Memorial graduate won't run from baseball

University of Houston-Victoria's Sean Thomas steals second base as Alvin Community College's Blake Marshall looks on during a scrimmage between the two teams Tuesday at Riverside Stadium.
  • UHV Baseball Season Opener

    vs. Northwood University, doubleheader

    3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, Riverside Stadium

The old baseball adage about keeping your eye on the ball has new meaning for Sean Thomas.

Thomas was attempting to bunt in the University of Houston-Victoria's fifth game last season when the ball came off his bat and struck him under the right eye.

Thomas suffered a broken orbital bone that sidelined him for a majority of his redshirt freshman season.

"You know it's scary," Thomas said. "It's scary. That made me see you could really get hurt playing in this game."

Thomas returned in April primarily as a pinch runner, stealing seven bases in nine attempts.

He's back this season hoping to earn a spot in the Jaguars' everyday lineup.

"Whenever a player sustains that type of injury you always look at their reaction," said UHV coach Terry Puhl during the Jaguars' scrimmage against Alvin Community College on Tuesday at Riverside Stadium. "He has really worked very hard over the summer and he's made himself a better player and maybe we'll get a chance to utilize him more than as a designated runner."

Puhl gave Thomas a spot on the roster primarily because of his running ability. Thomas didn't play baseball at Memorial, concentrating on football and basketball.

"He's come a long ways from last year, but he had a long ways to go," Puhl said. "I had him here initially to do a lot of designated running and he was forced into a playing position got hurt and came back. He's got a lot of tenacity."

Thomas never lost his love for baseball and decided to give the sport another try while attending Victoria College.

"I've been playing baseball since I was 7," Thomas said. "In high school I kind of gave it up. My freshman year of college I came out here and went to VC and played a little bit and I found I still had it and I gave it a shot again."

Puhl is looking at Thomas in the outfield because of his speed, but has also had him playing second base. Thomas played some at third base against Alvin.

"He wanted me to play outfield, but I love the infield," Thomas said. "He told me early on last year give second base a try. That's what I've been doing. I spent all summer at the position trying to perfect my game. Hopefully, I can go on from here and play second base. I think I have a shot."

Thomas' biggest challenge over the summer was getting ready to face live pitching, with memories of last season still fresh on his mind.

"It's all part of the game," Thomas said. "Injuries happen and you've just got to fight back through it and that was my mentality. Just shake it off and get back into it."

LONG DAY OF BASEBALL

Puhl wanted to get a look at his infielders and he was not disappointed.

" I saw a few things I need to work on such as how they throw the ball," Puhl said. "I liked the way they moved to the ball. I was very pleased with what I saw on the field defensively. I thought our catchers threw the ball real well."

Puhl was also impressed by the way his pitchers threw the ball.

"Pitching-wise I was very happy," Puhl said. "We've got some good young arms."

The Jaguars have a month of fall practice remaining and the scrimmage will aid in Puhl's decision-making process.

"It was a good day," Puhl said. "It helped me to figure out where am I at here. So I'm happy."

AREA CONNECTION

Alvin's roster included Bay City's Chance Leissner and Jacob Lara, and El Campo's Chris Quinn.