Matt Vinson was not the flashiest player on the Arkansas baseball team, but he was rock solid, and his teammates leaned on him during hard times.
Vinson’s journey through the past four years is one future Diamond Hogs should try to emulate.
Coming out of Alma High School in 2009, Vinson progressed each season with the Razorbacks. As a freshman in 2010 he appeared in 46 games, including 23 starts. Vinson held his own batting .240 with three home runs.
As a sophomore in 2011, he upped his batting average to .221 and by his junior year he was starting in nearly every game.
However, it wasn’t until Vinson’s senior year when he became most valuable. His hustle and team-oriented mentality did not go unnoticed by his peers.
Vinson was chosen as a team captain and was oftentimes the glue that kept the Hogs together. After Arkansas lost four straight games in March on the road, Vinson was the grizzled veteran the youngsters on the team turned to for guidance. Arkansas got back on track and finished the SEC season strong, in third place.
When the season came to an end last weekend in the regionals, head coach Dave Van Vorn looked back and wished he had more guys like Matt Vinson.
“He was one of the only upperclassmen that busted out,” said Van Horn. “He hit close to .300 all year. We needed a couple more that would have got after it a little bit. We could have gotten 42, 43, 45 wins. it could have been different.”
Vinson will leave a lasting legacy on this team. His hard work will serve as an example for teams to come. And if the Hogs had more guys like him, maybe they would still be playing baseball.