To some, confidence is just a word, but to Javelina pitcher Dallas Ponder, it’s more than just a word. It’s a mindset.
“When I’m on the mound I go out there with the mindset that I’m better than my opponent,” said Ponder. “I just have to trust my stuff and do what I do and everything will come out in my favor.”
Some might say that you need more than confidence when pitching, but with the success Ponder has had on the Javelina baseball team this season it’s hard to argue with his line of reasoning.
Ponder has a perfect 7-0 won- loss record and a 2.04 earned run average, proving his confi- dence is exactly what he needs to be dominant on the mound.
For this architectural engineer- ing junior born and raised in the small town of Flatonia, Texas, baseball has always been of in- terest
to him, thanks in large part to his dad.
“My dad was the person that got me started playing base- ball. As far as I can remember he would play catch with me or have me doing anything baseball related, he was my Little League coach for most of my childhood and really got me to enjoy the game,” explained Ponder.
With his dad playing baseball in college, Ponder made it his goal to do to the same.
“He played college ball at Texas
and I wanted to follow in his footsteps and play college ball as well.” he said.
Coming from a 1A school in Flatonia, Ponder didn not get much exposure to college re- cruits; it wasn’t until he par- ticipated in a summer showcase tourney in the coastal bend area that he started catching some coaches’ eyes, including those of Javelina baseball Head Coach Ja- son Gonzales.
“Playing select ball in the sum- mer is how Gonzales first heard about me, my team and I played a tournament down here and I did pretty well. So he invited me back for a visit and offered me a scholarship. I had a few other options but most were small schools out of state, so I felt like TAMUK was my best option,” said Ponder.
“He had a good presence on the mound and was throwing some good pitches and I knew that he could be a great addition
to our team,” said Gonzales on recruit- ing Ponder.
Shortly after his first season with the Javelinas, Ponder was faced with his first real struggle in his college baseball career.
“In my first year at TAMUK I lost about 40 pounds and felt ex- tremely weak all the time and I had no idea why. About halfway through the season my parents noticed my weight loss and took me to the doctors and after some blood tests I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” explained Ponder who was able to quickly overcome that obstacle.
Later that following season in 2011 Ponder would be able to work his was in to the starting rotation where he earned a 1-2 record.
Ponder would improve his play over time as he improved to 4-1 in his sophomore season in 2012 cutting his ERA from 6.14 his freshman year to 3.12 in his sophomore season.
So far this season, Ponder sits atop the Javelina pitching staff, as he is they only pitcher without a loss on the team, making him one of the aces of the ball club.
“I think my current success can be credited with the coaching and the workouts the coaches have put me through as well as my experience and growing ma- turity,” said Ponder. “As a pitcher I feel like I now have the knowl- edge and feel for what to do in most situations.”
“He has become a big weapon for this team,” said Gonzales “He is a big reason for our success so far this season.”
As the current season progress- es Ponder will look to forward to his continued success this season and next and improve more as time goes on and is positive for the future not just in college but after his time here at TAMUK has passsed.
“At the moment I don’t know what the future holds, but I would really enjoy to keep the game of baseball a part of my life past college,” he said. “I would love to get the chance to play at the next level and I believe that I have what it takes to get there.”