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Memorial grad resumes his baseball odyssey

Aug. 15, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.

Daniel Tunchez Jr. put his baseball career on hold to pursue basketball. He picked it back up at Richfield College and as a reliever for the Generals this year.

Now that the summer is over, Daniel Tunchez Jr. has a decision to make: where is he going to continue his baseball career.

A year ago, that might have been a rhetorical question. His blazing fastball has opened up opportunities for him, the latest of which was a roster spot on the Victoria Generals this summer.

"This experience has been great because I was out of the game for two years," Tunchez said. "Coming back, playing last (spring), and then coming down here playing in my hometown was a great experience. I enjoyed it."

Tunchez attended Victoria College for a little while after graduating from Memorial in 2008, and played basketball for the Pirates. After a two-year absence from baseball he returned to the game this spring, and enrolled Mesquite-based Eastfield College. His performance there led to a chance to play summer baseball in the Texas Collegiate League.

At Eastfield, the hard-throwing right-hander, whose fastball has been clocked in the low 90s, had 29 strikeouts in 19 innings.

In 12 appearances for the Generals, Tunchez has a 3-2 record with a 3.95 ERA. Until his relief appearance against East Texas on Tuesday night in Kilgore - where he walked six and allowed a run - Tunchez was scoreless in his last four outings.

Earlier this summer ,Generals manager Chris Clemons called Tunchez' pitches "electric," but added the 22-year-old had a lot to learn.

Monday night, after the Generals last home game of the summer, a 5-3 win in Game 1 of the TCL championship series, Tunchez said he has applied some of those lessons.

Whether it's being smarter on the mound, figuring out how to approach batters, spot his pitches, or other minute elements to pitching, Tunchez said he had to relearn those after spending two years away from the game.

"I was a guy who threw hard and was just throwing the ball," Tunchez said. "Being around (Clemons) and these guys, who have done it for a while, with me taking that absence, I learned how to pitch again."

He figures to take those lessons to another junior college next spring. For now, Tunchez is weighing between Howard College and a few others before taking the next step in his improbable baseball journey.

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