FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
Having already picked up top ballplayers from around the country, the East Texas Pump Jacks returned to Texas with their three most recent acquisitions. From nearby Panola College, the Pump Jacks have signed sought-after infielder Matt Juengel and towering pitcher Cam Sokalski, as well as highly-touted lefthander David Rollins from San Jacinto College.
Rollins is just a freshman, but he has been on the baseball radar for several years now. After all, a lefty who compliments a low-90’s fastball with a solid curve ball and changeup is going to attract attention from big league organizations. Last summer, after completing his senior season at First Baptist Academy in Dallas, the Los Angeles Dodgers tabbed Rollins in the 19th round of the draft. The two sides were unable to come to terms, and although he had initially committed to Missouri, Rollins shifted gears and began his college career at San Jac.
Rollins joined a Gators program steeped in history, with Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte among its famous alumni. Rollins has more than held his own, going 7-3 this season with a 3.47 ERA through the end of the regular season. He has held opponents to a miniscule .173 average, allowing just 35 hits in 57 innings, while striking out 62. His performance has helped San Jac capture the Region XIV South regular season title with a 24-3 league mark, 39-9 overall.
On April 16, Rollins was named NJCAA National Pitcher of the Week following a dominating performance against Galveston College. In the nightcap of a doubleheader, he pitched a complete game, allowing only two hits and striking out ten over seven innings.
Rollins spent three seasons as part of the powerhouse Carthage High School program before attending First Baptist to close out his prep career. As a senior, he was named all-state after going 10-2 with three saves and a 1.69 ERA, striking out 103 batters in 66 innings. For good measure, he also batted .609 with 21 RBI. He helped lead the Saintsmen to a state runner-up finish in his only year at First Baptist. He was also named all-state, district pitcher of the year, and all-East Texas Player of the Year as a junior at Carthage.
Juengel is also a freshman, but his success at the plate may rival that of Rollins on the mound. He has been the most devastating hitter for the Ponies, batting .414 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI to earn all-conference honors. Although he stands 6’1” and tips the scales at barely 160 pounds, Juengel ranks among the national leaders in both homers and RBI. He also leads Panola in batting, homers, RBI, hits (77), total bases (144), and slugging percentage (.774). It should come as no surprise that he has been the focus of a recruiting battle, which should culminate shortly with a commitment from a top baseball program.
A Houston native, Juengel starred at Clear Brook High School, where he batted .367 during a three-year varsity career. He was selected all-district as a junior and senior, and as a sophomore was the district’s Newcomer of the Year. Prior to his senior campaign, he was tabbed all-Greater Houston, and ESPN’s Rise Magazine recognized Juengel following that senior season.
The lone sophomore among the trio, Sokalski is a product of Panola’s pipeline to a non-traditional baseball hotbed: British Columbia, in western Canada. One of four B.C. products and five Canadians on the Ponies roster, Sokalski has nevertheless made himself at home in Texas. He is 6-2 on the season with a 3.64 ERA in 14 appearances, ten of them starts. He’s held opposing hitters to a .206 average, allowing 54 hits in 59.1 innings, posting 43 strikeouts.
Sokalski pitched briefly in 2006 and 2007 at Allan Hancock College along the California coast. The 6’5”, 210 pound righthander prepped at North Delta Senior High School in Delta, British Columbia.
The Pump Jacks’ newest trio gives East Texas 21 players introduced for the coming season. They join Kyle Frasard from Texas Wesleyan; Greg Fontenot and Patrick Holloway of Louisiana-Lafayette; Stephen Tromblee from Centenary; the Artichokes’ T.J. Geith, Brett Nicholas, Ryan Oesterle, and Mike Petello; Joey Castleman, Daniel Gonzalez, Justin Howard, and Ben Woodchick from New Mexico; Rice pitchers Abel Gonzales, Mark Haynes, and Matt Reckling; Maryland’s A.J. Casario and Ian Schwalenberg; and returning hurler Chad Sherman out of Texas A&M.
Free Season Tickets: That’s right, free! With players this season coming to East Texas from across the country, the team is actively searching for host families. 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.