MSC baseball players move on to four-year colleges
Several Murray State College Aggies have signed on to play baseball at the next level. In fact, all the graduating sophomores from the 2014 team are headed to college in the fall.
“When we recruit players, we consider academic performance as well as performance on the field,” says MSC Head Baseball Coach Zach Crabtree. “It’s important to us that these guys finish their degrees and continue on in school, whether they play baseball or not.”
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is getting three Aggies. Right-handed pitcher John Watson, outfielder Blake Campo, and manager Jake Mitzner will all be Lopers starting this fall.
Watson is the son of Bryan Watson and Susan Watson of Bethel Acres, Oklahoma. A red-shirt his first year, Watson spent three years in the Aggie system. MSC Head Baseball Coach Zach Crabtree says Watson developed each year. He says that in Watson, UNK is getting a great teammate.”
“He’s a great program guy with a great attitude,” says Crabtree. “He’s a hard worker, and never complains…just a great teammate. He’ll get a chance to go up there and pitch. He pounds the strike zone. He can throw three pitches for a strike which will give him a chance to pitch at the four-year level.”
Blake Campo is the son Diane Campo of Ardmore, Oklahoma. He played in left field for the Aggies, but Coach Crabtree predicts a move for Campo.
“He’ll probably play center field,” says Crabtree. “Defensively he’s a really good player. He’s very athletic. His biggest assets are his energy, his competitiveness, and his ability to lead his teammates. That will give him an opportunity to step in and play right away.”
Jake Mitzner, originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is the son of John Mitzner of Durant, Oklahoma. He received a manager’s scholarship to UNK. Like Watson, Mitzner was with the Aggie program for three years.
“He was around here for a lot of wins,” says Crabtree. “His biggest asset is his passion for the program he’s in, and for the team. He does a lot of things that guys don’t realize that he does until he’s not there. He’ll do a good job up there.”
John Hayes, the son of Steve and Becky Hayes of Pottsboro, Texas signed with Wichita State University. In addition to his talent on the field, Hayes excels in the classroom. He graduated from MSC with honors. Crabtree says the right-handed pitcher has a lot of positives on his side.
“He’s got a lot of upside with his frame and how hard he throws the baseball,” says Crabtree. “He’s getting an opportunity to go to a tradition-rich program. With his three pitches he’ll have a chance to compete and see some playing time. He’s got to be more consistent in his approach and competitiveness, but if he does that, then the sky’s the limit for him.”
Brian Greisman, son of Richard and Sandy Greisman from Ardmore, Oklahoma is heading to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. The right-handed pitcher heads to a program that was ranked at the top of the NAIA most of the 2014 season.
“He’s another guy with tremendous upside,” says Crabtree. “He’s just got to channel his energy and emotions in the right direction and get out of his own way. If he does that he has a chance to be a really good pitcher. He’s got a good body, good frame…and he can pitch.”
Outfielder Austin Stewart and infielders Jake Hooper and Colt Pickens head to Edmond to join the University of Central Oklahoma team.
Colt Pickens is the son of Brent and Sharyl Pickens of Yukon. Pickens was the starting second baseman for the Aggies. He finished the season with a .363 batting average, with12 doubles, 9 homeruns, and 28 RBIs. He also scored 53 runs for the Aggies. Crabtree calls Pickens one of the toughest players he’s ever coached.
“On the baseball field is really hard-nosed. He’s really tough,” says Crabtree. “I don’t know that I’ve ever coached a tougher guy. He played injured for two years here. He’s a difference maker on the field. UCO is getting one of the best second basemen in the country on the field.”
Austin Stewart is the son of Mark and Rachel Stewart of Rockwall, Texas. After graduating from Rockwall Heath High School, Stewart went to Northeastern Oklahoma A & M where he spent his freshman year. Crabtree says Stewart will be a good addition for UCO Head Baseball Coach Dax Leone.
“He had a really good year and it helped him get a really good scholarship to UCO,” says Crabtree. “He hit around 300, but his biggest asset is his defensive ability in center field…taking away runs and hits. He’ll really help them as he did for us last year.”
Jake Hooper is the son of Jack and Lisa Hooper of Norman. Crabtree says Hooper was a player who could come off the bench and get his job done.
“He didn’t get to play a lot for us, but he worked hard and matured a lot while he was here,” says Crabtree. “He was just behind guys for two years here and it was hard for him to get an every-day opportunity. He got a lot better on the baseball field. He was a guy who, when he had opportunities, he did well. He’ll go to UCO and be competitive for playing time.”
Hunter Meyn, the son of Eric and Brandy Meyn of Yukon, has signed on to play at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. In Meyn, Coker College is getting a standout athlete and student. At Yukon High School, Meyn was named All-District 6A Football defensive back, was a 2-time state qualifier in track and baseball. He had two state appearances for baseball, and three for football. He graduated from both Yukon High School, and Murray State College with honors.
“He’s got great character. He’s a great person on and off the field,” says Crabtree. “He works extremely hard, and will be a great asset to any program just due to his character. He was behind three really good outfielders here, so he didn’t get as much playing time as he would have liked. But he got a lot better, and he’ll get an opportunity to step in and play there at Coker College.”
Chase Crites, son of Doyen and Debbie Crites of Durant, has signed with Panhandle State University in Goodwell, OK. Due to injuries, Crites didn’t see a lot of time on the field for the Aggies in 2014. Crabtree says Crites has a chance to have a great career at Panhandle State.
“He was hurt a lot this year, which cut into his playing time,” says Crabtree. “He’s a great young man. He’s a great program guy, who works hard and never complains. I think he’ll get to go to Panhandle State and start at either third or first base, and have a good two years for them.”
Despite only getting 63 at-bats on the season, Crites earned ticket to play for Panhandle. He joins Hunter Meyn (34 at-bats) and Jake Hooper (26 at-bats) as Aggies with limited playing time who still impressed recruiters. Crabtree says it shows the caliber of the athletes recruited to play at MSC.
“I think it really says a lot about the type of players that we have, when guys who didn’t start all the time or get as many at-bats are getting scholarships to move on,” he says. “It says volumes about these young men.”
Another Aggie who didn’t get much playing time was B.W. Savage. A member of the 2013 Championship Team, Savage decided to come back for one more year with the Aggies…despite the fact that he already had a spot waiting for him at Oklahoma State University.
“He actually knew that he was going to go to school at OSU last fall,” says Crabtree. “He graduated from Murray State in the spring of 2013. He wasn’t going to play after he left here, so he decided to stay one more year with the team.”
Savage, the son of Basil Jr. and Elizabeth Savage from Madill, was injured most of the 2013 season. That led him to assume more of a leadership role in the team. A role that Crabtree says Savage excelled in. “B.W. is as good a leader and teammate as I’ve had in my four years coaching at Murray State College. He’s just a great young man.”
All the 2014 Aggies who have signed are: Daniel Arthur (Wright State), Blake Campo (University of Nebraska at Kearney), Connor Counce (Southeastern Oklahoma State University), Chase Crites (Oklahoma Panhandle State), Brian Greisman (Oklahoma Baptist University), Brandon Grimsley (Southeastern Oklahoma State University), John Hayes (Wichita State University), Jake Hooper (University of Central Oklahoma), Bradley Horn (University of Dayton), Brance Kahle (Incarnate Word University), Hunter Meyn (Coker College), Jake Mitzner (University of Nebraska at Kearney, manager’s scholarship), Colt Pickens (University of Central Oklahoma), Hunter Raley (University of Oklahoma), B.W. Savage (Oklahoma State University, not playing), Austin Stewart (University of Central Oklahoma), John Watson (University of Nebraska at Kearney).