The 2023 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I baseball season brings high expectations for the Galveston College Whitecaps. Coming off a berth in the regional championship game in 2022, the Whitecaps return the core of that team.
“The goal of the Galveston College baseball program is to compete for a conference championship and a berth in the Junior College World Series,” said Whitecaps Baseball Head Coach Kevin Lallmann. “We have a great group of core players and a good mix of talented freshmen this season that will make us very competitive.”
Leading the way are a core group of Texas and New Mexico all-stars that make up the heart of the Whitecaps offensive lineup. Third baseman Alfonso Villalobos hit .318 last season while outfielder Parker Lee led the team in batting with a .362 average, catcher Parker Airhart hit .316 and shortstop Hector Rodriguez batted .327. In addition to that group, second baseman Vincent Sanchez finished the previous season with a .311 batting average.
The Whitecaps added some talented freshman to the mix with lefthanded pitchers Jacob Cyr and Kade Foulke, righthander Kam Hardebeck and outfielder Brody Atwood. All four are expected to play significant roles in pursuit of a Region 14 Conference title.
Leading the Whitecaps pitching staff are Texas and New Mexico all-stars Wyatt Wick, Nathan Scott, Dravin Barber and Nathan Campbell. This group provides experience and all have the potential to pitch at the NCAA level next year. Backing up this quartet of talented starters are returning relief pitchers, Isaac Garcia, who recorded the save in the semifinal game against Panola College last year, and Ethan Brister. Both relievers have proved to be reliable out of the bullpen.
Prior to opening the season, three current Whitecaps have already committed to four-year universities. Catcher Parker Airhart will be attending the University of Houston, Alfonso Villalobos will go to Southeastern University in Florida, and righthanded pitcher Ethan Brister will attend East Texas Baptist University. With a sophomore heavy roster, many additional commitments are expected to come as the spring season gets underway.
This season’s schedule will once again provide Galveston College a tough test as the Whitecaps will take on Region 5 opponents Temple College, New Mexico Junior College and Ranger College, as well as single games against Navarro College and Wabash Valley College. The conference schedule in the Region 14 South Division will be loaded as usual. Leading the way for the Whitecaps conference opponents will be San Jacinto College, which is coming off another NJCAA World Series appearance in 2022.
The Whitecaps will once again host the annual Island Invitational on Feb 17-19, which has quickly become a marquee event, showcasing some of the premiere baseball talent in Texas.
Galveston College, who finished the 2022 season with a 21-33 overall record and a 12-23 record in conference play, opens the season with a two-game road trip on Jan. 27-28 against Baton Rouge Community College. The Whitecaps will host the Spartans Post Grad Academy in a home-opening doubleheader at Bernard Davis Stadium on Feb. 1 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
For more information about the Galveston College Whitecaps baseball program, roster and season schedule, visit https://www.gcwhitecaps.com/landing/index.
ABOUT GALVESTON COLLEGE
Galveston College was founded in 1967 and is a comprehensive community college providing the residents of Galveston Island and the surrounding region with academic, workforce development, continuing education and community service programs.