Senior psychology and business administration major Matt Crawford came to Jewell four years ago, but he’s not ready to leave just yet. He took a redshirt his first year as a pitcher on the baseball team and will return to play a final season.
“It wasn’t until this past Christmas break that I decided to come back to exercise my fourth and final year of NCAA eligibility, but I am really excited that I get the opportunity to come back for another year of education and baseball,” said Crawford.
Being a member of the baseball team has helped him grow as an individual both on and off the field. He has developed physical and mental skills that will benefit him in his future.
“Playing baseball here has basically taught me three things: how to work hard, how to pay attention to detail and how to have fun while doing the first two things. As a team, we pride ourselves on outworking our opponents, and that is something that I will definitely take with me in the real world,” said Crawford.
Crawford and the team take playing baseball seriously, but they still have fun. The team has incorporated a FunZone into their dugout, meaning all the pitchers cheer as loudly as possible for the rest of the team.
“Other teams hate playing us because we have so much fun in the dugout,” said Crawford.
Crawford has taken the initiative to be a leader of the FunZone. Sometimes he has taken the fun a little too far, but he has many memories to look back on.
“An umpire threatened to throw me out of the game for dancing too much,” said Crawford.
But it’s not all fun and games. Crawford also looks back on the successes the team has had. He considers last year’s game against Drury to be his greatest accomplishment on the field. Entering into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Cardinals trailed 9-1, but they were able to come all the way back and win the game. Crawford pitched the last two scoreless innings and ensured the win.
“I was really proud of how the whole team really came together and never gave up. It was a great experience and I am really glad I was able to play a part in the win,” said Crawford.
The memories he has made as a member of the team will extend beyond his years on the Hill, as will the relationships he has formed. Crawford considers the entire team to be one big family.
“William Jewell baseball is a brotherhood that every current and past player share, and I feel very honored to be a part of something so special,” said Crawford.
Reflecting on the past four years, Crawford says he wouldn’t do anything differently.
“Regrets? I really don’t have any right off the top of my head. A cute girl once told me ‘good luck at your game,’ and I replied with, ‘thanks, you too.’ I regret saying that,” said Crawford.
Looking ahead to his final season, Crawford hopes the team can achieve greater accomplishments. He wants the team to win a national championship.
“We will be losing a lot of key components to the team, but I think we have a good foundation built for a successful future,” said Crawford.
Photos by Kyle Rivas.