Old friends reunite in Missouri baseball team's win

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | 10:05 p.m. CDT; updated 11:06 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Missouri pitcher Kevin Mahler closed out the game for the Tigers in their victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday at Taylor Stadium.

COLUMBIA — Uniform color doesn’t always matter.

At least not when Missouri senior Aaron Senne is playing first base, and the first base coach for the other team is a former teammate.

In the Tigers 14-3 drubbing of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday at Taylor Stadium, Senne had a lot of time to talk to SIUE assistant coach Kurt Calvert. In 2008, Calvert played center field for the Tigers and Senne played right field.

Senne said they didn’t become enemies as soon as the game started.

“We’d chat in between pitches,” Senne said. “He was nice on me. It almost seemed like we were teammates still.”

Coach Tim Jamieson said he found the situation somewhat amusing.

“They had a conversation going the whole darn game,” Jamieson said. “If the game would’ve been a little closer I might have (told Senne to stop). Aaron’s always ready. We don’t worry too much about him.”

Calvert was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2008, an ironic fate for a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. Calvert stopped playing after a year and a half and decided his best bet was to go back to school. He wanted to find a school that would allow him to coach baseball too. He found the right fit with SIUE.

Calvert said he was eager to play Missouri as soon as he saw the game on the schedule.

“I was really excited to see all these guys,” Calvert said. “The teammates, the coaches, those are guys you’ll never forget for the rest of your life.”

Calvert and Senne have similar personalities. They are both calm guys that don’t fold in pressure situations.

When he played, Calvert was speedy and hit for a good average, similar traits to current Missouri center fielder Blake Brown. Senne said Brown has more skills than Calvert.

“... I think Blake has the extra tool of having power as well,” Senne said. “He’s a bigger kid. He’ll definitely swing it for a lot more power down the road. Kurt was more of a leadoff type hitter. Blake will definitely turn into a guy similar to me, who hits for average with some power.”

Brown said Calvert’s ability to relax, along with the way he played, are things he strives for.

“I hope so,” Brown said. “I’d like to see myself as a speedy person and good baserunner. I hope things will work out on the base paths and on defense.”

Brown is not quite as relaxed as Calvert, but that’s because he’s a freshman. Jamieson said Brown will get more relaxed when he’s older.

Calvert said overall, even with the new stadium renovations, Columbia hasn’t changed much since he left, and he’s happy about that. He did have one final question though: Why is Senne playing first base?

Jamieson laughed at the inquiry.

“If the answer’s to Kurt, it’s because he’s (Senne) our best first baseman,” Jamieson said. “If the answer was tongue-in-cheek, it’s because he’s (Senne) not good enough in the outfield to crack it with all those freshmen. It’s because he’s our best first baseman. He’s the best first baseman in the conference from what I’ve seen.”

Missouri (16-11) plays Illinois on at 7 p.m., Wednesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

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