A successful season continued to get better for the Crowder baseball team on Friday as two Roughriders signed to continue their careers elsewhere next season.
Sophomore catcher/outfielder Sam May was the first to put pen to paper as the 6'2, 230 pound sophomore from Kingwood, Tex., announced he'll be attending Southern University in Baton Rouge, Miss.
While May will be moving closer to home, teammate Chris Caudle announced he'll be even closer to home, about a two hour drive, he says, while attending the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ark.
A 6'4, 200 pound righty from Greenwood, Ark., Caudle admits the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is in his blood. His mother attended UCA to play basketball and his father played baseball for the Bears. His brother also attended the school, but didn't play a sport, he said.
After pondering an offer from Nicholls State, Caudle said the offer from UCA was too good to pass up. The Bears, meanwhile, will welcome him with open arms. Caudle has shaped himself into the anchor of the Roughrider pitching staff this season as he's currently 9-0 overall with a 1.81 ERA. He's allowed 15 runs (12 earned) on 51 hits in 59 2/3 innings with 41 strikeouts and 10 walks.
It's not hard to see what the Bears are seeing on the mound.
"Chris has been pretty much our number one for two years really when you look back," Crowder coach Travis Lallemand said. "When you needed a win, he's a guy you put on the mound to get a win. It's nice for him to get the opportunity at Central Arkansas. I think that's a place around home that's a comfort zone for him, and I think he'll do really well there."
May, meanwhile, is hitting .269 while splitting time behind the plate and in the outfield this season. He leads the team with four homers and has two doubles and 30 RBIs.
"It's a nice step, obviously," May said. "I'm real excited. I've been working hard for it. I went there for a workout and it was the family feel, kind of like I had here (at Crowder). Coming here out of high school not knowing really what to expect — I knew it was a great program, but they prepared us really well in the fall and instilled in us the never give up, never quit philosophy and that's a big reason why we're having the kind of year we're having now.
"I'm just looking forward to seeing how the rest of this year goes and then getting down to Southern and helping them out."
Lallemand said both players played a vital role in the Rougriders' success the past two seasons.
"With Sam, last weekend he had six RBIs in a game, he's a streaky hitter, but when he gets going he can put up runs in a hurry," Lallemand said. "We made the comment the other day that last year, at times, he carried us offensively. He's starting to do the same thing again this year.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm happy for those guys getting scholarships, but also happy for the location for where they got them — in the area of family that can see them play their last two years."