Bottom of the sixth for the lions

The 2020-2021 UNA baseball team has a dozen new sign-ons. They hail from all over the country, and for a reason. The search for talent includes a pool of hundreds, but narrows down to a select few when certain parameters are taken into account. The importance of picking a good team is not just to consider talent but heart as well. 

“One of the neatest things is when you see somebody do something that they weren’t and then they understand what we’re doing,” head coach Mike Keehn said. “You see them not only get better as a player, but also get better as a student and a person.” 

 

Keehn expressed how content he was in the decision to recruit these select few along with recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Anthony DeCicco. He and DeCicco work tirelessly to recruit a quality team, a quality in which the players and two other coaches have a hand in preserving. 

“One of the reasons I do this is because I think it’s more than just the wins and losses, it’s about making sure they’re going to be 

good people in our society,” Keehn said. 

As the recruiting coordinator, assistant coach DeCicco essentially takes care of the recruiting process; what the title calls for. What he also does is find people who will fit into their baseball family. Keehn has noted his aptitude for discovering members, and to that DeCicco said:

“I try.”

Out of the twelve players in the lineup, all of the ones that could be reached felt the same about the program; that it was an enriching opportunity.

“I’m super excited to get to be around such a great group of players and coaches,” right handed pitcher Brycen Parrish said. 

Brotherhood on the team is a staple. In spending time together growing better at the sport, growing closer as teammates follows suit. 

“The people we want to bring in have

to mesh together with our philosophies and with our morals and standards of how we like to operate on a daily basis,” DeCicco said. 

Keehn has a print of a Norman Rockwell painting hanging up in a small wooden frame on the wall of his office. Titled “Bottom of the Sixth” it shows several officials and team members in the middle of a baseball game 

gazing sullenly at the sky, raindrops starting to fall. He noted how this scene by one of his favorite artists relates to the game itself. 

“I just thought that picture kind of exemplified what we deal with here in making a decision on the weather,” Keehn said. “It’s one of those more complicated [choices] – it seems simple – but you’ve seen the weather, it changes so rapidly. 

Norman Rockwell is best known for his snapshot-like paintings of 

everyday life. His works exemplify the pride of small-town living. The 2020-2021 Lions hope to do the same, though their Pride is a little bit different. Keehn’s comment on his Rockwell print and what it means is reminiscent of the hope that their choices will positively affect them. 

“Sometimes you make a decision and you just have to go with it,” Keehn said.