Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Around The Horn: Catching Up With Former Dragons

Former Dragon and current Texas Longhorn pitcher John Curtiss was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team this season.

The following is an update on former Carroll Dragon baseball players currently playing in college or in professional baseball. Click on the player’s name for more information and stats.

Thomas Altimont, RHP, McLennan Junior College, Carroll 2010
Altimont, an 2007 honorable mention all-state selection at Carroll, recently completed his sophomore year at McLennan Junior College in Waco.  As a freshman, Altimont started 11 games on the mound, recording a 4-1 record with a 1.78 ERA and 48 strikeouts. This year, Altimont started 13 games and went 7-5 with a 2.71 ERA in 83 innings pitched. He led the team in innings pitched and was second in wins.

John Curtiss, RHP, University of Texas, Carroll 2011
Curtiss, a second-team All-American his senior year, just finished his freshman year on the Texas Longhorns’ staff. Curtiss appeared in 27 games for the Longhorns and earned a 2-2 record with a 3.28 ERA over 57.2 innings. He was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team. During his senior year at Carroll, was the team captain and ace on the pitching staff and went 9-0 record with a 0.96 ERA and had 101 strikeouts. He was drafted in the 30th round by the Colorado Rockies in the 2011 draft. Curtiss is currently studying English and is a member of the Honors College.

Andrew LaCombe, C, Angelo State University, Carroll 2009
LaCombe, a three-year letterman and All-State selection his senior year, LaCombe just completed his junior year at Angelo State. He spent his first two years at Texas State University and played in 14 games. This year at Angelo State, LaCombe was named first-team Lone Star Conference catcher. He hit .344 in 56 games with three home runs, 38 RBIs and produced an on-base percentage of .460.  LaCombe is majoring in Business Finance.

Aaron Luna - Photo credit: Allison Rhoades, Memphis Redbirds

Aaron Luna, 2B, Memphis Cardinals (AAA), Carroll 2005
Luna, a former all-state infielder at Carroll, is in his fifth year in the Cardinals organization. Last year, he played only 17 games in Double-A and was moved up to Triple-A, where he played 71 games. Regarded as one of the best athletes to come out of Carroll, Luna works out in the offseason in Southlake. He was an All-American at Rice and a former 9th-round draft also a standout running back at Carroll and three-time state champion. Last season at Triple-A Memphis, Luna hit .266 with an on-base percentage of .354 with 10 HR and 33 RBI. He has not played this year due to a right foot injury that required surgery.

Michael Mariot, P, Northwest Arkansas (Royals), Carroll 2007
Mariot, a relief pitcher for Carroll in 2006, is now pursuing his dream of making it to the big leagues.  Mariot is currently playing for the Northwest Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, who drafted him the 8th round of the 2010 draft. Following high school, Mariot went on to pitch at the University of Nebraska and in three seasons he started 44 games and tossed 160 innings with a 5.62 ERA. Mariot spent last year playing for the Royals’ Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks. With the Blue Rocks, he pitched in 28 games and earned an 8-4 record with a 3.41 ERA. So far in Double-A, Mariot has appeared in 15 games out of the bullpen, working 24 and 2/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA.

Ronnie Mitchell, OF, Dallas Baptist, Carroll 2009
Mitchell, the starting center fielder on the Dragons’ 2009 state runner-up season, is now playing for Dallas Baptist. After two years at the University of Nevada, Mitchell is hitting .291 in 44 games played this year for the Patriots and hit three HRs with 26 RBI and a .339 on-base percentage.  DBU reached the Waco Regional this year and earned a No. 2 seed.

Chase Reid, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Carroll 2008
Reid, third-team All-State selection and 42nd-round pick of the Brewers, is now a minor league pitcher in the Cardinals organization. Reid was drafted by the Brewers his senior year at Carroll, but elected to play at Vanderbilt. While pitching for the Commodores, Reid saw huge amounts of playing time coming out of the bullpen for his first three seasons, and had seven starts his senior year. His senior year, Reid made 28 total appearances, which was second most on the team, and had an ERA of 3.46. He was then drafted by the Cardinals in the 41st round in 2010. Since then, Reid has moved up to Class A Palm Beach, where he has made appearances in 15 games, earning a 3-5 record with a 3.63 ERA and two saves.

Ross Stripling, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Carroll 2009
Stripling, who only pitched one year for the Dragons due to injury, is now living his dream. Stripling was drafted in the 5th round in the June by the Los Angeles Dodgers and signed a contract three days later. Following his time at Carroll, Stripling walked on at Texas A&M, where by his sophomore year was in the starting rotation for the Aggies. In four years, Stripling won 31 games and threw a no-hitter this year against San Diego State. Stripling is expected to play rookie ball for the Ogden (Utah) Raptors.

Matt Thompson, 1B, McMurry University, Carroll 2009
Thompson, the starting first baseman for the Dragons during the 2008 state runner-up year, finished his college baseball career in grand fashion at McMurry University. He started 46 of 47 games this year and led the team in batting average, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage, home runs and on-base percentage. Thompson was recently named to the All-American Academic team. On the year, Thompson hit .406, with nine HRs, 36 RBI, and produced a .518 on-base percentage. The Warhawks went 12-9 in conference play and finished the year 23-24.

Tanner Toal, C, University of Oklahoma, Carroll 2009
Toal, a two-year letterman for Carroll Dragon coach Larry Hughes, finished his senior year at the University of Oklahoma this season. Toal started his college career at Howard Junior College, where he played two years and was a 2010 All-Conference Honorable mention and hit .357 with two home runs and 18 RBIs. He played 22 games as a freshman at OU and  hit .318 and with six RBI as the backup catcher. In 2012, Toal has helped lead the Sooners to another appearance in the NCAA regionals, hitting .263 in 32 games. He missed several games due to a knee injury. Toal graduated with a degree in Business.

Will Watson, 1B, Northwestern State, Carroll 2009
Watson, a two-time All-State first baseman at Carroll, just finished his junior year at Northwestern State inLouisiana. This season, Watson led the team with a .335  batting average and had 20 and a .420 on-base percentage.  Last year, as a sophomore, he played all 54 games for Northwestern State and hit .305.  His freshman year he also hit above .300, earning a final average of .322 and 34RBIs.  Watson is currently majoring in Business Administration.