Bennett Laurence had an easy time deciding where he wanted to play baseball this summer.

He could either go to Minnesota or come to Victoria where he was born and where his grandparents reside.

“I was looking for a summer team, and there was a league up in Minnesota I was looking at,” Laurence said. “That sounded like a lot of games and a long ways away.”

Laurence and his father, Weldon, who played football under Alan Weddell at Victoria High, originally considered playing for the Texarkana Twins before learning about the Victoria Generals.

They spoke to Mike Yokum, and the Generals vice president and general manager was happy to welcome Laurence to the team.

“He reached out to us to come down here and play,” said Generals head coach Michael Oros. “Obviously with his pedigree, having played high school ball in Dallas and the University of Oklahoma, it was a no-brainer for us.”

Laurence walked on at Oklahoma last season after an outstanding high school career at Rockwall. He also played in the Connie Mack World Series during summer ball and hit a home run.

Laurence participated in fall ball for the Sooners before redshirting last season.

“A year off is weird,” he said. “It’s the first time since middle school, whenever I was hurt. But a year off is weird. I still practiced and did all the day-to-day stuff, but no games was a little different for me.

“It’s been an adjustment for sure. I’m trying to get back into it, but it’s hard. I’m glad I have this opportunity, and I can use these at-bats and this experience with the TCL here and take whatever I learned back to Oklahoma in the fall.”

Oros has tried to get Laurence as many at-bats as possible while making sure he gets playing time in the outfield.

“This is basically his first taste of college baseball when you redshirt your freshman year,” Oros said. “You have scrimmages and intrasquads and things like that, but nothing really matches up to a game-type situation. He’s been great for us, and I think by the time he leaves here, he’ll have all the bats he needs for his freshman year.”

Oros has been impressed by what he’s seen from Laurence in the field and at the plate.

“He’s very athletic,” Oros said. “You don’t go to a Big 12 school unless you’re athletic. He’s got a nice little compact swing.”

Laurence is thankful for the experience and happy to spend the summer surrounded by his family.

“The first 15 games, I was seeing the ball really well, and then I had a couple of days off and I started struggling,” he said. “Baseball is a game of failure. It’s how you take the failure. It’s an awesome game, and that’s why I love it. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to work through it and here to get better, so that’s all I can ask for.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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