music in the park san jose

Former Gavilan College baseball player enjoying success for NAIA
Nick Bakich may not like the weather in Oklahoma, but he likes having the opportunity to play baseball.

Bakich, who grew up playing ball in Hollister, is currently playing for NAIA Oklahoma Baptist University on a partial scholarship.

“What kills me out here is that it gets cold and there is wind blowing all the time which makes it even colder,” Bakich said. “But I don’t want to go to the west coast now after playing out here. It’s no California, but it kind of grows on you. I just wanted to come play some ball.”

The 20-year old third baseman has enjoyed a good amount of success despite the weather. Through March 18, Bakich was batting .425, which was second on the team. He has started all 25 games of the games to date and is leading the team with six home runs.

“I’m seeing the ball well,” said Bakich, who is batting in the No. 3 hole. “I haven’t really gone into a slump all year. I think I hit more home runs already this year than I did during my two years of junior college combined.”

Playing back east was a little easier because there are four other players on the team from California, Bakich said.

Bakich, a junior History Education major, transferred from Gavilan College last year after attending Monterey Peninsula College his freshman year. He made the switch to Gavilan because he didn’t like the commute and then at the last minute decided to attend OBU.

“I was going to go Siena College in New York, but I didn’t have enough transfer units,” Bakich said. “They called up and said they needed a third baseman. So I packed up my stuff and headed out about two weeks before school started.”

While at Gavilan, Bakich was named as a First Team All Conference player and was named as the team MVP. He was honored on the Dean’s list while there.

Bakich’s coach at OBU is Bobby Cox – no, not the same as the legendary Atlanta Braves coach.

“He’s a joy,” Cox said. “If I could take nine of nine of him, I would take them and win a lot of games.”

Cox said he has been impressed by the upbeat attitude that Bakich has.

“He loves the game,” Cox said. “He has a great positive attitude toward the game and his teammates. He has good senses. He hits the ball to the right side when it needs to be done – just a real positive player.”

The Bisons began their longest road trip of the year – an eight-hour trek to Texas to play Wayland Baptist. During one of the recent bus rided, the team passed the time by giving each other temporary tattoos with pens.

“We’re a real close team,” Bakich said. “We always have our game face on. Against every team we are ready to go.”

Bakich, an all-Monterey Bay League player who graduated from San Benito High in 2001, credits a lot of his success to the extra batting sessions he took with his former coach Neal Andrade before making the trip.

“He knows my swing better than anyone,” Bakich said.

A short memory has also helped him improve his game.

“I have been really trying to focus on not getting down after having a bad at-bat,” Bakich said. “I try to remember that I am playing baseball right now when I could be fighting in Iraq. There are a lot worse things in life than striking out.”

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