Chris Esposito has gotten off to an impressive start at the plate this spring and the numbers are hard to ignore. The junior outfielder was recently recognized for his performance as Esposito was named the Mavericks’ Male Athlete of the Year.
“It really is an honor,” Esposito said. “I feel like I’ve been working really hard the past couple of years, so more than anything it’s a reward for hard work.”
A junior from Overland Park, Kansas, Esposito came to Omaha after two seasons at Johnson County Community College. Through 30 games this spring, Esposito leads the Mavericks with a .351 batting average, six home runs, three triples and 30 RBI. Those first three numbers all rank second in the Summit League, while he’s also slugging a league-leading .604.
Esposito finds himself ranked in the top-10 in the Summit League in nine offensive categories. He was named the Summit League Player of the Week earlier this season following a breakout weekend at Missouri where he hit .529 with three home runs and 11 RBI.
“I’ve just been seeing the ball well and have been able to put the ball in play,” Esposito said. “The biggest thing for me though has just been having confidence at the plate. The way Coach P (Porter) runs his program lets us do what we need to do in order to get ready and succeed, and that’s been a big part of it too.”
It’s a continuation from a strong start to 2020. In 14 games before seeing the remainder of the season scrapped due to COVID-19, Esposito put together a .277 batting average, a .511 slugging percentage and a .313 on-base percentage.
Even though his stats show the improvement this spring, it’s off the diamond where he feels he’s grown the most. The last calendar year hasn’t been easy for anyone around the country, but Esposito said it’s really allowed him to find who he is as a person and continue to hone his craft.
“It wasn’t fun for anyone going through COVID and quarantining this past year, but it really brought my real self out of me I think,” Esposito said. “Just being pretty much alone this whole time, it’s up to you to work on what you need to and get better, so I think it really made me realize who I am and what my priorities are.”
That hard work cultivated in the award last week as Esposito was recognized as Omaha’s Male Athlete of the Year. He edged out Chayse Primeau (hockey) and Davis Lawley (tennis) who were the other two finalists.
The next step for Esposito is to continue improving and build off of it.
“I just want to keep getting better,” he said. “I also want to help all of the younger guys that are still here. Show them the way to do things and hopefully, they can have even more success and use what I’ve done to help their own game.”