Settling into the batter’s box, Braden Mosley approaches things this season with one simple objective.
“Just go hit the ball,’’ Mosley said. “I’m not being passive. I’m not taking any pitches. The idea is to be aggressive, take my swing and make the most of it.’’
That approach is working for the Moline graduate currently playing the outfield for a Tennessee Wesleyan baseball team ranked second in the latest NAIA poll.
The senior is batting .387 and leads his 39-7 team with 16 home runs, 55 RBI and a .493 on-base percentage.
Named the Appalachian Athletic Conference player of the week earlier this month, Mosley is putting together the type of season he has been working toward since the start of a college career that began at Southern Illinois and included a stop at Southeast Missouri State in addition to two beneficial summers of competition in the Northwoods League.
“This is what I always knew I could do,’’ Mosley said. “I’m excited that it all has finally come together. I’m not caught up in breaking down every little thing. It’s see the pitch and hit it and that approach is working for me.’’
He understands how others may benefit from breaking down tape of their swings and picking apart everything from their stance to how they grip the bat.
That’s not Mosley.
“I’ve had coaches try to rebuild my swing, re-do everything from the ground up, and that’s not me,’’ he said. “I’ve always found that I’m better off just keeping things simple and just playing the game.’’
Mosley found the ability to do that at Tennessee Wesleyan.
“Here, they are willing to let players do the things they are comfortable doing to be successful,’’ Mosley said. “You can be yourself if it works for you and I’m thankful to be in that situation now.’’
At Southern Illinois, Mosley hit .254 and .271 over two seasons but coaches tried to eliminate a leg kick that has always been part of his swing.
“I wasn’t comfortable with the change and I could see it was going to limit my potential there, so I looked for another opportunity and found it at Southeast Missouri,’’ Mosley said.
He redshirted there in 2017 before a coaching change led to his move to Tennessee Wesleyan, a program he learned about during conversations with a teammate at Thunder Bay in the summer wood-bat Northwoods League.
“I was at a point where I didn’t want to lose a year by moving to another D-I program so I was considering D-III and NAIA options,’’ Mosley said. “One of my summer ball teammates told me he had some old teammates who had transferred to Tennessee Wesleyan and I decided to check things out.’’
Conversations with coaches there led him to explore further and Mosley eventually decided to continue his career with a program that has reached the NAIA World Series four times in the past nine seasons.
Despite dealing with a broken finger he suffered while diving for a ball, Mosley hit .272 in 34 games for the Bulldogs a year ago before growing his batting average by more than 100 points through 40 games this season.
Tennessee Wesleyan finished one game shy of reaching the NAIA World Series last season and Mosley believes the team is positioned to reach that goal this year.
“Our coaches talk about checking off that fifth box making the difference. The first four — fielding, hitting pitching, throwing — they’re there and the fifth box is energy and focus, the intangibles. This team brings that to the field every day, guys diving for balls, making plays, being aggressive,’’ Mosley said.
It’s the type of game Mosley grew accustomed to playing during his high school career at Moline.
“The approach that I’m comfortable with, being aggressive, going at it hard every day, those are the things I started to learn at Moline that I carry with me every day now,’’ he said. “That approach makes a difference for me now and it is helping me compete.’’
Mosley completed his work toward an undergraduate degree in finance with a minor in entrepreneurship and an emphasis in exercise science last week, allowing him to concentrate on making the most of the remainder of his collegiate career.
“There are players at every level in this game and the guys here can play,’’ Mosley said. “It feels good to be part of a team that can do something special and I’m anxious to see where it can lead.’’