Bartlesville, Okla. — Coach Matt Parker for sometime now, has been quietly working on a blue print to turn the Oklahoma Wesleyan University baseball program into a national championship contender.
After winning 42 games in his first season and 31 the following year, Parker, now into his third season as the head coach at OKWU, is already enjoying his best campaign in charge, with the Eagles improving to 45-6 on the year, a mark which is a NAIA-best and school best record thus far.
This impressive run has not gone unnoticed either, as Oklahoma Wesleyan, which started the term unranked, rapidly jumped into the top five of the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll for the first time-ever.
Parker admits that at the start of the year this wasn’t something he and his coaching had predicted, but added that the current accomplishment is a reward for the hard work the players have been putting in.
“I think the No. 5 ranking is a great reflection of all the hard work our players have put into this season,” the coach said on Wednesday.
“I do not think you could predict a top 5 ranking. However, as coaches, we felt like this group of guys had a chance to be special if they continued to work like they did during fall practice.
There was even more reward for the Eagles, as it’s 19-1 conference record piloted the team to its first-ever Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season crown.
OKWU is also currently on an 18 game winning streak, with it’s last defeat coming on March 28, against MCAC rivals Bellevue (Neb.).
“The MCAC regular season title is a huge milestone for our program,” Parker revealed. “Our guys have done a tremendous job of reminding themselves that they accomplished this goal by working extremely hard and focusing only on the next day.
“We have always talked about rankings, awards, and accomplishments are a reflection of what you have already done and not what you must do moving forward.
“This team has certainly understood this mindset and continue to work every day.”
2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 5 (April 22)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma Baptist (18)||40-6||589|
|2||3||Faulkner (Ala.) (2)||39-10||566|
|3||2||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (1)||35-6||560|
|7||5||San Diego Christian (Calif.)||35-15||478|
|8||9||LSU Shreveport (La.)||37-12||451|
|12||12||The Master’s (Calif.)||35-13||370|
|15||17||Southern Poly (Ga.)||36-15||306|
|17||18||Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)||34-5||275|
|23||22||Point Park (Pa.)||35-13||204|
Others receiving votes: Jamestown (N.D.) 73; William Woods (Mo.) 66; St. Thomas (Fla.) 49; Midland (Neb.) 33; Judson (Ill.) 28; Talladega (Ala.) 28; Davenport (Mich.) 23; Tennessee Wesleyan 19; Northwood (Texas) 14; Vanguard (Calif.) 12; Friends (Kan.) 8; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 7; LSU Alexandria (La.) 7; Mobile (Ala.) 5; Mayville State (N.D.) 3.