Evann Long took time to credit Nixa assistant coach Zach Leonard during his signing ceremony with Pittsburg State last week.
It was a change in hitting mechanics Leonard suggested that triggered Long’s breakout junior season a year ago and eventually caught the attention of the Gorillas’ coaching staff.
Hitting out of the two-hole in the Eagles’ lineup, Long finished with a .390 batting average and was a unanimous All-COC First-Team selection.
“I got with coach Leonard and he worked with me a lot on my swing,” the right-handed swinging shortstop said. “When coach Leonard was helping me, I got really hot in the middle of the season. He critiqued my swing and fixed where my hands were. I put in a lot work and got a platform to show all my hard work.”
Long went from hoping he could play college ball to knowing he could.
“I definitely got a lot of confidence after last season,” he said. “I believed in myself more and knew my dream was getting closer to reality.”
Long likes the enthusiasm surrounding Pitt State athletics in Pittsburg, Kansas.
“Their community is great with their sports teams,” he said.
After playing football, basketball and baseball, Long is intrigued by the improvement he can make in college with baseball receiving his full attention.
“I’m going to miss not playing other spots,” he said. “But I’m going to like being able to focus on baseball and my lifting. I feel it’s going to help my game being able to focus on hitting and lifting every day.”
Long will join Nixa grad Kinson Michel at Pitt State. After undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL last summer, Michel is red-shirting this spring.