Feb. 10, 2012

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Moses shoulders the load for Southeast Missouri

By Andrew Krause



Two years ago, Trenton Moses (left) missed all but four games because of a shoulder injury. Southeast Missouri State’s senior third baseman now is called on to shoulder the weight of another successful season.


Moses was the Ohio Valley Conference’s Player of the Year last season, hitting .395 with 11 homers, 53 RBI and an impressive .501 on-base average. OVC coaches expect much of the same in 2012, voting Moses as the preseason favorite for player-of-the-year honors.


Moses, 6-3 and 228 from Advance, Mo., provides the Redhawks with a physical presence at the plate and in the field.


However, he remembers how things were quite different when he entered as a freshman four years ago. 


“I came in at around 200 or 205 pounds, and I had a lot of things to learn,” Moses said. 


He hit .264 with four home runs and 24 RBI and was a steady presence in the field, starting 44 games at third base as a freshman. His sophomore year in 2009 was similar at the plate (.258, 2 HR, 24 RBI, .366 OBA). 


To many unfamiliar with his story, the 2010 season would appear to be a lost opportunity.


That spring Moses only played in four games before a shoulder injury ended his junior campaign. Although Moses qualified for a medical redshirt, he was forced to watch from afar.


“That year was really the turning point in my career,” Moses said. “The time away really made me appreciate the game more.” 


Inspired and motivated, Moses rehabbed and lifted weights vigorously in order to return better than ever.


“He came back from his injury more mature and more physical,” said Chris Cafalone, SEMO’s hitting instructor and infield coach. “In many ways the injury could be looked at as a positive for him as he has taken his game to another level.”


Last season clearly was one in which all of Moses’ hard work paid off and everything clicked.


His .395 batting average was good enough to rank second in the conference, while his .502 on-base percentage ranked 14th nationally. His notable season earned him a place as a Louisville Slugger Third Team All-American. Most important, he was a key factory in propelling Southeast Missouri to 34 wins, third-most in school history.


“Trenton is a big imposing third baseman who can literally change a game at any time with one swing of the bat,” said Gary McClure, head coach of defending champion and preseason favorite Austin Peay. “He also possesses the abilities it takes to do a very good job defending. He has the size and strength of some of the larger third baseman in the big leagues.


“With those things said, to me he is one of those players who is extremely confident, competitive, instinctive and has all other intangibles that make players special. He is certainly the guy that as the opposing coach you don’t want coming to the plate in a big situation.”


While the Redhawks’ season ended in a disappointing 15-12 loss to Jacksonville State in the OVC Tournament semifinals, Moses and his coaches have been pleased by what they have seen this offseason. The Redhawks return their entire starting infield and their starting catcher from the 2011 season.


“We are really both an old and young team at the same time,” Cafalone said. “We have an entirely new outfield, and our success in going to largely depend on how they develop.”


Moses added, “Our outfield is young because we lost a lot of key contributors from 2011, but they have looked good and could really help spark our lineup.” 


Moses and the rest of the Redhawks will not have to wait long to see how well the squad has developed – they open the season with a series at Super Regional surprise Dallas Baptist.


“We have always started out with strong opponents as the strong early season schedule allows us to prepare for conference play,” Cafalone said. “The experience can serve as a stepping stone and allow us to continue to improve on a daily basis.” 


Moses added, “You always want to play a bigger school to see where you’re at.” 


But at the end of the day SEMO’s star third baseman knows what is most important.


“I want to help my team win a ring,” Moses said. “We haven’t won the conference since I’ve been here, but I think this team could surprise a lot of people.”


(photos courtesy of Southeast Missouri Media Relations Office)