After playing their final season at Wiley College, Garrett Barber, Tyler Baumann, Darian Fleming and Dorian Lewis will get their first taste of professional baseball in the Pecos League this summer.
All four players played their entire college career with the Wildcats. Baumann and Fleming are playing with the Bakersfield Train Robbers (Calif.). Lewis and Barber are playing with the White Sands Pupfish. All four athletes are looking forward to continuing their playing careers and playing with their teammate.
“I’ve worked so hard since I was little,” Barber said. “To get an opportunity to play ball at a higher level and also with my ‘brother’ (Lewis), who was my roommate in college is a privilege.”
“I’m very excited,” Fleming said. “Tyler and I have both worked hard every season in college. It’s a blessing to see it pay off.”
Barber played four seasons with the Wildcats. In 101 games, he recorded 38 hits – including nine doubles. Barber scored 28 runs and drove in 20. He stole 13 bases. In the field, he made 71 putouts with 72 assists. Lewis tallied 28 hits in 76 games with six doubles and a triple. He scored 22 runs and drove in 14. At third base, he made 44 putouts with 60 assists. The Pupfish played spring training games on Friday and Saturday. They open the regular season on Thursday.
Baumann turned into a slugger in his last two seasons – hitting 11 of his 12 career home runs. Of his 114 hits, 20 were doubles with nine being triples. He threw out 60 runners attempting steals. Baumann made a total of 613 putouts with 138 assists. He is grateful for how Wiley College coaches Kendrick Biggs and Corben Green helped him get to this point.
“Coach Biggs and Green taught me a lot about the game – the mental side and just being willing to put the work in,” Baumann said.
“It’s a great accomplishment for those guys,” Biggs said. “I feel it shows the caliber of players that we have brought into our program. It shows hard work pays off no matter what school you attend.”
Fleming played most of his college career at first base while spending time in the outfield and on the mound. He will be an outfielder for Bakersfield. In four seasons at Wiley College, Fleming notched 79 hits with 16 doubles, one triple and three home runs. He drove in 40 while scoring 52. He made 480 putouts with 28 assists.
The Train Robbers are the defending Pecos League champions. They played a spring training game on Friday and Monday. They opened the season on Thursday. To help Bakersfield repeat, Baumann and Fleming may have to battle their former teammates in the championship series.
“Tyler and Darian are tough in the field,” Lewis said. “None of us have rings. It’ll be a fight and that’s what we play for.”
Barber, Baumann, Fleming and Lewis are four of several players from Wiley College that have played in the Pecos League. Stedman Smith who played for the Wildcats from 2010-11, competed for Raton in 2013. Brian Hicks (2009-12) played for Raton and Santa Fe in 2013. Erick Magee (2015-16) suited up for Trinidad in 2016 and Santa Fe in 2017.
John Hines, Henry Milton, Dip Orange, John Pardee, Pat Patterson, John Shackleford, Ben Taylor and Willie Ware played in the Negro League. Vernon Hicks played for Ventura in the California League. John Mason played for various minor league teams from 1959-72. Al Jackson is the only Wildcat to play in the Major Leagues. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1959 and 1961, the New York Mets from 1962-65 and 1968-69, the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966-67 and the Cincinnati Reds in 1969.
Wiley College baseball players Markus Garza, Ruben Hancock and Demetrice Rudolph maintained at least a 3.5 grade-point average while playing in the 2019 season, earning recognition as NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athletes.
They were three of the 439 students nationwide which were honored.
Garza played in 22 games with 15 starts. He hit .340, scored five runs and drove in eight. Three of his hits were doubles. Ruben Hancock started 37 games. He led the team with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. He scored 18 runs. This is the second season which Hancock has earned Scholar-Athlete. Rudolph appeared in six games this season. He pitched 7 2/3 innings and struck out six batters.
All three athletes were second team Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars. This season was Hancock’s last as he graduated with his degree in Criminal Justice. Garza and Rudolph are eligible to return for the 2020 season.