Senior Spotlight: Westminster Baseball

Senior Spotlight: Westminster Baseball

Today the Westminster College athletic department would like to honor the five seniors from the Westminster baseball team that lost their final season and Senior Day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we cannot replicate the emotional experience of walking out onto Saucier Field with their families and loved ones, we will use this opportunity to highlight their accomplishments both on and off the diamond.

#2 Branden Beeler (Kirksville, Mo. / Kirksville)

Branden appeared in 80 games during his three-year Westminster career. In 2018 he hit .318 with 17 RBI and was named Third Team All-Conference. As a junior in 2019 Branden was named First Team All-Conference after leading the SLIAC with a .403 batting average. Branden finishes his Westminster career with a .361 batting average, eight homers, 60 RBI, and 99 hits.

Off the field, Brandan is a Physical Education major and a member of Kappa Alpha Order, the Education Association, the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and Chi Alpha Sigma. He was named Academic All-Conference in 2019. After graduation, he plans on becoming an elementary school PE teacher and coaching at the high school or college level.

Why did you choose Westminster? I met Coach Hughes (former Westminster Head Coach) on a visit three years ago and he made me feel comfortable and at home right away. I could tell he was a coach that really cared about his players and from the first time I came I wanted to play for him. I also knew Westminster was a great academic school and would prepare me for whatever I may face in the future.

What is your favorite Westminster baseball memory? I could never narrow it down to one. Every minute that I get to step between those white lines on the diamond has been incredible memories for me. I have cherished every road trip, every home game, every long bus ride, and every long practice. I love the game of baseball and am so thankful anytime I get to be around my teammates and coaches. My life is better because I have those people in my life and this game. I will never forget my time as a Westminster baseball player nor will I forget the people I played beside for the rest of my life.

What advice do you have for your underclassmen teammates? Every day that you get to step on that field, never give anything less than the best effort you have on that day. You never know what day will be your last and you never want to have the thought of, "what if..." in your head. Hayden, Skyler, Mason, Derek, Drew: this is your team now. The younger kids will look up to you and even when you think nobody is watching someone always is. Provide a good example for the freshman and the younger players. I know that you'll make all of us proud. Work as hard as you can, every day, and always give everything that you'll have and you'll never be disappointed.

If you ever get the chance, just take a moment and pause. Soak it all in. You'll never have another time in your life like these days. I love you all and no matter what happens I'll be back to see you all dominate this conference in the future. I'm so lucky to have been your teammate.

Coach Bishop on Branden: "Beels is our battery behind the plate. He's a leader and a great competitor. He's been an All-Conference selection multiple times and has had a great career as a Blue Jay. He knows the game well and will make a great coach one day"

#14 Trevor Rhoads (St. Charles, Mo. / Francis Howell)

A four-year member of the team, Trevor appeared in 63 games during his Westminster career. Trevor was on pace for the best season of his career this spring before the season abruptly came to an end. He played flawless defense at first base and was batting .286 with four doubles, a home run, and nine RBI in 14 games this season. Trevor finishes his career with a .224 batting average, five home runs, and 27 RBI.

Off the field, Trevor is an Accounting and Finance major and member of Kappa Alpha Order, Chi Alpha Sigma and the Blue Blazers Investment Committee. He has been named Academic All-Conference twice in his career. After graduation, he plans on working in the corporate insurance industry.

Why did you choose Westminster? I chose Westminster because of the unmatched education, the history of the school, and the opportunity to continue my baseball career at the next level.

What is your favorite Westminster baseball memory? My favorite Westminster baseball memory was traveling to Florida for spring break every year and building friendships that will last a lifetime.

What advice do you have for your underclassmen teammates? As you saw from this past year, don't take a single moment for granted. Play every game like it's your last.

Coach Bishop on Trevor: "Trev came a long way this year and it was awesome to be a part of. He became an everyday player for us and was a vital part of our offense. He seemed to always come up with guys on base and found a way to drive them in. He is greatly respected by his teammates and will continue to be successful in his future endeavors."

#23 Sean Markley (Eureka, Mo. / Eureka)

Sean appeared in 11 games during the first two seasons of his Westminster career. After injuries limited his ability to play, Sean remained with the team and took an active role as a player-coach assisting the coaching staff in various areas.

Off the field, Sean is a Self-Designed Actuarial Science major and a member of Phi Delta Theta. He has previously served as Phi Delta Theta's Treasurer and managed the finances of the fraternity. After graduation, he plans on looking for a job that allows growth and stability in the actuary profession.

Why did you choose Westminster? I didn't want to be a number at a large school. I liked how Westminster College provided ample opportunities to grow as an individual, not just as a student.

What is your favorite Westminster baseball memory? My favorite baseball memories have always revolved around the new members of the team. I enjoyed teaching and providing assistance to the new guys. In addition, learning about the past experiences of each player was intriguing. One day, I hope to use all that I have learned from playing to coach my own team. I hope the memories, good or bad, that I have had will be beneficial when providing knowledge and experiences for younger hopeful ballplayers. I have had the opportunity to play for an abundance of great coaches, such as: my high school coaches, Coach Dennis Hughes, Coach Dane Hughes, Coach Curtis Vaughn, Coach Zach Bishop, and Coach Hunter Smith. Through all of my coaches, I have experienced things that I believed to have worked and ideas that needed to be slightly tweaked to be more effective. Through this, I believe that I will be successful as a coach and as a future employee, through the memories that I have had the opportunity to experience.

What advice do you have for your underclassmen teammates? Each day is a new day to prove yourself, not just on the baseball field but also in the classroom. Work hard as if nobody is watching. Looking for approval from your coaches, teammates, and peers, is not a recipe for success. Focusing on your own development is the key to be a successful person. When you come across an obstacle ask for help, but don't rely on the help of others every time there is a conflict. Learning through your own experiences is a good way to learn and utilize these skills in the future. It is important to look at everything you do and break down what you did correctly and the things that you can work on. Focusing on the positives and negatives can give you an edge on the competition. Focusing mainly on the positives or the negatives will stunt your mental, physical, and social growth. Having a balanced mindset is a good strategy to continue working towards to be someone others can count on when a situation gets tough. Keep working hard and control what you can control.

Coach Bishop on Sean: "Sean has been great for us. While he was unable to serve as a player due to injury, he took on the role of player-coach this year. He was always looking for ways to help the coaching staff and his teammates. He is responsible and well-spoken and will always have a place at Westminster Baseball. A lot of what he did goes unnoticed, but I can't thank him enough."

#27 Will Stonecipher (Wildwood, Mo. / Lafayette)

Will appeared in 109 games during his four years at Westminster. Will was a consistent offensive presence for the Blue Jays, driving in over 20 runs in each of his first three seasons. In 2019 Will was named Third Team All-Conference after hitting .356, slugging .538 and driving in 26 runs. Will finishes his career with a .311 batting average, nine home runs, 77 RBI, and 107 hits.

Off the field, Will is a Business Administration and Accounting major and a member of Kappa Alpha Order, the Blazers Investment Committee, S.A.A.C., and is an academic tutor. He has been named Academic All-Conference twice in his career and is a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma honor society. After graduation, he will work as a Tax Consultant with Deloitte and hopes to become a CPA.

Why did you choose Westminster? I chose Westminster because I wanted to be involved in a variety of things on campus while being able to play a collegiate sport. I was able to visit my brother a few times while he was at Westminster, and the people I met made me feel right at home.

What is your favorite Westminster baseball memory? My junior season, as a whole. Our team started off very slow, but everyone pulled their weight as the season progressed and we were able to clinch a spot in the conference tournament on the very last day of the regular season.

What advice do you have for your underclassmen teammates? Keep working hard and never take a moment for granted. Baseball has a great correlation to life in facing adversity, and it is important to stay positive through all the ups and downs associated with it.

Coach Bishop on Will: "Stoney is a great player and even better person. He is involved with the school as well as the baseball program. He has been a consistent offensive force for our lineup and was on his way to another all-conference selection. This year he reached the 100 hits in a career mark. Will is going to be successful in everything he chooses to do in life."

#29 Ryan Clavin (St. Louis, Mo. / Vianney)

Ryan appeared in 76 games during his three-year Westminster career. In his first season with the Blue Jays, Ryan excelled as both a hitter and a pitcher, batting .336 with nine home runs and going 5-3 on the mound. After his breakout 2018 season, he was named the SLIAC Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-Conference, ABCA Division III All-Central Region First Team, and All-Central Regional Second Team. In 2019 Ryan was named Second Team All-Conference after hitting 10 home runs (tied for second-most in a season in school history) and recording a record high .804 slugging percentage. Ryan finishes his career as Westminster's all-time leader in slugging percentage (.704), the fourth most home runs in school history (22), a .357 batting average, 80 RBI and 99 hits.

Off the field, Ryan is double majoring in Business Management and Business Communication and was named Academic All-Conference in 2019. After graduation, he plans on moving back to St. Louis and starting his career in the business world.

Why did you choose Westminster? The coaches at Westminster saved my baseball career when I decided to transfer here, and they made me love the game again.

What is your favorite Westminster baseball memory? One of my favorite memories is hitting a walk-off home run my junior year against Mac at home to get a win for our seniors on Senior Day. One of my other favorite memories is running the bases with Dax, former coach Dane Hughes' son, after a win at Principia and him beating me in the race.

What advice do you have for your underclassmen teammates? Cherish the moments you have on the field and with your teammates. They are some of the best memories of your life. Take advantage of the time you have to play this game because you never know when it could end.

Coach Bishop on Clavin: "Clav has been an instrumental part of this program's success. You won't find a better leader on and off the field. His statistics speak for themselves and even without his senior year, he will go down as one of the best offensive players in Westminster history. He received All-Region recognition twice and I have no doubt he could have been an All-American this year."