By Dennis Garcia
Like most NCAA baseball players who saw their season cut short by the coronavirus, Belmont's John Behrendes just wants the chance to play baseball.
Hopefully he'll get that chance with the Asheboro Copperheads this summer as Behrends has elected to sign with the local Coastal Plain League for the coming season.
"The last month or so, I have been trying to find something to do, just working out at home with some teammates trying to stay active," said Behrends, a 6-2, 190-pound outfielder from Chattanooga, Tenn. "It was a real shock how it happened so quickly. I never thought it would come to that."
The Bears were off to a 14-3 start when the NCAA shut the season down. Behrends started all 17 games, hitting .306 with 17 runs scored, six doubles, one home run and 13 RBIs. He was a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.
"It's really disappointing," Behrends said. "We were in a pretty good grove. We do have a lot of guys coming back next year."
Behrends was a redshirt-sophomore this shortened season. After he was redshirted his freshman season, he has been contributing to the Bears' success ever since.
This season, he had back-to-back three-RBI games against UNC-Asheville and he had a three-hit game against Toledo on March 10. He had six multi-hit games this season and only four where he didn't get at least one hit.
As a redshirt-freshman, he started all 38 games in the outfield or as a designated hitter. He hit .277 with 18 RBIs.
"One of my assistant coaches talked to me about Asheboro this summer and I'm really excited," said Behrends, who played in New York and then in the Prospect League in Missouri last summer. "I want to get some at-bats, be consistent and play the same game. I don't want to change anything up too much. I looked up Asheboro and it looks like a cool place to play."
Behrends said he can play any of the three outfield positions and will be working on cutting down his strikeout total.
"My main goals are to be consistent and have fun," he said. "I have a lot of buddies who have played in this league. It takes a couple of weeks for everyone to get settled, but once that happens, I've had some of the most fun with guys I have met over the summer."