Mavs back home accomplished, but wounded
Mesa State College baseball coach Chris Hanks and the Mavericks returned home disappointed.
The Mavericks came back home from the NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, N.C. with a long list of accomplishments as well.
The Mavericks (44-15) finished the 2009 season with their first Division II World Series appearance in school history.
They set the single-season batting average record (.376) and stolen bases (113). They tied the single-season triples record (32) also.
The 16 seniors led the way.
“They broke the trail for the program,” Hanks said. “We had a great year. Our opportunity to play for (a national championship) Saturday was against Emporia State if we got a timely hit.
“I felt we were the best team there. That was the assessment of a lot of neutral baseball people there that saw all eight teams practice too. We didn’t play our best.”
The biggest problem was getting hits in crucial situations, but there were other things Hanks took from the double-elimination tournament.
“Now, we are familiar with the park and how it plays,” Hanks said.
“We know better how to set up our pitching and how to handle the off days. I may take the team to hot yoga to get acclimated to the environment.”
Hanks alluded to making some adjustments with off time during the tournament as well.
“It’s excessively different than any of the teams deal with,” said Hanks of the time off in between games. “You go from games being packed into four days, then you have all these days off. We had the workouts, but mentally, we have to prepare for that and try to utilize the time off better.”
Getting back to the World Series, though, appears to be a tough road back with losing 16 seniors, including six starting position players led by two-time All-American Matt Bodenchuk. The shortstop broke the Mesa single-season RBI record with 91 and the career RBI record (218). He set the career doubles record with 65 also.
Another senior, Justin Little, leaves with three records as well. He set the career record in runs (229), hits (271) and stolen bases (66).
Grant Vickers, who made the ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-America team, graduates as well. The catcher made the college division second team with a 3.75 grade-point average
in finance. Starters Andrew Martinez, a Central High School graduate, Mike Provencher and Craig Lanzarotta are gone as well.
Mesa loses seven senior pitchers, including closer Aaron Guinn and starters Brent Lamaster, Chris Carma and Jason Fronczak. Andy Williams and T.J. Butch had some spot starts.
The returning starters are Daktronics second team All-American second baseman Kevin Becker. Outfielders Greg Anderson, Devon Davidson and Jeff Popick return next season as well.
Junior first baseman Marty Rover could stay put or move back to catcher. Austin Buck, who started at second base, could play at third.
Six pitchers with at least eight appearances this season return, including Chris Shea and Scott Bachman, who have started at least two games. None of them have logged more than 42 innings. They also have two seniors who redshirted coming back in Jack Amidei and T.J. Stastny.