Bryant athletes continue to contribute at the next (and next after that) level

By Rob Patrick

While we’ve had a lot about the bid by Bryant’s Travis Wood to make a Major League roster for the first time with the Cincinnati Reds, there are several other former Bryant athletes still competing on a high level. Following is information about as many as I could track down but, first, a little more about T.Wood.

With the MLB season beginning next week, Wood is still in contention for the fifth-starter spot in the Reds rotation and beat reporter Mark Sheldon says in his latest blog, it looks like he has the inside track.[more]

The latest from the Reds website is that the decision between Wood and last summer’s No. 1 draft pick Mike Leake will be made Thursday after both pitch in split squad games on Wednesday. Leake, who hasn’t pitched in the Minor Leagues yet, was pitching this afternoon against the Oakland A’s. Travis, with four years of Minor League experience, will pitch this evening in Las Vegas against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cuban Aroldis Chapman, who hasn’t any Minor League experience either, has been set back by a bout of back spasms. It’s been decided he’ll start the season at AAA Louisville.

Wood is 23 years old. Leake and Chapman are 22.

If Wood gets the nod, indications are he would make his regular-season Major League debut on April 11, in Cincinnati against the Chicago Cubs.

Here’s news about some more Bryant products. If anyone’s missing, let me know at or leave a comment below and I’ll try to get more information.

• Ashley Grappe Chisum completed an injury-riddled basketball career in splendid fashion this spring as a senior guard for the Arkansas Tech Golden Sun which posted a 31-3 record, reaching the Elite 8 in the Division II National Championship tournament. In the finale on March 23, a loss to second-ranked Franklin Pierce, Ashley scored 17 points.

Tech coach Dave Wilbers called it “her best game of the season,” adding, “She really left it all out on the court. I couldn’t be more proud of her and our other senior, Anna Baran, for all they did this season and in their careers at Tech.”

Starting 17 of the 23 games she played in, Chisum averaged 3.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game with 99 assists and 41 steals. She hit 90 percent of her free throws (28 of 31).

• Also in basketball, Brandon Cowart, after earning All-TranSouth All-Freshman team selection in 2008-09, played in all 30 of Lyon College’s games, starting 18. Former Hornet Hunter Sample, as a freshman, got into 17 games. Cowart averaged 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds a game. He dished out 81 assists and made 19 steals.

Sample averaged 3.1 points and 2.7 rebounds with six assists, five steals and three blocked shots.

• In baseball, Wood is not the only professional player from Bryant. Aaron Davidson pitched in 13 games for the Arizona Giants Rookie league team last summer, posting a 1-0 record with a 4.05 earned run average. He got better every time out and was very effective late in the season.Minor League assignments have not yet been made as spring training continues this week. Davidson will likely end up playing for the Augusta (Ga.) GreenJackets or the San Jose (Calif.) Giants, both Class A teams in the Giants organization. The Giants have AA teams in Richmond (the Flying Squirrels) and Connecticut (the Defenders).

It looks like two of Bryant’s Division I players will be sitting out this season.

• At the University of Arkansas, it’s looking more and more like sophomore lefty pitcher Trent Daniel will be red-shirted. With just a few innings of work during the fall, he hasn’t had any consistent work on the mound in game situations since last summer with the Bryant Black Sox American Legion team. According to his folks Tom and Kathy, Hogs head coach Dave Van Horn had told Trent he had plans to use him this season but, since it hasn’t happened yet, and the UA pitching staff has been solid with a number of upper classmen, even Daniel’s profile on the web site mentions he’s probably going to redshirt. The Daniels expressed their hope that he would at this point. He would start next season with three years of eligibility and would have a chance to be one of the mainstays of the staff with graduations and professional careers attracting this year’s upper classmen.

• At UALR, catcher Kaleb Jobe is out after suffering a severe tear in his Labrum which required surgery on Jan. 14. He’ll receive a medical redshirt, according to his dad Mike Jobe. It was deeply disappointing, Mike acknowledged, adding, “Kaleb really put in the hard work as soon as he got on campus. He went in at 206 pounds and got down to 183. He made the travel squad as a true freshman as one of three catchers.”

Starting catcher Landis Wilson his hitting .296 with one homer and 24 RBIs but back-ups Tim Emmons and Myles Parma are each hitting .200 so there might’ve been room for Jobe to get some playing time, particularly at the plate.

• A couple of other Bryant alums are getting playing time at Division I schools including Joey Winiecki at Oral Roberts. After a stellar career at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith where he earned NJCAA All-America honorable mention as a freshman, leading the team in batting average (.444), hits (100, a school record), on-base percentage (.484) and stolen bases (30), he transferred to ORU.

He’s leading the 11-10 Golden Eagles with a .371 average in nine games (13 of 35). He’s stolen five bases in seven attempts, scored eight runs and driven in three.

The Golden Eagles just returned from a trip to Los Angeles where they played three games against UCLA. On Tuesday, they traveled to Austin and beat the Texas Longhorns, 3-2. Winiecki was on base four times with a hit and three walks. He scored one of his team’s runs. ORU will visit Arkansas in Fayetteville on April 20.

• Through 24 games at Arkansas State, Danny Riemenschneider has gotten into 11 games including a couple of starts as a middle infielder. He’s hitting .273 (3 of 11) with a .429 on-base percentrage, two runs scored and an RBI. The slick fielder has a 1.000 fielding percentage.

• In Arkadelphia, after suffering a severe injury last year, it looked like Richie Wood’s baseball career might be over. But he has come back this season for the Henderson State Reddies and has started 26 of 27 games, posting a .320 average, a .456 slugging percentage and a .375 on-base percentage. He leads the team with 103 at bats, 33 hits and 16 stolen bases in 18 tries. He is second with 20 runs scored and eight doubles while driving in 18 runs and slugging two homers.

• Across the street, Michael Haydon has gotten into five games for the Ouachita Baptist Tigers with three at bats. He’s been hit by pitches twice and scored a run.

• At Southern Arkansas, where the senior-laden Muleriders are 27-3, sophomore catcher Tyler Pickett has gotten into three games and batted once, working behind a pair of veteran receivers.

• A pair of former Bryant players are now at Crowder Junior College in Neosho, Mo. True freshman Tyler Sawyer has played in 11 games with six at bats and two hits for a .333 average. He’s scored twice and knocked in a run. He’s also helping the team on the mound. He’s 2-0 with a save. In 10 innings, he’s walked three and fanned three and has posted a 6.30 ERA so far.

Teammate David Guarno, a redshirt freshman, has played in 25 games. In 80 at bats, he’s posted a .363 batting average with 14 RBIs and 24 runs scored.

• Former Bryant Lady Hornets softball players Hailey King and Christen Kirchner are now teammates at Central Baptist College. In 30 games, King is hitting .490 with 47 hits in 96 at bats. She’s scored 35 runs, hit 13 doubles, three tripls and four home runs while driving in 26. Kirchner is hitting .495 with 47 hits in 95 at bats. She’s scored 52 runs and driven in 49, both team highs, and leads the team with 14 home runs. She’s also hit 12 doubles for a slugging percentage of 1.063.

• Bryant track star Spencer McCorkel spent two years at the University of Arkansas and scored in a number of events as a pole vaulter but has transferred to Liberty University in Virginia where, according to the preseason prospectus on the school website, he may red-shirt this season, however. But at the Big South Indoor Track and Field championship meet McCorkel competed in the men’s heptathlon, finishing 11th to help the Flames win the meet.

• Mary Edwards is listed on the Arkansas State track roster. Her accomplishments in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons are listed in the media guide but no mention is made of her 2008-09 campaign or results from this season.

• In football, Logan Cruse is continuing his career at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Last fall, he played in six games and got in on three tackles.

• Jake Jackson had a second stellar season for Rhodes College in Memphis where he was named second team all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference at wide receiver. He was the team’s second-leading receiver with 34 receptions for 436 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. He also returned kickoffs for the Lynx. He also was named Academic All-Conference for the second year in a row.

• On the Ouachita Baptist University web site, Dijon Benton, Christian Brooks, Ethan Passmore and Taylor Masters are listed on the roster. Benton is the only one that recorded stats last fall. In seven games, he was in on 11 tackles and broke up two passes.

• Chad England was listed on the Henderson State football roster as a freshman linebacker in 2009.

• As a freshman transfer at the Southern Nazarene University, Jared Szabad got into one game last season and made a tackle.

• In addition, the University of Central Arkansas continues to be Bryant High School Dance North with the award-winning program. Bryant alums on the squad include captain Jennifer Gattin, Kathleeen Fricke, Elissa Honea, Jessica Maxey, Sarah Nation, Cecilee Pamplin, and Courtney Patton. The Honeybears took second in the collegiate pom division at the Universal Dance Association Nationals in Orando, Fla., in January.

1 comment

  1. rch3

    Rob, Great article. Good to see all of the players continuing on.

    Aaron is not going back to the Giants organization. I spoke with his parents last Saturday and he has decided to focus on work and a girlfriend here at home.

    I know I won’t ever forget the 17 strikeout performance against Fayetteville in the state quarters, then the follow up 12 strikeout win in the finals against them. For 3 weeks (including the Regionals and World Series), he was the most dominant pitcher I have seen.

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