The Crowder Roughriders' baseball program has a fine tradition of getting nearly all their players signed on with a four-year school.
You can add three players to that list after the early signing period: sophomore pitcher Ross Carver inked with Dallas Baptist, sophomore pitcher Colten Weber with Oral Roberts, and sophomore infielder Jorden Hussein with Arkansas-Little Rock, all three schools at the NCAA Division I level.
Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said a few words before each player signed on the dotted line.
"It's kind of a metaphorical deal that we're still in our work week," Lallemand said. "Now that our work week is done, we celebrate the individuals that have made their accomplishments. That's why we do this on a Friday real quick.
"One of the biggest things for a coach in junior college, especially for me, is when a guy finds a fit and all three of these guys found a fit. Obviously, the other 19-20 (sophomore) guys we have will find their fit as we go through this process.
"This is a special connection for this group. One of them going to play for a guy that was in my wedding, a very close personal friend of mine. Next, Jordan going to play for two of the greatest guys in college baseball and a former assistant of mine. Then, Colten going to one of the greatest coaching staffs in the country. Proud of you three guys."
Carver worked as the No. 3 starter his freshman season, behind double aces Aaron Ashby and Zach Jackson, who are now in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and at Arkansas State, respectively.
Carver posted a 5-3 overall record in 13 appearances and 11 starts with a 4.89 ERA and 76 strikeouts and 32 walks over 57 innings of work. Carver ranked third on the team in victories behind the 11 wins each for Ashby and Jackson.
The Dallas Baptist Patriots were 42-21 overall and 16-5 Missouri Valley Conference last season, and lost a 4-3 game to Arkansas in the Fayetteville Regional. Dallas Baptist earned victories against Oral Roberts and Southern Mississippi to stay alive.
Carver's pitching coach at Dallas Baptist will be Josh Hopper, Lallemand's former college teammate and personal friend. Hopper served 10 seasons as pitching coach at UAB before heading to Dallas Baptist.
"I think when I got there, it was just the atmosphere that I experienced," Carver said. "I bonded with some of the guys when I was there. I was there for the whole day. I just went through their practice and I liked what they were going for and what their values were as a team. That's what impressed me.
"For sure, I think it will improve my work ethic. I already have a high work ethic, but now I can focus on our season this spring and getting things done the way we should."
Hussein worked behind a talented group of infielders during his freshman season and we can expect to see more of Hussein in the upcoming 2019 season.
The Little Rock Trojans finished 28-28 overall and 15-14 Sun Belt Conference last season, and several former Crowder players are with Sun Belt schools, especially Arkansas State. Little Rock assistant Noah Sanders worked on the Crowder staff in 2012 as the hitting instructor and helped with catchers and recruiting.
"As soon as I got there, I knew it was a place for me," Hussein said. "Family-oriented, good coaches and facilities.
"Wanted to do it (signing) early, so I could be done for the spring and not worry about anything except for winning."
Weber made 12 appearances and three starts during his freshman season and posted a 2-2 record with one save and a 6.57 ERA. He struck out 32 and walked 22 in 24 2/3 innings of work.
Oral Roberts (based in Tulsa) finished 38-20 overall and 24-6 Summit Conference last season, and the Golden Eagles' 2019 roster includes former Crowder players Colton Larkins and Adam Scoggins, a pair of left-handed arms from the bullpen.
"When I went there, I loved the campus," Weber said. "They have a beautiful campus. I loved the atmosphere. Their coaches and players were great. I thought it would be the best fit for me to continue my baseball career and I'm happy I made the decision.
"It was one of those things I was curious about, to see where stuff would play out. To get it out of the way, so I can focus on my last year at Crowder, it's a big deal. I'm happy I got it done."