After a rough fall and winter, Moline grad is a hit on Carl Sandburg baseball team
What a difference a season and a measure of peace of mind have made for Cacey O’Brien.
Just last year, the former Moline grad thought he might have played his last game as family issues and obligations pushed him to the sidelines. Today, the Carl Sandburg College freshmen rates as the leading hitter in all of NJCAA Division II baseball.
“I played in the fall and came home for winter break,” O’Brien told the Dispatch Argus. “I was told by my family that my dad was having his job transferred to Chicago. I’m a pretty big family person and that hit me hard. There were some other things going on in my life, so I decided to step away from playing.”
Fortunately for O’Brien and the Chargers, Sandburg coach Jake Tenhouse intervened, convincing O’Brien to make his way back to the diamond.
“In my mind, I was closing the book on baseball for me,” O’Brien added. “I was just thinking about my future and that didn’t include baseball.”
Since returning, O’Brien has been more than willing to put in the work to take him back to where he wanted to be.
Through roughly the first half of the season, the CSC first baseman was hitting .505 (54-107) with 14 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 51 runs scored and 49 RBIs.
“It is all about a consistency for Cacey,” Tenhouse told the Dispatch. “It all started this past winter. We talked to him after the fall season, but it was really about him. He realized what was going on and got a feel in the fall by knowing what he needed to do. No one works harder than Cacey. He never goes through the motions, and he takes advantage of every moment he gets in the cage or on the field to hit.”
That isn’t to suggest any of it has come easy for O’Brien.
“Trust me, the fall was a struggle,” he said. “The coaches worked with me a lot in the fall and winter, and mostly just got me relaxed and got me back to doing what I do best.”