O’Neal to return to Angelina

Posted 5/26/20

James O'Neal will be returning to Angelina College for the coming year.

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O’Neal to return to Angelina

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James O'Neal will be returning to Angelina College for the coming year.

The North Zulch High School graduate said May 20 that he will pitch a second year for the Roadrunners baseball team after players were extended another year of eligibility as a result the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down the spring season.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore transferred to Angelina after spending his freshman season at Allen Community College (Kan.), where he had a 3-1 record and 5.66 earned run average in nine appearances, including two starts.

In a desire to play closer to home, O'Neal said he reached out to the Angelina baseball coaches. He said he threw a bullpen session for the coaches, who extended the best offer among the state schools interested in him.

During the fall, the right-hander worked on his delivery to improve the location of pitches because he said he was leaving pitches up in the strike zone and inside.

“I’m mainly just working on staying smoother in my delivery," said O’Neal. "I got to where I was a little bit jerky."

He made five relief appearances in the spring. He did not have any decisions and finished with a 5.63 ERA.

O'Neal said he assumed whatever role was needed, though he typically pitched as the first guy out of the bullpen. Two times he tossed one inning, tying his season high of three strikeouts in a hitless inning against Wharton County.

In his final outing, he allowed three hits and one earned run in two and one-thirds innings, his longest appearance.

He has been throwing the two- and four-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup, enough pitches to serve him well if an opportunity to start presents itself in the future.

O'Neal has been training in case there is a chance to play this summer in an area collegiate league. Last summer, he pitched for the Austin team in the CenTex Collegiate Baseball League.

Women's track and field

Jarvis Christian College freshman Garlanesha Hickman-Gilbert was a part of the winning sprint medley relay team in the Jet Relays meet. The Madisonville High graduate was on the 4-by-400-meter relay that placed eighth.

Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at jdanddoc@gmail.com.

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