A homecoming on the diamond with Generals
May 31, 2012 at 5:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
This summer will be a homecoming of sorts for several former Crossroads baseball stars, who will get a chance to tantalize fans this summer as mem bers of the Victoria Generals.
Victoria's TCL franchise is welcoming back to the area eight local players, as well as one from UHV - Chad Kruse - who played for the Generals last year.
"(I'm looking forward to) getting back out there in front of the home town again," said former Memorial and Victoria West pitcher Jordan Pacheco. "All my family and friends that are here, having them out there cheering for me."
The Generals begin a two-game sea son opening road trip on Friday and re turn to Victoria on Sunday for their home opener against Acadiana.
Pacheco will be joined by Memorial alumni Trent Wagner and Jeremy Flo res; St. Joseph will be represented by Blinn's Kevin Daniels and Hayden Vesely.
"I enjoy being in front of the home crowd," Wagner said. "Most of the town knows who I am since I was here last year."
After graduating from West in 2011, Pacheco played at the Texas-San Antonio last season.
He said there was one major transition from playing varsity baseball at West and Memorial to playing for an NCAA Division I program.
"You have to focus on every single pitch," Pacheco said. "You can't really take a pitch off because if you end up taking a pitch off, (bad things will happen)."
Pacheco went 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA, a save and 43 strikeouts.
Although he won only one game, it was memorable as the Roadrunners beat the then-No. 1 Baylor Bears.
"That showed my coach a lot of what I can do," Pacheco said. "After that, he gave me a lot more starts and let me go a lot longer."
Flores is the other former Vipers pitcher to return to Riverside this season.
The Texas A&M-Kingsville lefty made 18 appearances, compiling a 3.32 ERA and struck out 15 batters in 2012.
Flores moved from the bullpen to Kingsville's starting rotation in 2011 and planned to play for the Generals last season, but a shoulder injury ended those plans.
"I wanted to come to a team where you know you can play for a championship, and the coaches are quality guys there," Flores said. "Coming home was one of the main things that helped me make the decision, though."
Wagner was on a Generals team that went 28-31 and missed the playoffs.
Wagner said defense and errors cost the team some games last season and getting back to basics should help the Generals become title contenders again.
Despite struggling at Kingsville in 2011, Wagner comes hit .274 with 35 RBIs and 22 stolen bases for the Generals last year.
Wagner is confident Pacheco and Flores will help the Generals win more games this year.
"I feel like they're in compete control of the game when they get up there," Wagner said. "We know what's going to happen when we're in the lead and one of them comes in. We're in the driver's seat, we're going to cruise to the finish line."
Vesely had some interest from Kansas State last summer, and he took a visit to the Manhattan, Kan., campus before deciding to keep his commitment to Blinn College.