Winning has a nice ring to it

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Delgado Community College’s Dolphins were rewarded for a great 2014 campaign by getting their rings for capturing the NJCAA South Central District Championship.

Winning the title enabled the Dolphins to advance to the Junior College World Series. The Dolphins finished with a 43-13 record.

Delgado went 0-2 in the World Series.

The Dolphins lost, 8-6, to Chattahoochee Valley in the opener. They were eliminated by Cochise College, 9-5.

Clay Tageant, a 2011 Franklinton High School graduate, was a pitcher for Delgado last season. He pitched two-thirds of an inning in the final contest, allowing no runs on two hits with a strikeout and a walk over the five hitters he faced.

“You end your season at the World Series and you feel how the hard work paid off,” Tageant said.

Tageant said one of the reasons why you play is to get a ring.

“I remember going to different events with my dad growing up and seeing a lot of coaches with their rings. This has been a dream of mine, and I’m fortunate to have two of them.”

Tageant, whose father is Franklinton baseball coach Jeff Tageant, was also a member of two World Series teams while at LSU-Eunice. He was redshirted his first year.

Then they went his redshirt freshman season. LSU-Eunice captured the title Tageant’s first year and were runner-up the following season.

This year, Tageant posted a 6-0 record with a 5.34 earned run average in 14 games. including three starts. Tageant threw 30.1 innings, allowing 40 hits with 18 strikeouts and nine walks.

At the ceremony, Tageant also received his academic all-American award.

Tageant had a 4.0 grade point average last year at Delgado.

Tageant said his grades helped with his scholarship at USM. He said he works extremely hard on in the classroom.

“My parents have made it a top priority for me and Evan (Tageant’s brother) to concentrate on the school part,” Tageant said.

“This award compliments the World Series ring in being able to say I’m successful on the student and athletic part of baseball.”

Tageant signed with the University of Southern Mississippi after the season and he said things are going really well so far.

“It’s been a really challenging fall,” Tageant said. “We came in, and from the first meeting on, we met with the coaches and the weight trainers. They told us it would be a challenging fall. There are days when you wake up at 5:30 a.m., lift weights, go to classes and then get the bullpen stuff done. The coaches have done a good job of putting me into the role I’ll be in during the spring. It’s been an adjustment, but a good one. I’ve enjoyed working with (pitching) coach Fed (Michael Federico). We’re all looking forward to the spring to see the hard work pay off.”

Tageant said his role will probably be a setup or closer role.

Southern Mississippi’s pitching staff put up a 3.57 earned run average last season. USM finished with a 35-25 record last season. The team was just one win away from playing for the Conference USA Tournament title.