NEXT-LEVEL STUFF: Temple College baseball players Andruw Gonzales (left), Seth Stephenson and Nathan Medrano signed with NCAA Division I programs last Thursday. Gonzales, a freshman catcher from Elgin, signed with McNeese State of Louisiana. Stephenson, a speedy, switch-hitting freshman shortstop from Buda Hays, signed with Tennessee. Medrano, a sophomore right-handed pitcher from Gilroy, California, who transferred to Temple after two seasons at St. Edward's in Austin, signed with the Houston Cougars. (Temple College photo/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)
By GREG WILLE
Temple College baseball players Andruw Gonzales, Nathan Medrano and Seth Stephenson signed national letters of intent with NCAA Division I programs last Thursday.
Catcher Gonzales signed with McNeese State, right-handed pitcher Medrano made his commitment to Houston official and shortstop Stephenson finalized his pledge to Tennessee.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Gonzales batted .452 with one home run, five doubles and nine runs batted in and scored 12 runs in 14 games played during the 2020 season, in which the Leopards had a 12-12 record before the NJCAA canceled the remainder of the season in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gonzales, an Elgin graduate who still has freshman eligibility for TC's upcoming 2021 season, will join McNeese State's Lake Charles, Louisiana-based Cowboys, who compete in the Southland Conference.
The 6-foot, 170-pound Medrano, from Gilroy, California, is in his first semester at Temple College after playing the 2019 and 2020 seasons for NCAA Division II St. Edward's University in Austin. As a freshman Medrano had a 4-4 record with a 3.11 earned-run average and 56 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings and also batted .303 in 33 at-bats for the Hilltoppers, whose coaching staff includes former TC standout David Wood.
In the shortened 2020 season, he was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. He'll be a sophomore for the Leopards in 2021 before he transfers to join Houston's Cougars, who compete in the American Athletic Conference.
By signing with the Tennessee Volunteers of the Southeastern Conference, the speedy Stephenson, a 5-9, 155-pound product of Buda Hays, gives Temple one of its most high-profile Division I signings in recent history.
The switch-hitting shortstop was off to a stellar start as a freshman last spring, batting .318 with six triples, three doubles and seven RBI while scoring 24 runs and stealing eight bases in 23 games before the season stopped. He'll still be a freshman for Temple in the 2021 season.
The Leopards of longtime head coach Craig McMurtry are slated to begin their spring season Jan. 30 with a doubleheader against St. Edward's in Austin. Temple's home opener at Danny Scott Sports Complex is scheduled for Feb. 12, a single game against Navarro. TC will begin its 32-game Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference schedule March 10 at Weatherford before those teams play again in Temple on March 13.