The Pit crew
Student cheering section gives Mesa a boost at Suplizio
A group of Hawaiian Colorado Mesa students showed up for the first home baseball game of the season with a drum, cheering and heckling, and they’ve been there for every home game since.
The students, who call themselves “The Pit,” have inspired the fifth-ranked Mavericks (40-10) to an undefeated home season. Colorado Mesa has won all 27 of its games at Suplizio Field this season.
Their support has helped the Mavericks earn the right to host the NCAA Division II South Central Region tournament, which begins today and goes through Sunday. The region champion advances to the World Series on May 24-31 in Cary, N.C.
The Colorado Mesa players credit The Pit for their success.
“They are a huge reason for our success,” senior Austin Kaiser said. “They keep a consistent energy, and they are loud the entire game. They are funny. At least for me, I enjoy getting ready to hit listening to them. They keep all of us more loose.”
Junior pitcher Nevin Wilson, who transferred to Mesa from Division I Vanderbilt, said they are the best student section in all of college baseball.
“You’ve got to give it to The Pit,” Wilson said. “That’s the best student section I’ve seen in Division I or any level when it comes to students caring about how we play and having fun.
“There’s nothing better than The Pit. We really appreciate them and the energy they give us.”
The Pit showed up for the first game of the season with a drum. It distracted Mesa’s opponent, Dixie State, so much they asked to have it removed.
“Dixie tried having the drum removed, and they were successful one day until the Pit found out it wasn’t against the rules, so they brought it back the next day,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “Unfortunately, I think the drum is illegal in NCAA (tournament) play. They’re still going to be there and will bang on the bleachers or something.”
The Pit has its own Twitter handle and Facebook page.
They don’t just show up. They know the players on each team and their statistics.
They have simple chants such as “K, K, K, K” when an opposing batter strikes out. When an opposing batter watches a called strike, one of the guys yells, “May I help you?” The rest chime in, “No, just looking.”
“The K chant is something that popped up,” Pit ringleader Josh Adams said. “Baseball is an individual sport within a team sport. We have a drum and thought we might as well bring it.”
The K chant is a popular one, especially with the Mesa pitchers.
“It’s got to be the K chant, whenever someone strikes out,” Wilson said of his favorite Pit antic. “I’ve been guilty of pitching with two strikes and trying to gear up so I can hear the K chant myself. That’s the No. 1 hit, hands down, for me. They know baseball. They’re smart fans.”
Another line they use, “I’ve seen better arms on a chair.”
“A lot of it is cheesy lines we’ve heard in Little League or found on the Internet,” Adams said.
Adams graduates Saturday, but he said they have started recruiting the freshmen to keep the tradition going next year.
Colorado Mesa pitcher Trent Allianic lives with one of the guys in The Pit, but he wasn’t aware of their plans until they showed up at the ballpark with the drum.
“It was a distraction at first, but I got used to it,” Allianic said. “They bring a different atmosphere. We don’t want to lose at home. With them there, we don’t want to lose in front of them, either.”
The CMU athletic administration invited The Pit to softball games this spring, and they joined the baseball team for the selection show Sunday night, sharing in the elation when the Mavericks learned they would host the regional.
“They’re good kids,” Hanks said. “We had to get on them a little bit so they don’t get too rank. We don’t want that, but we don’t want to damper the enthusiasm. Baseball needs atmosphere.
“They add spirit to the game. We’re very appreciative of what they’ve done. They’ve been our 10th man.”