Benson paces UVU baseball team

DSC_0016web1Chris Benson batted at a .336 clip last year as a sophomore. That season also featured a 17-game hitting streak and 38 RBI.

So how does he evaluate himself in the past compared to now?

“The past couple years I didn’t really work as hard as I did this year,” Benson said. “This year I just wanted to step it up.”

Really?

Then again, the numbers don’t lie. Going into last Friday’s game against North Dakota, Benson was hitting a ridiculous .485 and had 29 RBI with the season hardly halfway completed.

Benson, in turn, has played a big role for the Wolverines. He leads the team in every batting category except home runs.

The desire to improve, as well as the results, from others’ example isn’t a revelation for Benson. The youngest of 14 children, Benson played soccer and baseball with an older brother. Baseball held the greater appeal in the end.

“It was my first season of Little League baseball,” Benson said. “I just thought it was more fun than any other sport.”

Benson paused and added, laughing, “And I was better at it than any other sport.”

And apparently better than all 13 of his older siblings – Benson is the only one to play at the college level.
Salt Lake Community College offered Benson a full ride, and he initially accepted. Luckily for the Wolverines, it wasn’t the right fit.

“When I went with [SLCC], I just didn’t feel comfortable,” Benson said. “I just felt like I needed to go somewhere else. Just had that feeling.”

Coaching had a lot to do with that feeling. Benson lauds UVU coach Eric Madsen for helping enhance his game without changing it.

“He doesn’t change the way I play,” Benson said. “He just has those suggestions here and there that help me get better at my game.”

Madsen and UVU are reaping the benefits, as Benson has helped lead the Wolverines to second place in the Great West Conference thus far, with region play just commencing last week. Benson said it’s “surreal” to help establish the Wolverines as a legit baseball program on the Division I level.

At the same time, Benson is establishing himself as a big-time player, although he admits taking his game to the pros could be a long and hard road.

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