TJC baseball returns with target on their back - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TJC baseball returns with target on their back

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Winning the 2014 JUCO Division III World Series was an unforgettable moment the TJC Apaches are trying to forget.

"I've tried as much as I could to put last year behind us and look to this year," said TJC sophomore infielder Reid Russell.  "It's in the past. That was great last year, now we're looking forward to a new year."

"The schedule is different and the opponents are different," said TJC head coach Doug Wren.  "But the outlook is the same."

The outlook is the same. The team is very different. Just eight players return from last years national championship team.

"We've all shown some leadership on the team," said TJC sophomore infielder Gunnar Quick.  "We all get together and talk about what needs to be done, who we need to get on if they aren't working very hard. It's working pretty well."

"We knew we had to put in twice as much effort as last year if we want to stay on top," said Russell. "It's going to be a long road and we're going to have a target on our back. Everyone wants to beat us. We've got to work a little harder than last year."

The Apaches sophomore class is not satisfied with one national title.

"To get on top for one year is great," said TJC sophomore outfielder Zane Otten.  "But to get on top and stay on top for two consecutive years would mean the world to me."

"I think it would be really easy for them to say well 'We got our national championship ring, I've signed by four year letter of intent, what else is there to do?'" said Wren. "We've tried to dangle that carrot for them."

A carrot that looks pretty good.

"Going back (to the World Series) would be amazing," said Quick.  "Just leaving a legacy here, it's crazy and we're ready for it."

The Apaches open the 2015 season on Friday at Mike Carter Field vs Centenary.

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