No. 3 Colorado Mesa Looks Primed for Another World Series Run
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.--Expectations are always high for the Mesa baseball program, but few could have predicted this.
"I knew we were going to have a good year, I just didn't know we'd have this good of a year," senior right-handed pitcher Matt Williams said. "Only losing two times in the conference so far, it's ridiculous. It's unheard of, really, so it's awesome to be in the position we're in."
Since Chris Hanks took over in 1999, the Mavs have reached the NCAA Tournament 10 times and claimed nine RMAC titles. So, it's no surprise this year's team has found success.
But in mid-April, CMU is ranked third in the country, sitting at 34-6, and holding the top spot in the first regional rankings.
"We thought this team had the makings of being very good," Hanks said. I don't know that you know ever how good, and there's still a lot of season left. But it's still something that has to be earned. And they have to respect the game and the people they play, and play against the ball. And if they do those, I think the sky could be the limit."
So, the ultimate goal? The Division II World Series, and the Mavs look primed to make their second trip in program history; however, the road to Cary, N.C. might be a little different this time around.
Mesa's 2009 team dropped six of their final nine games, including going two-and-out at the RMAC Tournament, then won the NCAA Regional to advance to the World Series.
"I though that the '09 team got careless," Hanks said. "They thought they were just good and could just show up. I haven't really seen it with this team."
Although the Mavs have clinched the conference title with eight games to go, the team doesn't think they've played to their full potential.
"We've got a great group of guys out here," sophomore shortstop Nate Robertson said. "I really don't feel like we have, all around, played the best we can play. Which is pretty scary."
"I think you only know where you peaked when the season's over, you know what I mean," Hanks said. "We've played good at times. Can we play better? I think so. Will we play better? I don't know. We're pushing them to try to do that. But I don't think we'll know for sure until the dust settles and we turn in uniforms."
Something this team doesn't plan on doing anytime soon.