With senior John Beaudrie of Cody in the bullpen, the Colorado Mesa University baseball team recently finished runner-up in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Cary, N.C.
No. 1 CMU faced No. 2 University of Tampa in the game in mid-June and lost 3-1.
“Making the championship was our goal, and to be one of the last two teams is the best you can ask for,” he said. “It was a fun and an exciting game. We definitely had a chance to go out and win.”
The Mavericks opened the tournament against No. 8 New York Institute of Technology and won 11-4. They then defeated No. 5 Central Missouri 6-5. In the semifinals they faced Central Missouri again and lost 7-5. That set up a rubber match, with CMU defeating the Mules 1-0 to advance to the title game.
“Overall it was good,” Beaudrie said. “There were some ups and downs, but this is the best group of guys I’ve played baseball with. They’re hard-nosed.”
Beaudrie came in during the loss to Central Missouri, pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up two runs on six hits.
“I was happy,” he said of his performance. “I kept the team in it and that’s what mattered.”
There were some butterflies before taking the mound.
“If you’re not nervous, you’re not doing it right, but I enjoyed the game,” he said. “It’s not life or death – it’s just baseball. You learn to make it fun and just go compete.”
Colorado Mesa ended its season with a 53-12 overall mark, the best in program history. It was also the seventh-straight season with 40 wins. The team was the regular season champs, and also won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament and South Central Regional.
“The standard is excellence and if you’re not performing you’re not playing,” he said of CMU’s program. “College baseball is cutthroat. To play you have to perform.”
This was the fourth trip to the National Championships for the Mavericks. They last made the tournament in 2017 and also finished as the National Runner-up in 2014.
Beaudrie wasn’t with the team in 2017 and was glad he got to experience nationals this season.
“It’s a different level of competition and work you have to put in, but we’re all going through the same thing which makes it easier,” he said of the commitment. “The guys want to win all the time, have a good attitude and work hard.”
In his freshman year, the team won the RMAC Championship and played in the NCAA South Central Regionals. Beaudrie made 12 appearances and had a 2.25 ERA out of the bullpen. He pitched 6.1 innings of relief in the NCAA Regional game against Lubbock Christian.
The following year he made six appearances before he tore the labrum in his right shoulder and redshirted. He also sat out his junior season entirely as he worked back. As a senior, he pitched in 14 games and had a 5.98 ERA.
“I jumped back in during the fall quickly and was confident,” he said. “My arm felt good.”
While he has another year of eligibility, Beaudrie said he likely won’t play next season as he begins the process of applying for medical school.
This summer he is the assistant coach for the Cody Legion A baseball program and said he’s trying to impart to the players many of the things he learned in college.
“I want them to continue to learn the little details,” he said. “It’s a finite game so the little details are important.”