Victoria Generals Team History
The Victoria Baseball Club, LLC was formed in 2007 with the intent of bringing summer baseball back to the city of Victoria. In November of 2008, local businessman Tracy Young decided to place a team in the Texas Collegiate League. The organization signed a lease agreement with historic Riverside Stadium to be the home field for the new team. In December of 2008, management decided on the team name of the Victoria Generals. Former big leaguer Chris Clemons was named the General’s first head coach and the foundation for summer collegiate baseball in Victoria was in place.
The Generals opened their inaugural season with a loss on June 5, 2009 in Kilgore, TX against the East Texas Pump Jacks. The next night the Generals earned their first victory in team history, defeating the Pump Jacks 9-1. On June 11, 2009, a crowd of over 1,000 people were on hand to witness the first home game in team history. With the fans at Riverside on their feet cheering, closer Zach Nuding notched his first save of the season on a strike out to end the game as the Generals won 9-7.
The Generals started the season on a tear, winning seven games in a row after their opening loss. Their hot start earned them #21 ranking by Perfect Game Crosscheckers in the first national poll of the season. The Generals were ranked as high as #16 during the year and finished the season at #22.
The Generals finished the regular season with a record of 30-14, making them the TCL Regular Season Champions. After quickly disposing of the Brazos Valley Bombers in the opening round of the playoffs, the Generals fell to the Coppell Copperheads in the Championship Series.
All in all, the Generals had a phenomenal inaugural season, exceeding everyone’s expectations on the field and off. If there was one thing that was certainly clear following the 2009 season, it was that the Victoria Generals were here to stay and would be a force to be reckoned with in the Texas Collegiate League for many years to come.
In 2010, the Generals returned under the guidance of second-year head coach Chris Clemons with a clear mission: win the Texas Collegiate League championship that eluded them the year before. The Generals wasted no time, getting to work, jumping out to a first-place lead by going 13-7 during the month of June.
The Generals were once again not only gaining recognition in the TCL, but also across the nation. The Generals had a league-high eight players named to the TCL South All-Star Team. The team’s national ranking kept improving week by week as they stayed in the top 30 all season long. The Generals also captured the First-Half TCL Championship, securing their spot in the post-season for the second straight year.
The 2010 TCL All-Star game was hosted by the Generals at Riverside Stadium on July 5. With a great crowd on hand of over 1,200, the game ended in a 7-7 tie.
The Generals picked up right where they left off after the all-star break and continued their hot streak. The Generals continued to stay at the top of the standings and continued to climb in the national rankings.
By the beginning of August, the Generals had secured the TCL Regular-Season Championship for the second straight season and locked up the #1 seed in the TCL playoffs.
The Generals opened the post season on the road in Weimar, TX against the fourth seeded Texas Tomcats. The Generals made quick work of the Tomcats in game one, winning 8-0 on the road. The Tomcats then came back to defeat the Generals 6-2 in Victoria to force a decisive game three. The Generals were able to hold off the Tomcats to win the series by beating them in game three by a final score of 4-2.
The Generals moved onto the TCL Championship series for the second time in two years. This time they would face a new opponent in the championship round: the East Texas Pump Jacks.
The Generals were on the ropes in game one in Kilgore, trailing 5-0 heading into the eighth inning. However, the Pump Jacks could only hold the hot Generals bats at bay for long, as the Generals struck for five runs in the eighth to tie the game at 5-5. The Generals then added the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth that proved to be the game winner as the Generals took game one 6-5.
With the TCL Championship one win away, the Generals wasted no time in game two at home in Victoria. The Generals dominated the game from the start as the game was well in hand early on. The Generals won game two 10-2, securing their first TCL Championship in team history.
In the final national poll of the season, the Victoria Generals finished with the highest team ranking in Texas Collegiate League history at #14.
In 2011, the Generals hired former big leaguer Ryan Wagner to replace Chris Clemons as the team’s head coach after Clemons resigned his post in the fall. The Generals built another strong roster, but the injury bug struck the team quickly during the summer of 2011.
The Generals record hovered around .500 for much of the first-half of the season before finishing 12-17. With the addition of a few new players around the All-Star break, the Generals had a better second-half, finishing at 16-14. The Generals needed to win one of their final two games of the season to earn a spot in the TCL playoffs, but failed to do so and ended the year with a final record of 28-31.
Despite poor results in the standings, there were still several bright spots during the Generals 2011 season. Utility man Chad Kruse broke the TCL record for hits (77) and at-bats (237) in a season while closer Covey Morrow broke the TCL record for appearances (30) in a season.
In 2012, Chris Clemons made his return to Victoria as the team’s head coach. Despite losing their top three players to the draft in the first week of the season, the Generals were able to make some key additions and finished the first-half with a record of 19-9 which was good enough for second-place and an automatic bid to the TCL post-season.
The Generals hosted the TCL All-Star Game in Victoria for the second time in three years and once again put on quite a display. With a league-high nine Generals and the Generals coaching staff representing the South, the TCL South-All-Star Team defeated the North 10-2. Generals’outfielder Jude Vidrine was tabbed the game’s MVP after going 3-for-4 on the night with two home runs, five RBIs, and three runs scored. Generals’ pitcher Covey Morrow was credited with the win for the South.
The Generals stayed hot in the second-half and finished the season with an overall record of 34-20. The Generals drew the Brazos Valley Bombers at home in Victoria in a winner-take-all opening round game that turned out to be one of the most historic games in TCL post-season history.
With the Generals leading the Bombers 4-3 heading into the top of the ninth inning, the Bombers struck for 4 runs in the top of the inning to take a 7-4 lead. Down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth, the Generals mounted a historic comeback as Eric Weiss hit a two-run home run and Ryan Guedry drilled an RBI double to score Trace Knoblauch all the way from first base on the play to tie the game at 7-7. Guedry was the hero in the bottom of the 11th inning as he hit a walk-off single to score Eric Weiss from second to send the Generals to their third TCL Championship Series in four years.
The Generals drew a familiar foe in the TCL Championship Series in the East Texas Pump Jacks whom they defeated in 2010 to win the TCL title. The Generals took game one in Victoria 5-3 behind a dominant pitching performance by Victoria native Jordan Pacheco who allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts.
With the Generals one win away from their second TCL title, they held leads in both game two and game three of the series, but were unable to hold on for victories as the East Texas Pump Jacks won the 2012 TCL Championship.
The Generals have seen several of their former players selected in the Major League Baseball draft over the course of the last four years. During that time span, 20 former Generals have been selected and 11 still currently play affiliated minor league baseball. It is only a matter of time before the first former General makes his major league debut.