian was named the team’s MVP as a junior and its best offensive player as both a sophomore and a senior. He was also selected to the all-conference team three consecutive years.

Beginning Monday, Pump Jacks fans will be able to follow the progress of Sherman, Casario, and Schwalenberg with the team’s weekly update. Jacks fans will continue to enjoy information about all of last year’s players, as well as new additions to the 2009 roster as they’re announced.

With players like Casario, Schwalenberg, and many more coming to East Texas from across the country, the Pump Jacks are actively seeking host families for this summer. Host families enjoy the opportunity to have a potential future major leaguer live with them, forging a bond that lasts a lifetime. As an added bonus, host families receive FREE season tickets for everyone in their household. Click here or contact the Pump Jacks for more information.

The 2009 season is scheduled to begin on Friday, June 5, when the Pump Jacks host the league’s newest team, the Victoria Generals. The 48-game regular season will run through August 8, to be followed by the playoffs and TCL Championship Series. Fans can download a copy of the team’s schedule by clicking here.

Season tickets are currently on sale, with ticket packages starting as low as $105 – and $85 for children and seniors – for all 24 regular season home games. Box seat season tickets are also available, including Lower Box seats, which feature in-your-seat wait service all game long, every game. For more information on Pump Jacks season tickets, click here or contact the Jacks office at (903) 218-GO ET.