NSU baseball heats up
TNE Editor

NSU baseball heats up

Published 4/7/17

Matt Reynolds

TNE Writer

The RiverHawk baseball program is over the halfway point in their 2017 season. NSU is starting to turn up the heat in the middle of the MIAA conference schedule. The RiverHawks appear to be on the way to a postseason birth in the MIAA conference tournament with an overall record of 17-12, 11-7 in conference play.

The RiverHawks’ second-year head coach Jake Hendrick credits unity as a big reason NSU is off to a great start in 2017.

“Success in a program only happens when a lot of quality people pull in a similar direction,” said Hendricks. “We don't always all pull exactly the same way, but I think for the most part, all involved in the baseball program are interested in moving together in a similar direction. That definitely makes success easier.”

With baseball having so many games, keeping the team focused on each day is key. Hendrick and his staff tell their players to not look ahead, but focus on the job at hand.

“I think we, as a team, really try to take things a day at a time, understanding that in baseball there will be ups and downs” said Hendrick.

In his first two seasons as head coach, Hendrick has been successful. NSU promoted Hendrick to the head coaching spot following the departure of Travis Jansen to Austin Peavy. Hendrick served as the RiverHawks’ pitching coach prior to accepting the promotion as the RiverHawks’ head baseball coach.

“I owe a lot of credit to those who have mentored me,” said Hendrick. “Those I respect the most in baseball helped prepare me for the challenges of being a head coach.”

Tony Duckworth, NSU athletic director, is excited with the direction of the RiverHawk baseball program.

“Coach Hendrick has assembled a capable team and solid staff that are in a very good positon to make some noise in the MIAA during this season,” said Duckworth. “There is a lot of baseball to be played, but RiverHawks Nation should be excited about baseball.”

Fans who have attended the RiverHawks’ games have been impressed with the team. The offensive firepower the RiverHawks have makes them fun to watch.

“This is a great group to watch play,” said Ross Smith, Checotah sophomore. “They are balanced with great pitching and some good hitters, as well.”

The RiverHawks’ bats have been the key to success as of late. This past week the RiverHawks’ leadoff hitter, Butch Rea was selected as the MIAA Hitter of the Week after leading the RiverHawks through four wins. To say Rea is batting well would be an understatement as he batted .579, 11 for 19, with eight runs scored and ten RBI.

The RiverHawks’ next home game is at 2 p.m., Tuesday, April 11 against the University of Central Oklahoma.

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