University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars outfielder and first baseman David Baker is spending his summer playing with the Victoria Generals, a Texas Collegiate League baseball team.
The TCL is a nonprofessional league that allows the top college players a summer venue to enhance their skills and showcase their abilities. Several former players from the Victoria Generals have been drafted by major league baseball teams.
“Playing for an organization like this is a really big opportunity for me,” Baker said. “There are a lot of players from the larger universities, and it’s good to get experience against that type of competition.”
Baker has played three seasons for the Jaguars. This is his first season with a summer collegiate league, and he’s already made some important contributions. In the Generals’ opening game June 1 against the Texas Tomcats, Baker scored a run and hit a double, helping the team defeat the Tomcats 4-0. The Generals then went on to beat the East Texas Pump Jacks 4-7.
“I’m just happy to contribute any way I can,” Baker said. “I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season. I didn’t know anyone on the team, but they’re all good guys. We’re here to do one thing and that’s play baseball, but off the field, we’re all friends, too.”
Blake Koch, general manager of the Victoria Generals, said after watching Baker play several times for the Jaguars, the UHV student was an obvious choice for the 2010 roster.
“Anyone can see he’s a great player and one of the best in his conference,” Koch said. “He was a natural choice for the Generals and a great way for our team to connect with the community in Victoria and with UHV baseball. We try to support the Jaguars as much as we can since we only play in the summer when they’re not playing.”
The Generals practice and play home games at Riverside Stadium, the same stadium the Jaguars call home. Jaguars head coach Terry Puhl wasn’t surprised when Baker was recruited by the Generals.
“David is a dangerous hitter who can drive the baseball and break a game open,” he said. “When he relaxes, when he’s patient and swings at strikes, David can be a valuable middle-of-the-lineup hitter.”
Baker will graduate from UHV this summer with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, but he still has a year of eligibility left, and he’s not going to waste it. Determined to play another season for UHV, Baker will continue taking classes and pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice. The Victoria resident will wrap up his season with the Generals in August.
“Playing with the Generals will keep me in shape and keep me in that competitive mode,” he said. “That will be an advantage when I return to play for the Jaguars.”
The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 361-570-4350