San Antonio – The Rattlers got extra motivation for this weekend’s South Central Regional Tournament, as three players and their head coach were selected for the 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-Central Regional Team.
The Rattler squad was represented well with Carl O’Neal (Jr., San Antonio) sitting atop the region as the NCBWA’s Pitcher of the Year and was also an All-Region First Team selection. Two Rattler teammates also became his teammates for the All-Region team, as Billy Richard (Jr., Schertz, Texas) was selected First Team and ace Rene Solis’ (So., San Antonio) breakout season was recognized with an All-Region Second Team selection.
The 2012 All-Region selections were reminiscent of last season’s success in which the Rattlers went 47-10 and advanced to the regional tournament, as three Rattlers were also well represented in last season’s selections: pitchers Greg Herbst, Sammy Rivas and Matt Holland.
Currently, the Rattlers are on the same track they were last season, with a 44-8 record. They will begin the regional tournament with an 11 a.m. game against Texas A&M-Kingsville in today’s opening round in Warrensburg, Mo.
As O’Neal’s season continues, his awards keep piling on. O’Neal won the Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week award three times and was recently named the Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-Heartland selection following a season in which he enters regionals with a 12-0 record on the season.
As the Rattlers’ leading man in the lineup, Richard’s knack for pulling down awards remains consistent as well. The starting centerfielder was named the First Team All-Heartland and was also named the Heartland Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player, and he can now tack on an All-Region First Team selection to his recognitions after leading the Heartland in runs scored with 59 runs scored.
Earning his way into the starting pitcher rotation this year, Solis performed as one of the top pitchers in the conference and the region with a 1.50 ERA on the season. His fresh arm was honored with an All-Heartland First Team and All-Heartland Tournament Team selection in addition to today’s announcement about making the All-Region First Team.
Also on the 2012 list was St. Mary’s head coach Charlie Migl, who received the All-Region Coach of the Year selection. Migl was selected as the Heartland Conference Coach of the Year and is no stranger to the All-Region honor. The last time Migl received the coveted award was in 2001, when he led his team to its first and only national championship.
With Migl repeating that award to go along with the other All-Region selections, the odds seem to be stacking in the Rattlers’ favor for continuing to succeed in their extended season.
The No. 2 seeded Rattlers compete in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament Thursday against No. 5 seeded Texas A&M-Kingsville at 11 a.m. at Crane Stadium in Warrensburg, Mo.