Provencher, Guinn back to playing ball

Mesa State’s Mike Provencher (20) reacts after belting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against Belmont Abbey College

Baseball careers ended a month ago for several Mesa State College seniors, but two of them are keeping their Major League dreams alive.

All-Region players Mike Provencher and Aaron Guinn recently signed contracts with separate independent league teams.

Provencher signed a pro contract last Thursday with the El Paso Diablos, an independent team in the American Association of Baseball.

Guinn signed a contract Sunday with the Washington (Pa.) Wild Things of the Frontier League.

Guinn tried to recruit Provencher to sign with the Wild Things, but Provencher couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play in his hometown.

“It’s kind of surreal,” he said. “Friday night, they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the stadium.

There were fireworks after the game.

“When I put on the jersey and walked out onto the field, it was surreal. It was weird. I looked at the seats I sat in to watch games.”

The former Mesa State College All-Region right fielder played his first game Friday night, going 2 for 3 with a double in a 5-0 victory before a crowd of 7,968. El Paso has an average attendance of 3,954 in 18 games this season.

“My first at-bat I was definitely excited,” Provencher said. “I grounded out to second base, but it’s the same game. Our catcher told me, ‘I know you’re a rookie and this is your first game and you are excited, but take a look at the diamond. It’s the same game.’ All the guys have taken me
under their wing. “The fans are cheering me on because I’m an El Paso kid. The second baseman is, too.”

Provencher was 2 for 3 with two singles Saturday night.

He is playing third base for the Diablos (17-18).

“I played there my sophomore year a little bit,” said Provencher, who was an All-American shortstop for the Mavericks in 2008. “I practice there sometimes. I’m comfortable at any position.
It’s called the hot corner for a reason. It’s the same as short, just a different angle.”

Guinn, who was the Mesa State closer, hasn’t pitched yet, but he and Provencher are simply thrilled to have the opportunity.

“The general manager told me they get scouted heavily,” Provencher said.
Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said they will be watched by Major League team scouts and could get an opportunity if they play well.

“The two leagues the guys are in are aggressively scouted by the Major Leagues,” said Mesa State coach Chris Hanks, who played in the Boston Red Sox farm system. “If they do well, there is a chance they’ll get picked up. This is their best option since they didn’t get drafted.”

Hanks said Brent Lamaster was offered a contract by the Wild Things as well, but hasn’t signed to his knowledge. All-American shortstop Matt Bodenchuk, 24, or pitcher Jason Fronczak haven’t received offers or signed with an independent team, Hanks said.


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