TMU baseball’s Aaron Shackelford opened the season by saying his team’s goal was not only to play in the NAIA World Series for the third straight year, but to win it.
Last week, after a season-ending loss to Hope International in the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament, Shackelford confirmed that TMU’s standards for success would remain high.
“We have the same expectations coming in next year,” the All-GSAC shortstop said following an 8-2 defeat to the Royals last Tuesday.
Master’s (28-25) had beaten Hope a day earlier but then lost two straight to fall out of the tournament, ending its streak of back-to-back conference tourney titles. It also marked the first time since 2011 that Master’s did not hit the 30-win mark. The Mustangs had won 40-plus games in four of the previous five seasons. Now, it will hope that a young and talented roster continues to mature.
“I think we were just young,” Shackelford said, “but we worked really hard. Coach will attest to it. … I think we’re just going to get better with age.”
Shackelford will more than likely return at shortstop as a senior after hitting .303 with team highs of 11 home runs and 44 RBIs. His 31 career homers are tied for fourth-most in Master’s history, and with the top mark at 34, he will be within striking distance from the get-go in 2019.
Junior center fielder Max Maitland should also be making his mark on TMU history. Maitland’s 207 career hits rank 10th all-time. The record is 255, set by Steven Karkenny from 2012 to 2015.
As for pitching, Saugus graduate Robert Winslow will likely be TMU’s ace. Winslow struck out 73 batters in 59 2/3 innings as a junior this year. His ERA was 4.37, but late in the year, he appeared to find the star-quality form he possessed as a sophomore.
Winslow pitched nine strong innings in the GSAC tourney opener last week. Freshman Caleb Jaime pitched the final four frames of the extra-inning win, and he figures to factor heavily into the Mustangs’ plans moving forward.
Master’s would love to have 6-foot-6 junior Preston White return on the mound and in right field after a strong debut season with the Mustangs, but White’s overpowering fastball and high-ceiling have made him a prime candidate for the MLB First-Year Player Draft this summer.
The Dodgers selected White in the 38th round of the 2017 draft.
Master’s gym floor ready for a new look
TMU has begun the process of sanding its gymnasium floor down to bare wood and rebranding the playing surface with new logos, graphics and game lines. The target finish date is June 1.
Youth camp registration is open
TMU has opened registration for its annual summer sports camps. Master’s will offer basketball, baseball, soccer and volleyball camps at various dates throughout June and July.
The camps are led by TMU’s elite coaching staff with opportunities for boys and girls ages 6-14 (9-18 for volleyball) to improve their skills. Visit GoMustangs.com for more information.