The Oklahoma Christian University baseball team will kick off its 2019 season with an annually-held banquet to commemorate the senior class and to stimulate fellowship amongst family, friends and teammates later this evening.
As a special guest speaker, the team invited Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch to share his story and words of wisdom. Hinch is the uncle of redshirt senior Garrett Wages.
Upon guiding the Astros to their first World Series victory in 2017, Hinch looked to take his roster of young talent to a highly sought-after second championship ring in the 2018 season. Stricken with injury, the Astros fell to the hand of the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, cementing the end to their 103-win season.
Hinch, a graduate of Stanford University’s psychology program and seven-year big leaguer, is noted to be a “forward-thinker” amongst league analysts. He turned a four-year 90-loss squad into a perennial powerhouse and now has a career record of 353-266.
Oklahoma Christian assistant coach Andrew McGuire said he is excited to listen to the insight Hinch provides.
“We are honored to have Hinch speak with us,” McGuire said. “It is special for many reasons. Having him come speak with the guys and share his experiences and talk about the things he has gone through to become the coach he is, is going to be a great experience for our program.”
Redshirt senior Jared Price said he believes Hinch possesses an ample amount of information, which comes with being in and around the league for many years.
“It’s an honor to hear from a guy like Hinch,” Price said. “He is around big leaguers on a daily basis and was a big league player himself. His reputation speaks volumes. I’m sure he will have a great deal of insight for us and our team moving forward.”
Coinciding with the knowledge of Hinch, Price said the banquet creates a great medium where players can pay homage to the individuals who guided them along the way, while giving teammates and coaches the ability to deepen the relationship they have with players beyond the game itself. The graduating class uses this platform to directly speak with parents and coaches who have positively affected their time at Oklahoma Christian.
“Allowing the seniors to give a speech in honor of their parents and everything they have sacrificed to get them to where they are today is, personally, my favorite part,” Price said.
The culmination of both Hinch’s anecdotes and the tribute to the senior class effectively illustrates the atmosphere the team wants to embody throughout the course of its 2019 campaign.