Arkansas Tech head baseball coach Dave Dawson and head softball coach Gidget Pambianchi updated Green and Gold Club members about their teams' 2010 seasons during the group's spring luncheon meeting at Western Sizzlin of Russellville on Monday.
Dawson (photographed, top right) and the Wonder Boys are coming off a three-game sweep of Christian Brothers. Tech out-scored the Buccaneers 46-11 during the series to maintain a stronghold on second place in the Gulf South Conference West Division.
"Going into the year our guys worked really hard," said Dawson. "We had a lot of tough decisions at the end of fall practice, but we cut it down to 30 or 35 guys and that group has really gelled together."
The Wonder Boys are 25-11 overall and 7-1 in GSC play. The 25 wins marks Tech's highest baseball win total since 2005, and there is still a month to go in the regular season.
With five more wins, the 2010 Wonder Boys would post just the eighth 30-win season in Tech baseball history and the first such campaign since 2004.
One of the Wonder Boys' keys to success has been an aggressive approach on the base paths. Tech leads the GSC with 113 stolen bases. No other GSC team has stolen more than 69 bases in 2010.
"Our speed makes us go," said Dawson. "We have multiple guys who can steal bases. It puts a lot of pressure on the opposing pitchers. It leads to more fast balls up in the zone, and those get hit really hard."
The Wonder Boys will host nationally-ranked Southern Arkansas (27-3, 8-0) this weekend in a battle for first place in the GSC West.
Tech and SAU will play a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Friday and a single game at 2 p.m. Saturday. Radio station KCAB 980 AM and www.athletics.atu.edu will have the live play-by-play description from Tech Field.
Pambianchi (photographed, bottom right), who led the Golden Suns softball program to back-to-back GSC West Division titles in 2008 and 2009, spoke to the Green and Gold members about how important the final month of the regular season will be for her team.
The Suns are 18-16 overall, 8-8 in GSC play and tied for third place in the GSC West Division. With 14 games remaining in the regular season, anything is possible --- even a third straight GSC West title.
"We are excited about the next few weeks," said Pambianchi. "If you would've told me at the beginning of the season that we would be 8-8 in conference right now and we'd still have a chance to win the division, I wouldn't have believed it. Our girls have worked so hard to be where we are at."
Tech will return to softball action April 8-11 in the GSC Crossover Tournament at Decatur, Ala. After that, the Suns will conclude their regular season with four-game home series against Delta State (April 17-18) and Arkansas-Monticello (April 24-25).
"This has traditionally been the time of year when our program has really come alive," said Pambianchi. "We're not as talented because of some injuries, but we have some kids we weren't expecting to play very much this year who are really stepping up. We need everyone to come out to our home games and pump these girls up."
Green and Gold Club members also heard from assistant men's basketball coach Doug Karleskint and head women's basketball coach Dave Wilbers. They wrapped up the recently completed basketball season, which saw both the Wonder Boys and the Golden Suns win regular season and postseason GSC titles.
The two Tech basketball teams had a combined record of 61-5 in 2009-10, best in all of NCAA Division II. The Suns went on to win the NCAA Division II South Region title for the first time since 1999.
Karleskint spoke on behalf of Tech head men's basketball coach Mark Downey, who was returning home from coaching in the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II All-Star game in Springfield, Mass.
Scott Preston, offensive coordinator for the Arkansas Tech football program, spoke to the club about the Link It Up four-person golf scramble that is scheduled for April 16 at Russellville Country Club. The entry fee of $100 per person will benefit the Wonder Boys football program, which finished 9-3 and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2009.
For more information about the Link It Up golf outing, call (479) 968-0351.
The Green and Gold Club is the official booster club of Tech Athletics. It is open to any fan of the Wonder Boys and the Golden Suns.
For information about joining the Green and Gold Club in 2010-11, call (479) 968-0337.