MCC Baseball: A New Beginning

MCC BASEBALL: A NEW BEGINNING

By Mark Janssen

Do you own a baseball glove? A bat? Have you ever had a dream to play college baseball?

If the answer is yes, then give Chad Jagerson a call at Manhattan Christian College.

“We’re not turning anyone away,” said MCC’s first-year baseball coach. “What we’re offering our recruits is guaranteed playing time.”

After a one-year hiatus, Thunder baseball is returning in 2018 with the season opening games set for Feb. 2 and 3 in Shawnee, Okla., against Oklahoma Baptist University.

“Our goal is to be competitive in every game,” said Jagerson, who also coached the MCC women’s soccer team this past fall after the program could not compete in 2016 due to a lack of numbers. “Baseball is my love. When they said they were bringing baseball back and offered me the opportunity to coach the team, I was excited.”

Traveling to tournaments and through on-line recruiting, Jagerson assembled a 25-man team last fall, but then lost seven of those due to a variety of reasons heading into the new semester.

“Our players are going to have to be utility players who are willing to play a number of different positions,” said Jagerson of the lack of squad depth. “That includes our pitchers. I’m guessing all but one or two of our pitchers will also be asked to play positions in the infield and outfield.”

2018 ROSTER

The 2018 roster includes one junior, three sophomores and 14 freshmen. Of those, 13 are Kansans, plus other representatives from Texas (2), Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri.

“It will definitely be a building year, but I think we’ll be exciting to watch,” said Jagerson, who tipped his cap to the MCC admissions staff for their efforts in finalizing the roster. “We have some guys who can hit it in the gap or over the fence, but we’ll also bunt and do whatever it takes to manufacture some runs. We have some guys who can really run.”

While early, Jagerson points to James Wyman, Tyler McIntosh and Tanner Morris as the potential leaders at the plate, while Morris, Larry Santos and Dakota Shurts could be the early go-to arms on the mound.

“We lost some pitchers at semester, which really hurts our pitching depth,” said Jagerson. “With just 18 players and over 50 games scheduled, anyone who has ever pitched will have an opportunity. We promised all of these guys playing time when we recruited them, and we weren’t lying.”

           

COACH JAGERSON

Jagerson’s playing career included middle infield work at Junction City High School, followed by two years of playing at Sterling College and two more at Baker University.

Whether in soccer or baseball, Jagerson said of his coaching philosophy; “Work hard, play hard.  I know that God gifted me with the ability to coach, and to me it comes down to that … working hard and playing hard.”

He added, “My dream in life was to be a professional baseball player, but an arm injury took care of that dream. That’s when I eventually let God lead me on a path that has allowed me to fulfill another dream of being a college coach at a faith-based school.”

Jagerson has previously coached at Junction City High School, at the high school and middle school level in Phoenix, and with multiple youth teams in Kansas City.

Assisting Jagerson will be Dave Clukey and Steve Pearson

VICTORY COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE

There isn’t a Midwestern Christian College Conference for baseball, so MCC has joined the southern-based Victory Collegiate Baseball Conference.

The five-team league will consist of Arlington Baptist, Dallas Christian, Ecclesia College in Springfield Ark., Randall University and now MCC

The teams will play four-game series with the Thunder traveling to Randall and Arlington Baptist, and hosting Ecclesia on April 20-21 and Dallas Christian on April 27-28.

“It will be a tough conference in that in baseball it’s all Division I schools,” said Jagerson. “Plus, out of conference we’ll be playing NAIA teams, NCAA Division II teams and KCAC teams that have players on scholarship.”

Of the 50-plus game schedule that looms ahead, Jagerson said, “The goal the players have set is to be over .500. My goal is for other teams to not want to play us because they know we’ll play hard and they know we won’t quit.”

NO PLACE TO CALL HOME

MCC is scheduled to open its home season on Feb. 13 against Mid-America Nazarene University, but the question remains as to where the game will be played.

Scheduling conflicts with Manhattan High School has eliminated Eisenhower Field from the equation, so Jagerson says the search is on for open fields in Junction City, Topeka and Wamego to play MCC’s home games.

Some practices are being conducted at Jerry Wilson Field in the Manhattan City Park and possibly the Blue Field at CiCo Park, but neither of those facilities has a grass infield.

THE LAST TIME OUT

The Thunder last played baseball in 2016 when Jimmy McDonald’s team posted a 19-21 record.

Prior to that MCC went 0-42 and 5-40 seasons in 2015 and 2014, respectively, under coach Kasey Guinty.

 

 

2018 THUNDER BASEBALL ROSTER

Junior

Dalten Blake, 2B, Salina, Kansas

Sophomores

Kole Johnston, 3B, P, Shawnee, Kansas

Buck Hayes, P, Abilene, Kansas

Cade Pearson, OF, Jefferson City, Missouri

Freshmen

Ian Lecki, P, IF, Overland Park, Kansas

Dakota Shurts, 2B, P, Beloit, Kansas

Kaleb Schuckman, Utility, Valley Center, Kansas

Larry Santos, OF, P, Portland, Texas

Tanner Morris, SS, P, Leavenworth, Kansas

Tyler McIntosh, OF, P, Omaha, Nebraska

Moriah Manes, C, IF, Olathe, Kansas

James Wyman, OF, IF, Blue Springs, Missouri

Austin Perry, 1B, P, Wiggins, Colorado

Seth Savage, P, Florence, Kansas

Conor O’Boyle, 1B, Manhattan, Kansas

Zachary Huelson, 2B, Olathe, Kansas

Mario Cabrera, Of, IF, Topeka, Kansas

Caleb McDonald, C, Overland Park, Kansas

MCC Scoreboard

10/12/2019 | Womens Volleyball vs. Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 3-0 
10/12/2019 | Womens Volleyball at Ozark Christian College | W, 3-0 
10/12/2019 | Mens Soccer at Ozark Christian College | W, 3-1 
10/9/2019 | Mens Soccer at Nebraska Christian College | W, 2-0 
10/8/2019 | Mens Soccer vs. Barclay College | W, 13-0