Even nice guys can have fun
Kyle McDonald | Sports Writer | @kylesportsbias
Utah Valley University has a unique thing going for their athletic programs. They don’t have the top recruits. They don’t have the huge facilities. They don’t have the student-athletes who come to school for one or two years and then leave to pursue a career in the professional ranks. It just wouldn’t fit their style.
What they want and what they have are kids who are humble, hardworking, unselfish, and who are more about the team. Mark Krueger fits this profile. The 6-5 junior first baseman out of Draper, Utah and Jordan High School has been a key element for the Utah Valley baseball program over the past two seasons.
As a freshman Krueger would be named to the All-Great West Conference second team as he tied for the team lead with a .323 batting average. He would even set a school record his freshman year in a game against Utah by hitting three doubles.
His sophomore season was no different. He was named to the ABCA Midwest All-Region 1st Team and first team All-WAC as a designated hitter. He led the team with seven home runs, a .306 batting average, 12 doubles, and 42 runs batted in. He was named to the WAC All-Tournament team by going 8-19 with a home run and four RBIs. This included a four-hit game in a win against Texas-Pan American. His performance also earned him the respect of the coaches in the WAC as he was named to the 2015 preseason All-WAC team.
It wasn’t a hard decision for Krueger to attend UVU to play baseball. “Loved the coaches, loved everything about it, had a really good playing opportunity, and I just love the campus, everything about here was just really appealing,” he would say in reference to why he chose UVU over schools like Utah, Salt Lake Community College, and Grand Canyon.
With the success that Krueger has had since coming to Utah Valley in 2013, one might think he would be arrogant, cocky, and worried about his own stats and building them up. Whoever thinks that would be dead wrong. “A lot of the young guys will look up to you and follow what you do…..just help them ease them into the game. Everyone’s gonna make mistakes, it happens….just to teach them to let those things go,” Krueger said when asked about his success and building off it this year. It wasn’t what you might hear but Krueger isn’t about himself. He is about the team and doing what he can to help his team have the success they are striving for. “I just want to win. Do whatever it takes to win whether I strike out four times and have a good game defensively, no matter what it is, just put us in a position to win.” He doesn’t care if he hits the ball hard and gets out every time. He just wants to help the team win.
Krueger will look to help the Wolverines bounce back against Long Beach State after a tough weekend in Northridge, CA. It won’t be easy but like Krueger says “we’ve got a lot of confidence.”
I am 32 years old, love the Chicago Cubs. A huge lego maniac and love to crochet team blankets (just ask, cool stuff)!! I have a passion for sports and a passion to write about them.