The Sam Houston State Bearkat baseball team opened a lot of eyes during their victory filled 2016 season. One unique supporter of the team is Huntsville Mayor Andy Brauninger. The mayor had the entire team at the City Council meeting Tuesday night as he presented a proclamation in their honor.
“The success that this team had last year was not only success on the baseball field,” said Brauninger in his address at the meeting. “It was success in the way they represented this school, they represented their coaching staff, and they represented the citizens of Huntsville.”
SHSU baseball enjoyed a winning campaign last year, finishing 19-11 in conference and 44-23 overall. The Bearkats were terrific at home, sporting an impressive 25-9 record at Don Sanders Stadium, and their winning ways continued past just the regular season. Sam Houston had an impressive showing in the Southland Conference Tournament going undefeated as they outscored opponents 37-10 in their four games.
The NCAA Lubbock Regional showed their ability to bounce back. After an early loss to Texas Tech, the Bearkats were able to defeat the Red Raiders in back-to-back games to reach the Tallahassee Super Regional where they would face a tough stretch against Florida State as they saw their season finally come to an end.
“I was really proud of our guys a year ago,” said head coach Matt Deggs. “I thought we were a year ahead of schedule. This is the ball club that we’ve been kind of looking towards.”
Mayor Brauninger honored the entire Bearkats team and coaching staff with a proclamation to officially name Sept. 15, 2017 Sam Houston State University Baseball Team Day in the city of Huntsville. “It’s a big deal for our program,” said Deggs. “I am very honored that the city of Huntsville would take time out to honor the Sam Houston State baseball team.”
As Brauninger mentioned, the team’s success went beyond just the chalk lines. Members of the baseball teams spent time in the greater Houston area last Sunday helping fellow Texans that were left devastated in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. One such victim of Hurricane Harvey was Kristi Benoit Stauffer whose aunt’s Pearland home had to be gutted after the flooding.
“These guys selflessly volunteered to help,” said Stauffer in her Facebook post. “They worked in the filth and stench with no complaints.” Many SHSU athletics and other organizations have graciously stepped up to lend a helping hand to those impacted by the catastrophic event.
“Proclamation No. 2017-49 whereas Sam Houston State University’s NCAA Division I baseball team not only qualified for the NCAA Regional Tournament for the eighth time in the past 11 years, but won an advanced to the super regionals in Florida whereas for the first time since joining the Southland Conference in 1988 Sam Houston State baseball has had back-to-back 40 win seasons, 40 or more games in a season for the fourth time in six seasons, and whereas the Sam Houston State University team has the longest string of continued success in Southland Conference history having 15 NCAA tournament wins including a conference record of 13 since joining the Southland, and whereas this team of many younger players led by coach Matt Deggs is primed for even more success in the years ahead. Now, therefore, be it hereby proclaimed by the power invested in me as the mayor of the city of Huntsville, Texas that September the 5th, 2017 be declared Sam Houston State University Baseball Team Day in the city of Huntsville, and I call upon all our citizens to join in the celebration of the success of these students and coaches proclaim to sign this 5th day of September, 2017. Andy Brauninger, Mayor.”