What a steal
Single-season stolen base record pleases Mavs' Hanks
Braden Box wasn’t the only one to break a Mesa school record last weekend when he set the career stolen bases mark.
The fourth-ranked Mavericks baseball team set a single-season stolen bases record as well.
Their 18 stolen bases last weekend give them 120 for the season. The previous record was 113, set in the 2009 World Series year.
“I told Coach (Sean) McKinney if we don’t get the record this year, he’s out of a job,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said with a smirk. “He got busy and coached them up. One of our strengths is team speed. We want to utilize that to our advantage.”
The Mavericks (34-6, 28-2 RMAC), who used to be one of the top hitting teams in the nation, are sixth in Division II in stolen bases.
“With these new bats, we learned to play the small game again and advance on bases because you don’t have the long ball as often,” Box said. “When I got here, they put emphasis on it. Last year, we really took it to a whole new level. This year, everyone is taking it to a new level.”
Box swiped three bags last weekend to give him 68 for his career, breaking Justin Little’s career record of 66 set in 2009.
“It’s a cool accomplishment, but it’s really working toward the overall goal,” Box said. “We like to push. We like to run. I’m glad to set the example.”
Box has 17 stolen bases this season. He had 30 last year and 21 in 2011 in his first season after transferring from Tacoma (Wash.) Community College.
“The impact Braden Box has on our team is he’s always ready to play,” Hanks said. “He always approaches the game from a team standpoint. He’s a relentless competitor that won’t go away. He’ll fight you tooth and nail.
“He alters pitchers’ approach to pitching when he’s on the bases. He disrupts their rhythm. When Box is on base, I imagine the batting average of the player at the plate goes up. He diverts pitchers’ attention.”
Mavs ranked No. 1 in region
Colorado Mesa is ranked No. 1 in the first NCAA South Central Region poll, released Wednesday. If the Mavs can hold on to the top spot in the region, they could host the regional tournament, pending NCAA approval. No other RMAC schools are ranked in the region.
Colorado Mesa has put in an application with the NCAA to host the South Central Region tournament, Hanks said.
“We’re excited with where we’re at,” Hanks said of the No. 1 region ranking. “We’re excited about the new region. When people think of baseball states, there are about four states that come to people’s mind — California, Arizona, Texas and Florida. We would love nothing more than our first year being in this region to force the Texas schools to come to our beautiful facility and experience the hospitality of Grand Junction, Colorado.”
Men’s track and field decathlete Randy Brown posted an NCAA provisional mark last weekend at the Western State Colorado Invitational.
His score of 6,222 ranks 25th in the nation and is first in the RMAC. He leads other RMAC men’s decathletes by more than 500 points.
Brown is competing in the decathlon for the first time in two years, when he was at Western State. He will have one more opportunity to improve his score at the RMAC Championships, May 5-7 in Golden.
Whitney Rowe and Shane Niksic have each posted provisional times already this spring — Rowe in the 100-meter dash and Niksic in the 800.
Colorado Mesa’s softball team will honor its four seniors — Megan Smith, Lisa Pille, Taylor Gross and Camille Brimhall — on Sunday. It will be the final home games of their careers.
The Mavericks (22-15-1, 20-11-1 RMAC) host Chadron State (Neb.) College in a four-game series. The teams play doubleheaders at noon Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday at Bergman Field.
Mesa dropped out of the NCAA South Central Region rankings Wednesday, but it has qualified for the RMAC tournament May 2-4 in Golden.
The CMU Swimming & Diving team is hosting a fundraiser car wash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Sutherland’s, 405 F Road.