Patriot softball, baseball create winning tradition

By Maya Golden - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV)--They are still considered the news kids on the block but UT Tyler's baseball and softball teams are history makers.

"After starting from zero like all the teams did here at UT Tyler, I think we built a pretty strong tradition quick with quality players coming in," baseball coach and athletic director James Vilade said.

The Patriot baseball team started in 2003. In 2004, the softball program started. Since then the baseball team has won four ASC East Division titles. Softball has garnered number one national rankings the past two seasons.

"Everybody wants to come play for a winner," softball coach Mike Reed said, "and we had early success and we kind of built off of that."

UT Tyler became a full NCAA Division III member two years ago. That allowed the teams to compete in the postseason.

After winning conference titles before and playing spectator during the playoffs, the Patriots are taking advantage of their new opportunity.

"We want to make sure it's in our hands," infield Chad Daleiden said. "No one else is going to decide for us."

"The expectations are always high here," Coach Reed said. "So, we're always thinking conference tournaments and regional tournaments and national championships."

Patriot players say becoming the best has been about having the best.

"We have top notch facilities and coach (Vilade) always finds a way to provide us with the best equipment," Daleiden said. "I mean you feel good, you look good, you play good. That's what it is."

The Patriot baseball team will play Texas Lutheran this Friday in the championship round of the ASC tournament. The game is at 3 p.m. in Clinton, Mississippi.

The softball team will play Howard Payne in the first round, Thursday at 6 p.m. at Trinity View Park in Irving.

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