Veteran outfielder helps keep team on track

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That’s the word that head coach Buzz Verduzco used to describe outfielder David Chew.

“He’s a ‘quiet leader’ kind of guy. He’s kind of a player’s player, a great teammate, an uplifting, positive teammate,” Verduzco said. “A competitor and expects no less from his teammates.”

Chew has been playing baseball since the days of T-ball, when he was about 4 or 5 years old. Since then, he hasn’t stopped.

The Lenexa, Kan. native spent his high school career playing baseball and football. Chew attended Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park where he was both an outfielder and a pitcher.

His high school career was decorated with awards. He was named First-team Sunflower League selection and First-team All-State in 2009 and 2010.

“In high school, he was a heck of a hitter,” Verduzco said. “That was one big reason [I recruited him], and he’s been a very good hitter for us these last four years.”

While he had offers to play at junior colleges and other Division II schools, Chew chose Western above all the others.

“I chose Missouri Western because I believe this is a great fit for me. The facilities and the coaches. I really liked what the coaches brought on, and how they went about the game of baseball,” Chew said. “I thought it was a great fit for me.”

In 2011, he started 36 of the 42 games he played. He raked in 31 hits, including three doubles and 16 RBIs. He stole two bases on the season. Chew placed third on the  team in batting average, swinging a .304.

Chew continued to improve across the boards during his sophomore season, both from the plate and out in the field. In 2012, he racked up 36 hits, including seven doubles. He scored 14 runs and brought in 16 RBIs. He stole six bases and finished with a .290 batting average. He completed the season with a 1.000 fielding percentage, thanks to his 59 putouts and zero errors.

“His discipline at the plate, I think he was more of a free-swinging hitter when he got here. He still has a tendency to be that way,” Verduzco said. “But, for the most part, I think that’s one of the parts of his game that has really improved.”

In 2013, Chew was a big contributor to the MIAA-Champion Griffons. While he only played in about half of the games, he still did his part to keep Western on the path to victory. Chew had 14 hits, including a triple and five home runs. He knocked in 15 RBIs and scored 12 runs. His batting average dropped a bit from previous seasons, ending at a .250. His fielding percentage dwindled a bit too. Despite his 22 putouts, an error dropped him to a .958.

And, while he doesn’t know what his proudest moment outside of the sport is, Chew won’t hesitate on his biggest achievement in baseball.

“Proudest moment inside of baseball–the happiest I’ve been–was last year when we won the conference tournament,” Chew said.

Chew, a 5’11, 195 pound senior, has been a powerhouse for the Griffons. He has started all 29 games so far. He has 35 hits, including seven doubles, three triples and two home runs. He has scored 26 runs and brought in 28 RBIs. Chew is 5-for-7 on stolen base attempts. His current .321 average puts him at third on the roster. He has 92 putouts so far, but two errors puts him at a .980 fielding average.

“This season, we want to make it to regionals. Not only make it to regionals, but win regionals. Get on to the World Series,” Chew said. “We need to do better than we did last season. Win a regional game first, then see where we go from there.”

Chew is a business management major. He hopes to land a job when he graduates from Western next December.

“After school, I’d like to get either an accounting or finance job,” Chew said. “I liked to move on and get a job somewhere and start my life outside of baseball.”

In his free time, Chew enjoys hunting. He shot a 6-point buck on one of his most recent hunting trips.

Right-handed pitcher Jake Jones has been teammates with Chew since their freshman season in 2010. Jones knows from experience the type of player Chew has become.

“He’s one of those guys that you know is going to have your back through anything. He’s a really good teammate and a really good friend, on and off the field,” Jones said. “He works really hard at both school and baseball, and is just a pretty good overall guy.”

Chew and the Griffons will be heading to Jefferson City, Mo. this weekend for a series against the Blue Tigers of Lincoln University. The first game of the series will be on Friday, April 4. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.

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