BOLIVAR – Last year, Southwest Baptist University (SBU) Bearcats Head Coach Chris Martin led his team to a winning season on the baseball field, and this season he has high hopes for the team.
During the 2014 season, the SBU Bearcats entered the post-season for the first time since 1999, and they had nine All Conference players, as well as the program’s first All American player.
“We had some good guys do some really good things, and as a group they’ve been able to accomplish a lot,” said Martin, who is now in his fourth year as SBU baseball head coach.
“The league is really tough,” he added, expressing confidence about the 2015 season. “But this is the most talented team I’ve been a part of. … We feel like God has really blessed us in our time here.
“The experience for me has been way more rewarding than I would have ever imagined it to be,” he added, speaking of his role as head coach.
While he hopes the team has a winning season, Martin also insists that the baseball program at SBU is “not just about wins and losses.” It is about student growth in every area of life. He wants to help his players develop as athletes, students and leaders, and he also encourages them to have a healthy social life. But most importantly, he wants them to grow spiritually. For this reason, the team meets weekly for Bible study.
“That is the most important thing we do,” Martin said. “It lets us grow together as a team,” and many players have grown spiritually as a result. In order to encourage further growth, Martin is leading the SBU Bearcats this fall off of the baseball field and onto the mission field.
With help from the SBU missions department, the Bearcats have organized a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Score International, a group that recruits teams to lead international sports camps. Martin predicted that the team will lead baseball camp each morning and share the gospel in the area each afternoon.
“What a great opportunity for us to grow together as a group and then grow as believers,” Martin said. “We’ve got a season to play before then, but once that is over, we’ll be really excited about the trip.”