Excited for a seventh season as editor after learning a few lessons in humility

Jerry Briggs (left) works as the editor of The JB Replay. His wife, Paula, teaches special needs children at Copperfield Elementary in the Judson Independent School District. – Photo special

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The hand with the crooked scar has mostly healed, thanks in large measure to the skill of the surgeon and the nurses and the physical therapist, not to mention the support of my family and the promise of a seventh season writing and editing The JB Replay.

I’ve known for years that I’d need to deal with an issue known as Dupuytren’s contracture.

Basically, it’s a condition that slowly crumples the hands, with fascia thickening around tendons and pulling fingers down and inward, toward the palm. Left untreated, the malady can lead to serious problems. In my case, the doctor recommended surgery. I had my left hand fixed four years ago. My dominant hand — the right — was repaired on June 15.

For the first few weeks I debated whether to say something about my predicament.

I mean, I had to drop coverage of Texas-based teams in the NCAA baseball playoffs after the first weekend of the tournament. Then, in the weeks after the operation, I didn’t really know what to say about whether I could or should try to continue in a writing career that has spanned 46 years.

I mean, it was weird enough trying to do simple things around the house, much less think about how I should go about covering the upcoming college basketball season. Now a little more than eight weeks post-op, I’m feeling pretty strong. The right hand is not all the way back, but it’s on a good trajectory towards normalcy.

The hand no longer folds over the side of the laptop when I try to write a story. Thank goodness.

Overall, I’m feeling much, much more like my old self after swimming regularly in the mornings over the past few weeks. Hey, I’m no Michael Phelps. But I’ve knocked out about 1,500 meters in each of the last two trips to the pool. Now I feel ready to start making trips to the UTSA campus. To say hello to coaches Steve Henson and Karen Aston. To get acquainted with all the new faces on the rosters.

Clearly, most of my enthusiasm stems from just feeling good again.

Additionally, I just feel like I have a better perspective on a lot of things. For instance, I’ve written hundreds of stories over the years about athletes facing health challenges. I’ve always empathized with the athletes who were held back by injuries. Now I know from personal experience what it really feels like for a ball player’s season to be in question.

Moreover, the value of personal relationships has also come into much, much sharper focus. My wife, Paula, bless her heart, pretty much gave up her entire summer looking after me. When she wasn’t around the house, my son Charlie was. To my friends, everyone who called and messaged, you all played a huge role in my recovery.

Finally, for the readers who might have wondered why I didn’t write a thing about the College World Series in June or UTSA’s recent transition to the American Athletic Conference, I want to thank you for your patience. You guys are the reason I continue to run this site. Hands down.

Stanford knocks off Texas A&M, advances to the Super Regionals against Texas

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Working on only two days rest, Quinn Matthews pitched four scoreless innings of relief, and the Stanford Cardinal clinched the title in the NCAA Stanford Regional Monday night, downing the Texas A&M Aggies 7-1.

Braden Montgomery and Malcolm Moore homered to lead the offensive attack.

Additionally, Moore and Saborn Campbell each enjoyed three-hit nights and scored twice for the Cardinal, who had been on the brink of elimination after a loss to A&M two days ago.

Since A&M’s 8-5 victory over Stanford Saturday, the Cardinal won three games in 48 hours.

First, they played an elimination game Sunday afternoon and downed Cal State Fullerton, 6-5. With the victory, they moved into the finals against A&M needing two wins to claim the regional title.

They took the first step in that process Sunday night, beating the Aggies, 13-5, to set up a winner-take-all game on their home field Monday night. The Cardinal won that one, too, using four pitchers to hold A&M to one run on seven hits.

Matthews (9-4) was the winner, allowing five hits but, nevertheless, working out of jams consistently while striking out five. The lefty threw 66 pitches on two days rest after throwing 114 pitches in a start last Friday against San Jose State.

San Antonio’s Nathan Dettmer (1-4) took the loss despite a strong effort in which he struck out eight in six innings. The righthander, a Johnson High School graduate, started and yielded four runs on six hits.

A&M scored its only run in top of the second on a solo home run from freshman Jace LaViollette. It was the 21st homer of the season from the 6-foot-6 outfielder from Katy Tompkins.

Stanford (42-17 on the season) went 4-1 in winning the regional title. The Cardinal is expected to host the best-of-three Super Regional this weekend against the Texas Longhorns (41-20).

The Longhorns advanced after going 3-0 to win the Coral Gables Regional in Florida.

NCAA regionals
How the Texas teams fared

Texas: (41-20) Beat host Miami for the title on Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas Tech: (41-23) Lost to host Florida in the title game Monday in Gainesville, Fla.
TCU: (40-22) Defeated host Arkansas Monday to win the title in Fayetteville, Ark.
Texas A&M: (38-27) Lost to host Stanford in the regional title game at Stanford, Calif.
Dallas Baptist (47-16) Lost to Oral Roberts in the finals Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.
Sam Houston State: (39-25) Eliminated after three games at Baton Rouge, La.

TCU rolls past Arkansas to win the NCAA Fayetteville Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

The TCU Horned Frogs stormed to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional baseball title on Monday with a 12-4 victory over the host Arkansas Razorbacks.

Now it’s on to the Super Regional round of the tournament against the Indiana State Sycamores.

As of 6 p.m. Monday, officials had not announced the game site for the best-of-three, series between TCU (40-22) and Indiana State (45-15).

Kurtis Byrne blasted two home runs and Austin Davis and Tre Richardson hit one apiece as the Frogs won their ninth straight game and completed a 3-0 sweep of their competition in Fayetteville.

San Antonio’s Anthony Silva figured in two of the scoring rallies. In the fourth inning he was hit by a pitch and scored on a two-RBI single by Davis. In the sixth, the TCU freshman from Clark led off with a single to right field and scored the go-ahead run when Davis blasted a two-run homer.

Ben Abelt (3-3) earned the victory by pitching 4 and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The lefthander with a quirky delivery allowed only one hit and two walks. He struck out four.

TCU entered the regional in Fayetteville as the No. 2 seed. On Friday, they downed three-seed Arizona 12-4 behind Brayden Taylor’s four-hit, six-RBI barrage.

On Saturday, the Frogs waited out a weather and ultimately never played, pushing the schedule back a day. Sunday, they poured it on the top-seeded Razorbacks, 20-5, with Richardson hitting three home runs and driving in 11.

The Razorbacks, who entered the NCAA tournament as the 64-team field’s No. 3 overall seed, had to drop down to the losers bracket to beat Santa Clara on Sunday night just to stay alive.

As a result, Arkansas entered play Monday needing two victories to win the regional.

For the Razorbacks, it wasn’t meant to be. Even after hitting back-to-back home runs and taking a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, they couldn’t hold on. The Frogs scored one run in their half of the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and five in the eighth.

The eighth was memorable for the Frogs. Cole Fontenelle ripped a two-run double. Richardson followed with a two-run homer to center. Then Byrne hit one out to right field for his second homer in two innings.

Offensively, TCU is putting it together at the right time, clinching a regional title en route to the team’s sixth double-figure scoring output since May 24.

NCAA regionals
How the Texas teams have fared

Texas: (41-20) Beat host Miami for the title on Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas Tech: (41-23) Lost to host Florida in the title game Monday in Gainesville, Fla.
TCU: (40-22) Defeated host Arkansas Monday to win the title in Fayetteville, Ark.
Texas A&M: (38-26) Scheduled to play at Stanford in the title game Monday night.
Dallas Baptist (47-16) Lost to Oral Roberts in the finals Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.
Sam Houston State: (39-25) Eliminated after three games at Baton Rouge, La.

Florida downs Texas Tech 6-0 and wins the Gainesville Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For the JB Replay

Ryan Slater pitched five shutout innings, BT Riopelle crushed a couple of two-run homers and the host Florida Gators won the NCAA Gainesville Regional title with a 6-0 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Slater allowed three hits and walked two but kept the Red Raiders off balance in key moments and off the scoreboard completely, setting the tone for the Gators, who qualified for the Super Regional round of the playoffs.

Riopelle hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning that boosted the Gators into a 3-0 lead. A few minutes later, he added another two-run shot in a three-run fifth. After Riopelle’s fireworks display, Florida was on top 6-0 and cruising.

NCAA regionals
How the Texas teams have fared

Texas: (41-20) Beat host Miami for the title on Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas Tech: (41-23) Lost to host Florida in the title game Monday in Gainesville, Fla.
TCU: (39-22) Scheduled to meet host Arkansas in the finals at Fayetteville on Monday afternoon.
Texas A&M: (38-26) Scheduled to play in California against host Stanford in the title game Monday night.
Dallas Baptist (47-16) Lost to Oral Roberts in the finals Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.
Sam Houston State: (39-25) Eliminated after three games at Baton Rouge, La.

Texas Tech, TCU and Texas A&M to play for regional titles today

One team from the state of Texas has advanced to the Super Regional round and three others remain in the hunt leading into Monday’s games in the NCAA baseball tournament.

Here are the details:

Gainesville Regional — Texas Tech (2-1 in the regional) plays host Florida (3-1) at 11 a.m. in the championship game. How did Tech get here? Florida beat Tech 7-1 Saturday night to force a deciding game. What’s next? The winner will move on to the Super Regional round against South Carolina.

Fayetteville Regional — Undefeated TCU (2-0 in the regional) and Arkansas (2-1) play at 2 p.m. in the finals. Another game will follow at 8 p.m., if necessary. TCU needs to win one game to claim the title. Arkansas needs to win twice. How did TCU get here? The Frogs beat the Razorbacks 20-5 Saturday to remain undefeated. Later, Razorbacks beat Santa Clara 6-4 to reach the finals. What’s next? The winner will advance to the Super Regional round against Indiana State.

Stanford Regional — Texas A&M (2-1 in the regional) and host Stanford (3-1) play at 8 p.m. in the championship game. How did A&M get here? Stanford downed the Aggies 13-5 Saturday night to force a deciding game. What’s next? The winner will play the Texas Longhorns in the Super Regional round.


The Longhorns completed a 3-0 sweep to the Coral Gables Regional title Saturday afternoon when they downed the Miami Hurricanes, 10-6. Texas has advanced to the Super Regionals. Both the Dallas Baptist Patriots and Sam Houston State Bearkats were eliminated Saturday night. Oral Roberts won the Stillwater Regional title with a 6-5 victory over Dallas Baptist (2-2) in the finals. Oregon State downed Sam Houston State (1-2) in an elimination game at the Baton Rouge Regional.

Eye on S.A.-area talent

Dominic Tamez, a junior at Alabama from San Antonio’s Johnson High School, produced two hits, two runs scored and an RBI on Sunday night as the Crimson Tide shut out Boston College 8-0 to win the Tuscaloosa Regional. Tamez also had two hits and two RBIs in an 11-8 victory over Troy on Saturday night. By winning the Tuscaloosa Regional, Alabama will advance to face national No. 1 seeded Wake Forest in the Super Regional round.

Eye on teams from Texas

Texas: 41-20
Texas Tech: 41-22
TCU: 39-22
Texas A&M: 38-26
Dallas Baptist: 47-16
Sam Houston State: 39-25

Stanford wins 13-5 to deny Texas A&M an NCAA regional title

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

One win away from an NCAA Stanford Regional title, the Texas A&M Aggies started fast, hitting two homers and scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

The Stanford Cardinal out-played them after that, storming to a 13-5 victory on Sunday night and forcing a deciding game on Monday for the regional title.

The winner will play the Texas Longhorns next week in the Super Regional round of the tournament.

Carter Graham kept Stanford in the game early by hitting two doubles that produced five RBIs. Later, Malcolm Moore hit a two-run homer and Tommy Troy hit a grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning for the Cardinal.

Meanwhile, the Stanford bullpen was solid, with relievers Brant Pancer, Braden Montgomery and Nick Dugan holding the Aggies to only one run in the final eight innings.

Dugan was particularly effective in pitching 3 and 2/3 scoreless while striking out six.

The Aggies were led early by Jace LaViolette and Ryan Targac. LaViolette slammed a three-run homer and Targac hit a solo shot to give A&M a 4-2 lead after the first inning.

Brett Minnich also hit a solo homer in the sixth that pulled A&M to within 6-5.

Texas wins Coral Gables Regional with a 10-6 victory over Miami

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Trailing by three runs early, the Texas Longhorns scored nine in the third inning and went on to claim the NCAA Coral Gables Regional title with a 10-6 victory over the Miami Hurricanes.

The Longhorns erupted for nine runs on seven hits in the third. San Antonio’s Jalin Flores capped the outburst with a grand slam over the center field wall. Flores is a UT freshman from Brandeis High School.

Texas won the regional by winning three games in three days at the home of the Hurricanes. On Friday, they downed the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 4-2. On Saturday, they rode the pitching of Lebarron Johnson Jr. to a 4-1 victory over Miami, sending the Hurricanes into the losers bracket.

After downing Louisiana 8-5 on Sunday morning, Miami advanced to the finals, where it would need two victories over Texas to win the title. UT didn’t let that happen even though at times, the pitching was shaky. Starter Tanner Witt gave up an early three-run homer and was lifted after two innings.

In the third, UT went on an extended offensive run. Big hits early in the uprising including an RBI double by Jared Thomas and a two-run single by Peyton Powell. Later, Garret Guillemette stroked a two-run double. At that point, Miami reliever Carlos Lequerica walked two batters to load the bases.

Flores, the next man up, sized up the first pitch from Lequerica and sent it over the wall for his fourth home run of the season. The blow energized the UT dugout and gave the Longhorns a 9-3 lead.

With the lead, Longhorns reliever Charlie Hurley kept the Hurricanes in check until Yohandy Morales smacked a three-run homer in the seventh inning. The blow trimmed UT’s lead to 10-6. Closer Zane Morehouse entered in the seventh to finish out the game, pitching 2 and 2/3 scoreless while striking out seven.

Next week, Texas (41-20) will play in the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament against either longtime rival Texas A&M or national No. 8 seed Stanford. A&M and Stanford were playing late Sunday in the finals of the Stanford Regional. A&M can claim the regional title with one victory. Stanford needs to win twice to claim the title.

Richardson-led TCU romps to a 20-5 victory over national No. 3 seed Arkansas

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Second baseman Tre Richardson hit three home runs, including a couple of grand slams, as the TCU Horned Frogs overwhelmed the national No. 3-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks 20-5 Sunday in a weather-delayed winners bracket game at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional.

The teams were set to play on Saturday but had to scratch it and push it back to Sunday. In addition, Sunday’s game was also halted twice because of lightning.

Schedule chaos didn’t seem to bother Richardson, who went five for six on the day and drove in 11 runs. With the victory, the Horned Frogs improved to 2-0 in Fayetteville and advanced to the finals, needing only one victory to win the regional title.

Arkansas, on the other hand, will play Santa Clara in a losers bracket game, with the winner of that contest feeding into the finals against TCU. The Horned Frogs’ opponent will need to win twice in the finals to win the title and advance into next week’s Super Regional round.

TCU came out swinging the bats early, burying Arkansas with six runs in the first inning, five in the second and three in the third. Richardson hit opposite-field grand slams in the first and second. Brayden Taylor, considered a potential first-round pick in this summer’s Major League Baseball draft, added a three-run blast in the third.

Taylor, surging late in the season, finished three for five at the plate with four RBIs. He is on a roll in the NCAA tournament with seven hits in 10 at bats. He also has 10 RBIs, including six on Friday in a 12-4 victory over the Arizona Wildcats.

Dallas Baptist wins again to earn a berth in the NCAA Stillwater Regional finals

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Righthander Braxton Bragg pitched into the eighth inning and struck out 10 Sunday afternoon as the Dallas Baptist Patriots won for the second time in two days, claiming a 9-1 decision to oust the Washington Huskies from the NCAA’s Stillwater Regional.

Now 2-1 in Stillwater this weekend, the Patriots will move into the finals. Seeded second in the regional, they’ll play the 2-0 and fourth-seeded Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles Sunday night at 8 p.m.

The Golden Eagles, riding a 20-game winning streak, need to win only once to claim the regional title. The Patriots need to win twice. If DBU wins Sunday night, another game will be played for the championship on Monday.

Dallas Baptist is the regular-season champion from Conference USA. DBU claimed the C-USA title when it swept three games from UTSA in San Antonio last month. In the conference’s postseason event, the Patriots reached the title game and lost to Charlotte.

Despite the loss, they were seeded second in the NCAA Stillwater Regional. Now they’re in the regional finals with a record of 47-15. In the regional, the Patriots lost in the opener on Friday, falling 9-5 to Washington. On Saturday, they bounded back to beat national No. 11 seed Oklahoma State, 18-4.

On Sunday, they got the pitching from Bragg, who completed 7 and 2/3 innings, and an offense that produced 11 hits. The Patriots also took advantage of six walks by Huskies pitching. Nathan Humphreys homered for Dallas Baptist, his 14th of the season.

The Golden Eagles, with a 48-11 record, haven’t lost since April 22. They’re on a tear that vaulted them to both the The Summit League regular-season and postseason crowns.

In the NCAA regional, they knocked off host Oklahoma State 6-4 in the opener on Friday and then followed with a 15-12, come-from-behind victory over Washington on Saturday to reach the final.