ISLANDERS ADD THREESOME TO BASEBALL COACHING STAFF

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi head baseball coach Scott Malone recently announced the addition of three new members of his Islander coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Joining the staff are former UTSA standout Josh Blakley as a volunteer assistant coach, Estevan Vasquez as the director of baseball operations and former Islander player Chase Wheaton as a student assistant coach.

Blakley, a graduate of Lorena High School and Blinn Junior College, played two seasons for the Roadrunners posting an 8-0 mark with a 2.60 earned-run average as a senior earning second-team All-Southland Conference honors. He recorded 59 strikeouts in 69-1/3 innings of work and was named the team's Pitcher of the Year a senior. He finished his career with a 2.88 ERA which is the career record. As a junior, Blakley posted a 3-2 mark.

Blakley will assist Islander pitching coach Rusty Miller with the pitching staff as well as with various Islander camp and clinics. The former Roadrunner spent the past summer coaching the top ranked 14-and-under U.S.S.S.A 14-and-under baseball team. He resides in Corpus Christi.

"Josh had so much success as a player at UTSA," said Malone. "He will receive instant respect from our pitching staff because he was able to put up the types of numbers that every kid works for in college. He was never the hardest thrower on the pitching staff but he worked harder than everyone else and achieved a great deal of success in the Southland Conference because of his work ethic. He played the game with a lot of passion and was always a team leader in college - I am expecting great things from Josh."

Vasquez will serve as the director of baseball operations for the Islanders. He will assist the coaching staff in the day-to-day operations of the program, will help coordinate the handling of equipment and coordinate most of the team's travel details in the spring.

Vasquez graduated from A&M-Corpus Christi this past spring with a B.S. in kinesiology with a concentration in sports emphasis and is currently pursuing a sports management degree at the Island University in Secondary Education. He spent the past summer as intern with the Corpus Christi Hooks after spending the 2006 and 2007 summers as the stadium and ticket operations manager with the Coastal Bend Aviators. Vasquez, who earned his associates degree at Coastal Bend College, lives in Beeville with his wife Priscilla and daughter Nevaeh.

"Estevan brings great organization and work ethic to our program," said Malone. "He has worked uncountable hours for the Coastal Bend Aviators and the Hooks. He has office experience in every area of baseball having worked in marketing, ticket sales, and game-day operations. It will be difficult to measure how much of an impact Estevan will have on our program because he can help in so many ways."

Wheaton completed his final season as a two-year starter in the outfield with the Islanders this past spring. He finished his senior season third on the team with a .345 average and was second with 42 RBI and 12 steals.

"Chase is another young talented coach that we are able to add to our staff," said Malone. "All of the hitters in our program would love to have a year like Chase had last year. I expect Chase to make an instant impact with the young hitters on our team. He has been through the ups and downs of a 60-game schedule and will be able to talk with our hitters about their approach. Most importantly, I am sure chase's strong work ethic will rub off on the youth of our team."

The trio offsets the departures of last year's student assistant coach J.R. Pickens and volunteer assistant Jason Alamo.

"With the addition of these young coaches our baseball program continues to move forward," said Malone "There is no doubt these young baseball minds will have an instant impact on our players.

"With Pickens moving on to be a head coach at Riviera High School and Jason Alamo opening the Alamo Academy, it is so exciting to see the Islander baseball program turn out such talented young coaches."