What’s that old adage, “Be careful what you wish for?” The Avila University baseball team realized a long-term goal and dream when it qualified for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in school history. But the tournament wasn’t too kind to the Eagles once they got there.
The Eagles’ season ended with a 15-5 loss to the University of Texas-Brownsville the early afternoon of May 19 in Lubbock, Texas. A day earlier, they’d fallen 11-1 in their opening game of the double-elimination tournament to York College out of Nebraska.
But enough of that. In getting to the national tournament, the Eagles accomplished a great many things. Among them:
They finished the season 35-15 and won a share of the Heart of America Athletic Conference championship, their fourth league title in nine seasons.
After getting crushed 15-4 by Missouri Valley in their opening game of the conference post-season tournament, the Eagles somehow righted themselves and won four straight games to win the tournament and earn their first national tournament berth.
By winning their first seven games and 13 of their first 15, the Eagles got off to the best start to a season in the program’s history.
Pitcher Nate Adamson, a junior from Panaca, Nev., threw 15 strikeouts in a game, setting a school record.
The team won nine straight games and was 12-4 overall through the month of April.
A total of 10 players earned all-HAAC honors, including first-teamers Eric Prickett, Mario Auseillo, Brandon Pearl, Oscar Rodarte and Taylor Monjo. Nathan Bacon earned second-team honors, while Tim Matson, Corey Stuefer, Andy Valarde and Jorge Gonzalez garnered honorable mention. Prickett, Pearl and Matson all earned Gold Gloves as the top fielders at their positions in the conference.
Coach Ryan Howard was honored as the HAAC coach of the year for the third time in nine years.
While the season certainly didn’t end to the satisfaction of Eagles players, coaches and fans, there were plenty of good things to build upon as the team looks to next season.
The team currently is on its way home and is expected to arrive back on campus late this evening.
About Avila University
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.