ALEC RUNYAN / Ball State Sports Link
As the 2021 baseball season gets underway, veteran second basemen Noah Navarro understands the importance of his role as a leader.
Although he admits to not being the most vocal on the team, he believes his impact as a leader is felt through actions rather than words.
“I feel like as a veteran I look at myself not so much as an outspoken leader but more of like a quiet leader, a lead by example guy,” Navarro says.
Entering his redshirt junior season and third season as the team’s starting second basemen, Navarro has put up impressive numbers since stepping onto the field.
Despite suffering a torn labrum in 2019 that cut his season short after 32 games, Navarro started off the 2020 season on fire before ending in March due to coronavirus.
In 14 games played, Navarro was averaging .377 with six extra base hits and was successful on all seven stolen base attempts.
“I want to make sure that I’m showing the new guys how we run things here, how we do things here, and how we carry ourselves here,” Navarro said. “I feel like that’s really important moving forward so that when they’re older and more experienced they’re able to do that for the younger guys and keep the tradition going.”
The past two seasons Navarro has hit for an average of .328, with 17 extra base hits including four homeruns and 30 RBIs in 46 games. He’s also been one the Cardinals’ top base runners over the past two seasons with 14 stolen bases.
Leaders like Navarro and many others are what has made Ball State’s baseball program so successful year in and year out.
Up until the shortened season a year ago, the Cardinals had totaled seven consecutive winning seasons with 30-or-more victories in each.
Making the decision to come to Ball State was easy for Navarro. In his sophomore year of high school while attending a hitting camp, he was introduced to a former member of the BSU coaching staff.
“Once I met Coach Maloney, he was fantastic,” Navarro said. “He showed me that he wanted me here. He showed me around the campus and all the great places and facilities. And pretty much the Ball State tradition he preaches, it was true back then when he told me and now that I’ve been in it, it’s just fantastic.”
Shortly after visiting campus and meeting Coach Maloney, the second basemen committed to BSU before entering his junior year at Avon High School.
As Navarro steps into a new role as a leader, the Cardinals opened their season in Tucson (Ariz.) last weekend in impressive fashion. In a four-game series against the #22 Arizona Wildcats, BSU split the series 2-2.
Navarro hit for .316 average over the weekend, leading the team with six hits. He also found his stride on the base path, notching his first stolen base of the season.
The now No. 30 ranked Cardinals head to Normal (Ill.) to take on Bradley in a three-game series, including a double-header Friday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.