bluefield — Baseball has become a subject of conversation at Bluefield State. Tanner Muovich has been happy to talk about it, too.
“Even around campus I had never really heard mentions of the baseball team,” said Muovich, a senior pitcher for the Big Blues. “We struggled a lot, but now I have professors coming up to me wishing us good luck, telling us good job over the weekend. They have really bought into it, they really take interest in it more when we are winning like this so it is really fun to see. Our pictures are on the billboards out front so it is just really cool to see.”
Expectations have been high for the Blues, who competed in United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series last week.
“I think after the first couple of practices in the fall we kind of started to realize the potential. More guys were in the weight room, more guys were in the cage, everyone is working when they are not practicing,” said Muovich, whose Big Blues won one of three in their first trip to the double-elimination event last season. “Guys are starting to buy into it because they saw the potential and now that it is taking off, we are really starting to see what we can do. Even in practice the other day we are all excited as we can be, we are ready to go. I wish didn’t have to wait this week, I wish we could just go right now. “
Muovich has enjoyed a stellar season, posting a 4-2 record with an excellent 3.89 ERA. He has struck out 69 and walked just 15 in 71 2/3 innings on the mound. No wonder Bluefield State head coach Geoff Hunter is comfortable with him on the mound.
“Tanner just has to do what he has done all year,” Hunter said. “He has had a great senior season for us and if he throws strikes like he usually does and we play defense behind him we should be fine.”
“Really it is just a lot of mental preparedness because I am kind of headstrong physically on the things that I do,” added Muovich, who played at Independence High School, making two trips to the Class AA state tournament, falling to Bridgeport in the finals during his senior campaign. “My routine is the same every day. Mentally I have just got to treat it like just another game, I can’t treat it like it is more than it is. I have just got to calm down. I think once I get into the game after the first pitch I will be fine. I have just got to kind of try to control the emotions a little bit.
Muovich arrived at Bluefield State four years ago, wanting to follow his dreams of playing baseball for as long as he can.
“That is really all I have ever really wanted to do,” said Muovich, who graduated on Saturday with a degree in business administration. “I didn’t have a tremendous amount of offers and then luckily I came here to work out. Coach Hunter really wanted to me to come here and it has worked out ever since, I think I made the best choice.”
He has been able to witness a steady progression of success for the Big Blues.
“It has been a lot of fun each and every year. My freshman year was a struggle, no postseason so it kind of limits your recruiting a little bit. Sophomore year got a little better, last year it was a quite a bit better and this year it has just jumped to a whole new level,” he said. “We have some guys in here that are just unbelievable. We have a really good team, from freshman year to now, the transformation has been unbelievable.”
His plans are to keep throwing the baseball long into the future.
Play now, work later, for a long, long time.
“I would like to continue playing if I could. I am going to try to do a couple of tryouts and hopefully go out to an independent league out west,” he said. “I think I might pursue that opportunity. I think it would be good, plus I have 40 or 50 years to work. You just want to keep playing while you have the chance.”
Other Blues from high schools in the area who competed alongside Muovich include Tanner Ray, Jordan Wilson, Tyler Mullens, Brandon Chandler, Hunter Hill, Bowman Williams, Seth Meadows, Brett Green, Dillon McCoy, Tyler Hamilton, Shane Presley and Logan Wriston.