Sophomore Josh Staumont and juniors Jordan Brower and Adam McCreery are three key players who transferred to Azusa Pacific in the fall and are starting a new journey in their baseball careers.
Staumont was going to attend Azusa Pacific his freshman year, but instead attended Biola Unviersity.
“But when Biola hired a new head coach, I didn’t want to be a part of a rebuilding year and I knew that Azusa [Pacific] had a little bit better of a program,” Staumont said.
Cougars pitching coach John Verhoeven retired from Biola with no tension involved and moved to APU, allowing Staumont to continue playing for him.
Staumont, who pitches a 95 mile-per-hour fastball, hopes to be drafted into the MLB in the future.
“Josh is just a great competitor and has a really plus-plus fastball, which has got a lot of attention outside the baseball field,” head coach Paul Svagdis said.
Adam McCreery is currently a junior and spent the last two years playing with Division I school Arizona State University.
“It was kind of a personal choice. I had some problems at Arizona State, and I wasn’t making the best decisions over there,” McCreery said. “I needed to take a step back and figure out what I was going to do, and Arizona State just wasn’t the right place.”
The La Verne native also wanted to be closer to home and took the advice from his high school head coach, who played for Azusa Pacific at one point.
“He recommended Azusa [Pacific], and he said it was a really good place,” McCreery said. “That’s when I was kind of sold on it because I respect him a lot and his opinion.”
Although Arizona State is a Division I program, McCreery doesn’t see a big difference playing for APU baseball, which is in Division II.
“The competition is the same and to be honest, I think [this team] can beat a lot of Division I teams,” McCreery said. “I would say the only difference is luxuries. You are more spoiled under a Division I program.”
McCreery hopes to be drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the future and can currently pitch a fastball around the mid-90s.
“Adam is a monster of a guy with a great attitude, and because he is so tall, he has great angles, which makes it really difficult for hitters to step into a box with a guy that size,” Svagdis said. “He makes hitters feel uncomfortable.”
Junior first baseman Jordan Brower transferred from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Division I program, where the coach told him he was not the right fit for the program and that he should look somewhere else.
“He sat down me and four of my other teammates and told us our personalities didn’t fit their program,” Brower said. “Even though we were all for playing, unfortunately they wanted new transfers to play, so they told us to leave.”
The only difference Brower sees in playing for a Division II program is off-speed pitching, but he believes the competition is the same.
“In a Division I program, it’s a lot more strict, and has a lot more hours,” said Brower. “I have a lot more freedom here.”
Brower’s main focus is to take care of the ball, minimize errors and increase in RBIs at first base this season.
“Baseball-wise, I like playing for Azusa [Pacific] rather than Cal Poly,” Brower said. “The coaches are great.”
Brower’s main goal is to be drafted and, like his fellow former-Division I teammate, he hopes to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Jordan Brower is an excellent addition to our team this year,” Svagdis said. “He is one of the strongest defensive first baseman we have had here in quite some time.”
Svagdis is excited to have all three of these new players on his team this season, and wants each of them to take away something different from his coaching.
“Josh doesn’t really need to take anything away from me, because he gets to play and compete for the same guy who recruited him, but I want to continue to help foster his competitiveness,” Svagdis said. “For Adam and Jordan, I just want them to have the opportunity to be in an environment where they can excel and be with teammates who care about them on and off the field.”