By RYAN HERSHEY
Amarillo College is gearing up for its long-awaited return to intercollegiate baseball as part of the anticipated revival of AC Badger Sports.
Brandon Rains, the college’s new head baseball coach, has been hard at work building this new team from the ground up. “As of right now we have 30 guys that we have committed or signed,” Rains said. “We’ll probably have about 40ish players coming out for the fall.”
According to Rains, the inaugural season will kick off in the fall of 2022 with 28 scrimmage games, followed by 56 regular season games in the spring of 2023.
In the meantime, Rains said he and Amarillo College employees are working tirelessly to finish filling the roster, designing uniforms and coordinating with Hodgetown on scheduling games. “Amarillo College has their certain trademarks that they want to use for the uniforms, so we’re working together with them to get those going, but they’re going to be pretty slick,” Rains said. “The biggest obstacle is working in conjunction with Hodgetown, which is the minor league facility that we’re going to be playing our games in and their season will be running concurrently with ours.”
According to Rains, the best part of the development process has been getting to talk to the students that he scouts for the roster and seeing their excitement grow for not only their first semester of college, but also their first season with a new team.
“I am looking forward to playing under the lights at Hodgetown and playing against some great competition in our conference,” Will Franklin, future AC student and Badger first baseman, said.
Rains has found players like Will Franklin among others from local high schools in Amarillo, but has also scouted players from all over Texas, such as Dallas and Houston.
Austin Page, a future AC student and Badger catcher from DFW, said he believes that his biggest obstacle will be the distance from family. “It’s only a five-hour drive from Southlake to Amarillo, but it’s going to be weird for me not having my parents there with me, and it’s just going to have to be something I get used to,” Page said.
Despite the nervousness he feels about leaving home for college, Page said he looks forward to the upcoming season of Badger baseball. “I am extremely excited to be a Badger and doing what I can to best help the team,” Page said