Pioneers Lose Their Star Player

Elmo Rey Arciaga

Amanda Zepeda

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Senior Nick McManus led the Pioneers in nearly all offensive categories: batting average, hits, doubles, homeruns and runs batted in.

In his last season with the Pioneers, Senior Nick McManus has left a mark not only in the East Bay record books, but also at this university as a whole.

Born in Vista, California and raised in Temecula, McManus can best be summed up as a typical Southern California son with a passion for baseball that never let up.

The third baseman for the Pioneers has made himself at home in the East Bay in a quick period of time and has established himself as a stand-up act and someone who is highly respected and adored around campus.

Whether it’s his show through example leadership qualities or his threat to opposing pitchers with his bat, McManus is a true baseball player.

In his last season with CSUEB, McManus led the Pioneers in almost all offensive categories including batting average, hits, doubles, homeruns and runs batted in.

Head baseball coach Dirk Morrison explains how McManus carried a lot of the load in this year’s season.

“He was out there everyday working on his hitting,” said Coach Morrison. “He’s someone that we knew was always going to hit in the three or four spot in the lineup. His teammates have a great deal of respect for him and know that he’s a legitimate hitter in that spot and they can count on him. We had him for two years and he did a good job for us.”

McManus comes from a humble background and expressed that the challenges of baseball weren’t always easy to overcome.

Out of high school McManus was the school’s ace pitcher and was second basemen. His junior year he hit just under .400 and was getting letters from five or six colleges. In his senior year however, he hit a speed bump and his average fell to under .200 and schools quickly lost interest in him.

“I wanted to continue to play and one of my former coaches recommended Saddleback Community College and said they had a good baseball program. So I went there and played for them,” said McManus.

It was at Saddleback where McManus discovered that his talents were at the third base position.

The struggles of finding himself as a player, however, weren’t over for McManus.

He explains his frustration in not being in the starting line-up and not being able to play everyday at third base despite showing promising signs of leading the team in hitting.

“The coach used me as a bench and role player,” said McManus. “But I never understood why. I wanted to play everyday and I had proven that I could be in there everyday.”

Despite playing his freshmen and sophomore years for Saddleback and almost red-shirting his first year, McManus never found himself a permanent position in the starting lineup, but he was still optimistic.

“ If anything, I used this as an opportunity to improve on my hitting, so I turned every batting practice into homerun derby,” he said. “Despite not having a starting position, I feel I really developed as a player and I am thankful for that.”

It was at the end of his sophomore year when CSUEB coach, Dirk Morrison called McManus and asked him to play at East Bay.

“Coach explained to me that the door here was wide open and that I should just walk through it, so I did and I am really thankful for the situation I have here,” he said.
The transfer student came in with a competitive mentality and he was ready to earn a starting position in the line-up.

“I wanted a starting position more than anything because I had sat two years on the bench,” said McManus. “I worked hard in improving my game and learning the organization.”

Not only did McManus earn himself the starting position at third base but also in such little time, he has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates.

The switch-hitter was in charge of calling the plays at third base, something he said he had never seen before.

“ I have never been on a team where the third basemen call all the defensive plays, but it was at that moment when I realized I had learned this organization and earned the trust of this team,” he said.

From then on, McManus never looked back.

He became team captain in his final year at East Bay and was the main source of offense for the Pioneers both his junior and senior years.

As a junior, he set the single season hit record and almost tied for most doubles in a season this year while being ranked fifth in East Bay’s all time history for doubles in only two season here.

He’s received CCAA honorable mention and received the Pioneer Scholar-Athlete Award for baseball and was also selected as the team’s Best Hitter honoree in 2010.

McManus was able to turn his collegiate year around as he turned into a silent leader of the team all while staying as humble.

He explains that he models his game off of third baseman hall-of-famer, Cal Ripken Jr.

“Him wanting to play everyday is the reason why he was able to break Lou Gehrig’s record (of most consecutive games played). It’s honestly him going to work twenty years in a row, not missing a day.” said McManus.”

“That’s what I wanted to do when I came to East Bay, I didn’t want to sit on the bench not even one day,” he said.

McManus views himself as someone who is constantly on the go and who never likes to sit still.

Besides playing baseball all of his life, he has played football, basketball and soccer.

His favorite professional teams are the Anaheim Angels for baseball, The Los Angeles Lakers for basketball, and the San Diego Chargers football.

He desires to attend a hockey game soon, now that baseball is over; something he has never done before.

The question asked now is, what’s in store for McManus after baseball.

The Kinesiology major will be graduating in the winter of 2012. He is working in becoming a personal trainer and looks forward to interning as a physical therapist and exploring the possibilities within his major.

“First off, I owe my success to God. He has blessed me with my talents and he has given me opportunities, surrounding environments and people to help me”, he expresses.
“My family has made me the person I am today given my will to succeed and my competitive drive. I have two brothers who have kept me competitive and my parents taught me how to be motivated.”

Although motivation comes in different forms, McManus feels he benefits from every scale of it and this is why he has had so much success.

“There are people that are motivated by people getting in there face and yelling, there are people who are motivated by others telling them you cant do something and there are people who are motivated by positive encouragement,” said McManus. “But for me, all of them are modes of encouragement. I’m always motivated, no matter what you say or what you do, there is always going to be motivation behind my actions, and I feel that’s what really sets me apart from others.”