Golden Lions Baseball Coach Carlos James Focused on SWAC Goal


With the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff celebrating commencement exercises Saturday, May 11, head coach Carlos James and his Golden Lions baseball team were looking to better their seeding in 2013 SWAC Baseball Tournament by claiming two victories over the Panthers of Prairie View A&M University.

The UAPB Golden Lions baseball team took care of business by sweeping the make-up series 5-4 in the first game and 7-4 in the second game. With these two wins, UAPB will go into the tourney as the number two seeded team in the west and will play Alcorn State University on Wednesday, May 15 at LaGrave Field in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The Golden Lions finish the regular season 21-30, 13-11 in the SWAC.

“I’m proud of them,” said James*, who came to UAPB from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. “This is the highest we have ever finished in conference. We are moving the program forward just as we did at UAM.”

In game one Saturday against the Panthers, Patrick Phillips and Cody De Mera led the way at the plate for the Golden Lions. Both Phillips and De Mera went 2-for-3 for the game.Kyle Schwartz was credited with the win going 8 2/3 innings, while striking out six.

PVAM’s Michael Medina suffered the loss, as the Panthers were also relying on the outcome of today’s ballgames to determine their own fate in this year’s tournament.

In game two, the Golden Lions pick up we’re they left off from game one, by turning 12 hits into seven runs. Warren Stehn had the hot bat for the Golden Lions, going 3-for-5, while Dwayne Hysmith went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and one RBI.

Jim Ploeger was credited with the win, going five strong innings, while striking out four.

The team looks to make strong push for this year’s crown, playing to make history by winning the first SWAC Baseball championship the in school’s history.

carlos james uapb golden lions

Coach Carlos James

“Our staff and kids believe we have what it takes to win the (SWAC) tourney and earn a berth into the NCAA regionals,” coach James said. “We also know that we have to continue to pitch well as a staff and continue to execute at the plate.”

James said his team must continue to improve defensively to reach the goal of a championship.

“If we can’t minimize out defensive errors, we have to overcome them by scoring more runs,” he said. “In the end, it’s just about winning.”

Before leaving for Fort Worth, the team practices Sunday and works in the weight room, James said,  and when his Golden Lions diamond team arrives in Fort Worth Monday they’ll  go out eat and celebrate the season.

“Then it’s [back] down to business on Tuesday with practice at 11 a.m.,” he said.

First up for the Golden Lions in the SWAC tournament is Alcorn St. UAPB faced that team twice this season, beating them both times 10-4 and 13-1.

“Having defeated them twice this season… always brings concerns of overconfidence,” James said when asked what concerns he had playing Alcorn St. in the first game Wednesday.

“However, winning the (SWAC) tournament has been our goal, so that should keep us focused,” he added.

Currently, UAPB’s baseball team has a total of four scholarships to use for players, facing teams in conference with 10 and 11 scholarship players. The success James is building for the baseball team, on and off the diamond, is bringing support, which he hopes can be used to raise more money for more scholarships for players.

“I am proud of our guys, as they also carry a 3.4 grade point average from the fall,” he said of his team.

Is this team committed?

“Yes they are,” he said.

*Carlos James Bio

James arrives to UAPB after spending two seasons at the University of Arkansas-Monticello where he served in the same capacity. The Pine Bluff native took over the struggling UAM Baseball team and turned them into a legitimate conference contender during his two years at the helm of program.

With his hire, James became the first African-American head coach at UAM for any sport, as well as the first in the Gulf South Conference for baseball. James recently completed his second full season as UAM’s skipper with an overall record of 20-26 and a 4-16 mark against GSC West Division opponents. It was the first 20-win season for the UAM baseball team since 2006.

In his first full season as the UAM skipper, James led the Boll Wee­vils to a 9-37-1 overall record after finishing the 2008 season as the team’s interim head coach. Prior to the 2009 season, James revamped the UAM baseball program, from changes to Weevils Field to a new-look roster. Additional changes came in 2010, when James brought in close to 20 new players, including 10 players from the high school ranks.

In 2010, James led UAM to its first ever ranking in the National College Baseball Writer’s Association South Region Poll with a No. 9 ranking on March 1. He also led the team to its first series win since 2006 and its first conference sweep since 2005. The Boll Weevils also had an eight-game win streak in 2010 and more than doubled their win total from the 2009 season.

James coached two GSC-West Player of the Week selections and one pitcher of the week honoree in 2010. Senior out­fielder Brian Johnson became UAM’s first honoree since 2005. Johnson went on to earn All-GSC West 2nd Team honors, one of four players to earn all-conference honors under James’ watch. Pitcher Brent Noble and outfielder Wayne Hawkins also earned weekly honors during the 2010 season.

In 2009, James led the Weevils to one of the biggest upsets in recent program history, defeating the then ranked No. North Alabama Lions at home 4-3. Later in the season, James’ Weevils had their way with West Ala­bama, a perennial winner, defeating the Tigers 9-3 at home.

Prior to joining the UAM staff, James was the manager of the Arkansas Prospects of Little Rock and the APAK Scout Team of Memphis, traveling baseball squads that showcase prospects to college coaches and major league scouts. He was also an associate scout with the Seattle Mariners organization. James served as an assistant head coach at UAPB from 2000-04 and head coach of the Pine Bluff Senior Babe Ruth Team in 2004-05.Last season under the direction of James, UAPB’s Chretien Matz was selected in the Major League Baseball Draft. In addition the Golden Lions baseball team defeated the Texas Southern Tigers in a road series for the first time in several years.

The Oakland Athletics drafted James out of Pine Bluff High School in 1990. He played two seasons at Seminole Junior Col­lege where his teams played in the NJCAA World Series in 1991 and 1992. After being drafted by the Oakland Athletics again, he transferred and played two seasons at the University of Ar­kansas followed by two seasons with the now-defunct Pine Bluff Locomotives in the independent Big South League in 1995-96.

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