Lamar continues to send several players to the professional ranks
BEAUMONT – Led by three players currently at the Major League level, Lamar University has produced several baseball players who are currently playing professionally after finishing their careers with the Cardinals.
Right-handed pitcher Brian Sanches, who was a second round draft pick by Kansas City in the 1999 draft, is currently 4-1 with a 3.54 earned run average with the Florida Marlins. The Nederland High School product has appeared in 32 games for the Marlins in relief, working 53.1 innings and striking out 41.
Fellow Marlin Clay Hensley is in his second season with the club, and sixth at the big league level. Hensley is 1-3 on the year with a 3.09 ERA in 23 appearances. An eighth round selection by the San Francisco Giants in 2002, Hensley is coming off a 7.0 inning start against the Atlanta Braves in which he allowed just three earned runs on five hits.
Randy Williams, who was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 1997 draft, was recently called up to the Major Leagues by the Boston Red Sox. Williams is 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in four games pitched, but was 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and six saves with the Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League (Class AAA) before being called up.
The two newest professional players to come from Lamar are pitchers Blake Ford and Stephen Tromblee who just completed their collegiate careers in May, and are now playing rookie league ball.
Ford, who was named third-team All-Southland Conference in 2011, is 2-3 on the season with the Houston Astros’ Gulf Coast League team. A native of Lufkin, Ford has five saves and a 3.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances. He has struck out 11 and walked only four in 15.0 innings pitched.
Tromblee, who spent just one season at Lamar after transferring from Centenary, is 1-1 on the season with a 4.22 ERA for the Tempe Angles of the Arizona League. A 35th round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels, Tromblee has 11 strikeouts and just two walks in 10.2 innings worked.
Outfielder Collin DeLome is currently playing for the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. DeLome, who was chosen in the fifth round in 2007, is hitting .280 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 24 runs batted in. A 2009 Texas League all-star, DeLome is also slugging .462 on the season.
Matison Smith, who was a 2010 free agent signee by the Astros, is pitching well for Greenville in the Appalachian League. The Nederland product is 2-0 with a pair of saves and a 3.38 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched over 12 games. Smith has an impressive 25 strikeouts to only five walks.
Lamar’s final minor leaguer is right-handed pitcher Jeremiah Sammy of the Casper Ghosts in the Pioneer League, the Rookie-level affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Sammy is 1-1 on the year with a 9.15 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 20.2 innings pitched.
Former Chicago Cub Micah Hoffpauir is still playing professionally, but is now working for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japanese League. Hoffpauir, who played 162 career games for the Cubs over three season, is currently batting .222 with 11 doubles, nine home runs and 23 RBI.
Lamar can also boast of a very successful Minor League manager in former shortstop Mike Sarbaugh. Sarbaugh, who was named the 2010 Minor League Manager of the Year after guiding the Class AAA Columbus Clippers to the International League title, once again has the Clippers playing well. Columbus is currently 67-42 and leading the International League West Division by nine and a half games.