Cougar baseball players headed to the next level
     2016-06-10      By Media Report    editor@geringcitizen.com
The Western Nebraska Community College baseball team will be sending four players onto the next level to continue their playing career.

Scottsbluff High graduate Beau Lofink will be heading to Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, while Jack Pauley will be taking his talents to the Division I level at the University of Northern Colorado.

Also committing to four-year schools was No. 1 starting pitcher Bradley Brown, who is headed to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, while Region IX all-conference player Oscar Perez is headed to play at Bellevue University in Omaha.

All four players have enjoyed their time at WNCC and said they have improved their baseball talents.

For Lofink and Perez, they spent two years at WNCC shifting positions. Perez, who lead the team with a .463 batting average, played outfield and catcher from his lead-off position. Lofink, who was a catcher his freshman season, led the team this season as a closer. Lofink finished the season with eight saves and a 4.5 earned run average.

Pauley spent just one season at WNCC, but had a huge offensive year, leading the team with 14 home runs and 57 RBIs, while hitting .380. Brown was one of the team’s main pitchers, finishing with a 5-5 record with 64 strikeouts.

Lofink, who played for the WESTCO American Legion organization, is excited about continuing his baseball playing.

I am really excited to be continuing playing baseball,” Lofink said. “I mean it is a good opportunity for me to go to another school and play a little more.”

Lofink said he will become a full-blown pitcher know, after his strong season on the mound this past season. Lofink said he gained a lot of confidence this season and is looking to continue that success at Adams State.

“I don’t know what they will have me at,” he said. “They talked to me a little bit about possibly being a starting guy, but also being a bullpen guy. I just have to be ready to get my opportunity at both and take advantage of them.”

His saves this season have come at key times as the Cougars earned a spot in the play-in game of the Region IX tournament.

“It was good to get all those saves,” he said. “It was able to build my confidence a lot, which is big with a pitcher. I loved being a closer because I like pressure so it was good transition for me to be in the situation that I was at.”

When Pauley heads to Northern Colorado, the Cougar’s home run hitter will have three years of eligibility. Pauley, who is from Overland Park, Kansas, has always had a dream of playing Division I baseball.

“It has always been a dream of mine [to go Division I],” Pauley said. “Going somewhere I know I will get to play at that level and somewhere where I feel comfortable with the coaches is a huge part. Hopefully I can take advantage of it.”

The biggest highlight for Pauley was all the home runs he hit this season. It came as a surprise since he wasn’t a home run hitter in the past. During the fall season, Pauley had just one-tripper.

“I hit a couple home runs previously, but nothing like 14,” he said. “It was like second in the conference. I will take it. I really did have a goal what I wanted to hit; I only hit one in the fall. So, coming in and hitting 14 was pretty huge.”

Pauley said his one year at WNCC definitely paid dividends to his baseball career.

“My one year here has been huge,” he said. “I have never hit as many home runs as I did this year in my life combined. Just the instruction I got here with everything the coaches did and the work they put us through really paid off as far as home runs and average goes.”

Perez is hoping to carry over his sophomore success at WNCC to Bellevue.

“I feel very excited to be continuing playing because I didn’t know what I was going to do after this year,” Perez said. “Good things happened and I get to go there.”

Perez was a vital cog to the Cougars offense this season. The lead-off hitter not only led the team in hitting, but finished the season with eight doubles, two triples, four home runs, 46 runs scored and 40 walks.

Perez said he wants to contribute to the team in any way he can, whether it is in the field or at the plate.

“I like to play baseball and when I play baseball, I give everything,” he said. “I play as good as I can and play to help the team win.”

And, Perez said, working hard is vital in becoming successful.

“I was a good hitter when I got here, but coach Mike Jones taught me a lot and gave me the confidence and it helped me get even better,” he said. “After two years here I leaned how working is huge. This season I saw the difference of spending two years here and learning in the fall, putting in all the work.”

At Bellevue, he wants to help the team win in any way he can.

“I want to get better at Bellevue and all I want is to help my team win and keep doing my job,” he said. “I don’t care how much I hit. I don’t care about anything as long as I can help my team win and I am happy with that.”

Brown, a left-handed pitcher from Aurora, Colorado, said that he has improved a lot in his two seasons at WNCC.

“I have improved a lot and when I go to UNK, I just want to be able to throw a lot of inning and get a lot better,” Brown said. “I also want to have a little bit of fun while I am at it.”

Media release

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