As last years recruiting season began, coach Darin Loe searched his collection of profiles thoroughly to find the right fit for his offense. In his portfolios, Loe had a number of community colleges that he showed preference to when he hit the recruiting trail.
North Central Missouri College, located in Trenton, Missouri, was just another one of those schools. The Pirates have produced former and current Bearcats from 2017 ace Anthony Caenepeel to outfielder Derek Hussey.
So as Loe opened up his book of preferences, he stumbled across a video of a high-powered offensive weapon that strived on his ability to get on base. Immediately, Loe found what he had been looking for in a first baseman when he happened upon the video of now junior Connor Quick.
Now a year after his discovery, Quick is making waves and filling the hole that was left in the middle of the lineup after the program graduated its latest senior class. Quick’s story is headlined by hard work and determination put into motion by the luck of Loe finding his college tapes.
Quick’s story began a little later than normal stories, as he started his adventure in baseball at the elementary school level. During an age where children begin finding childhood romances, he found love in the form of baseball.
“My whole family is all about baseball. I have an older brother that played baseball his whole life, so its kinda just a given that I play baseball,” Quick said. “Especially being from St. Louis which is such a big baseball city.”
As a student of the game, he began his quest for something special in his high school years. Baseball came easily to him; it was something that was natural. He lived and breathed baseball and succeeded with it as he was named to the first team all-district at Rockwood Summit High School.
His success on the diamond in Fenton, Missouri only pushed him toward a new setting at North Central. There, he impressed and dominated opposing coaches while putting together a jaw-dropping sophomore year for the Pirates. During his 53 games, he compiled a .458 batting average, and to add to the wow factor, he provided 47 RBIs.
“He’s always been a great hitter, and that’s why we recruited him,” Loe said. “We felt like he was a guy that could hit in the middle of our lineup, just a guy that has a great eye for the strike zone and knows the pitch he wants. When he gets the pitch he wants, then he's got such great hands, that allows him to have a short compact swing.”
From JUCO to NCAA Division II, there was no drop in production for Quick as he picked up the pace of play quickly. In his first 15 games ever played at Northwest, he leads the team in home runs (2) and posts the best batting average (.357) and on-base percentage (.464). If that doesn’t establish his dominant pace to begin his tenure at Northwest, he was also named MIAA Hitter of the Week Feb. 3.
Loe knows that he got a steal when he recruited Quick, as he knew what he was capable of when he saw his highlight tape for the first time.
“(The) North Central coach is a friend of mine. Playing in Trenton, they know the region,” Loe said. “So I saw some video of him (Quick) and just really liked what I saw.”
In a team full of energetic leaders, Quick stands as one of the quieter guys in the locker room. It’s not what he says but what he exemplifies.
His role isn’t to be the public face of the Bearcats, but to be the leader that pushes to get the most out each member on the team.
“I’m definitely not one of the energetic guys,” Quick said. “I’m more of a keep to myself, kinda focus on what's going on. I definitely love it, we have a ton of guys that are the energetic guys, and that's what we need to keep the energy up. For myself… I’ll cheer but not jump and down.”
Quick’s leadership is derived not only from his talent but from the amount of work that he puts on display for his team to copy. He is always one of the first people to enter into the batting cages and one of the last people to leave. From work here to past summers working out with summer leagues, there is no questioning his love for the game.
His work ethic may end the day in Hughes Fieldhouse, but his start is always in the classroom. With a major like cybersecurity, there is no questioning his ability to focus and succeed in his classes as well as on the diamond.
“I think he’s a guy that leads by example,” Loe said. “He works hard in the weight room, he works hard in the classroom, works hard hitting the baseball. He’s not going to be a guy that yells and screams a lot, but there is no question that he is always ready to play the game.”
A little bit of love, a little bit of hard work and a sprinkle of superstition brings Quicks personality as a baseball player full circle. Baseball is a game of superstition, and even those that believe in hard work and determination know the importance of never changing your belt.
“I do some little things like changing my belts. I have two belts, and I started hitting well with one old belt, so I’ve just been wearing the same belt,” Quick said. “I just don’t want to mix things up, like I’ll wear the same socks, just little things like that.”
Nevertheless, no matter how much Quick talks about his life as a baseball player, the conversation always reverts back to his end goals to help the team.
Whether his goal is to establish himself as a player that works hard and gets better daily, the focus isn’t on what he can accomplish but making sure the team remains successful.
“Definitely a goal as a team is to repeat as conference champs. That's been the goal since we got on campus, and I definitely think we are capable of it,” Quick said. “Just whatever I can do to help the team win, don’t really care how I do, just if the team is doing well and I’m helping them win, that’s all I care about.”