DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Baseball season is in full swing and the Wallace Governors are making a statement not only in Alabama, but nationwide.
This week the Govs are ranked 11th in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
“We’re all about each other and it really and truly it starts out here,” said Kade Snell, a sophomore pitcher and first baseman and ACCC Player of the Week. “We work our tail off out here for Coach Ryan and it goes to show when we’re on the field.”
The 17-7 overall Govs began Alabama Community College Conference play last week sweeping Coastal Alabama – South.
Wallace is the only team in the ACCC to open conference play 4-0.
“We’ve got good guys around us,” said Snell. “It’s easy to go up there and play my game when I know I’ve got seven people behind me just doing their job and then Ellis behind the plate just being a dog for me back there.”
All of this success comes under the leadership of first year Head Coach Ryan Ihle.
“He’s a players coach, but he’s hard on us so we want to go out there and do the best for him and for the program,” said Carlos Vasquez, a sophomore shortstop and third baseman.
Ihle was named head coach last summer after serving one year as an assistant.
Ihle replaced Mackey Sasser who led Wallace for 25 successful seasons.
“That was my goal: To not change a whole lot because he had so much success in the past,” said Ihle. “Just add little things that are kind of my little flair.”
Ihle credits older players with making the Govs’ culture strong.
“We’ve got some guys that love to practice, love to play baseball and having those kinds of guys in our organization just kind of sets the tone for the freshmen,” said Ihle.
Players agree that playing for each other and maintaining the Wallace standard is key to their success.
“It means something to play with the ‘W’ on the hat,” said Vasquez.
While the Govs are seeing success so far there is always room for improvement.
Right now the team is focusing on strengthening the whole pitching staff.
“We’re starting to see a little bit of progress with some guys that have struggled early on,” said Ihle. “I think once we get those guys working, then we’ll be really scary to be on the mound.”
The Govs look to stay undefeated in conference in their next matchup against Bishop State.
“We’ve got to continue to practice at a high level, continue to do the little things right and I think we’ll be fine going on into the rest of the season,” said Ihle.
First pitch for the Gov’s first double-header against Bishop State is set for 12 p.m. on Thursday at home.
The Govs will travel to Mobile for the next double-header against the Wildcats on Saturday.
The 11-10 Wildcats opened conference play 3-1 over Enterprise State.