FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
The East Texas Pump Jacks announced today that second baseman Greg Fontenot and outfielder Russell LaFleur have agreed to return to East Texas for the 2010 season. Both players were named to the 2009 TCL All-League team and helped lead the Jacks to a second place finish this summer.
The pair will again play for head coach Ben Taylor, who recently announced his return to the Pump Jacks. Taylor noted that he specifically targeted players like Fontenot and LaFleur for their experience.
“I like having a majority of veteran guys who bring a level of maturity and understanding,” said Taylor, who expects to target sophomores and juniors during recruiting. “Veterans know how to prepare themselves for the daily grind of baseball, which only comes thru experience.”
LaFleur, who joined the Pump Jacks after his sophomore year at Missouri, batted .276 for the Jacks while flashing his trademark speed. The Katy native finished second in the league with 11 stolen bases despite battling a sore back throughout the summer. LaFleur was also among the team leader’s in a variety of offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.375, second on the team), hits (34, third), walks (17, tied for third), and runs (22, fourth).
Next summer will mark LaFleur’s third straight campaign playing for Taylor. In 2008, after batting .250 in limited action as a freshman at Missouri, He spent the summer with the San Louis Obispo (Calif.) Blues, where Taylor was an assistant coach. LaFleur proceeded to bat .323 for a Blues squad that was ranked among the best in the country by PG Crosschecker.
Fontenot was named the TCL’s All-League designated hitter after batting .261 with 11 RBI and 15 runs scored. To fully appreciate Fontenot’s importance to the Jacks, though, one need only examine the team’s success when he was in and out of the lineup. The East Texas offense got off to a hot start with Fontenot batting second in the order, then sputtered when he went down with a mid-season hamstring injury. But Fontenot battled back and returned to the lineup, giving renewed life the Jacks offense at season’s end.
The Duson, La., native had a breakthrough sophomore season at Louisiana-Lafayette in 2009. He led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 70 hits and a .329 average, adding 38 runs, ten doubles, and eight stolen bases. Fontenot was also named Hitter of the Week by both the Sun Belt Conference and the Louisiana Sportswriters after batting .583 for the week in early April.
LaFleur and Fontenot are just the beginning of a Pump Jacks roster that is already taking shape. Taylor has been recruiting since shortly after the 2009 season concluded, and he has secured more than two dozen player commitments already. Players are expected to come from schools already familiar to Jacks fans, like Texas A&M, Rice, Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, and McNeese State. But the Pump Jacks’ success has also attracted players from some new programs, like Texas State, Missouri State, Nebraska, Lamar, and Arkansas, which reached the College World Series in 2009.
Pump Jacks season tickets for the 2010 season will go on sale later today. An “early bird” discount will be offered to both renewing and new season ticket holders. The team will also announce a giveaway promotion tied to the sale of season tickets that will include game-worn and autographed memorabilia. Information on season tickets will be available on the Pump Jacks web site at www.pumpjacksbaseball.com.
To follow all the player news and other off-season developments, log on to the Pump Jacks official web site at www.pumpjacksbaseball.com. Merchandise is also available throughout the off-season at the Pump Jacks office at 1100 Stone Road, Suite 120, in Kilgore, or by phone at (903) 218-GO ET.