The Daily Aztec

David Hensley a familiar face for the Aztecs

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

by Justin Wylie, Staff Writer

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Senior shortstop David Hensley has been one of the faces of San Diego State baseball for the past four years.

It’s hard to miss him, due to his tall stature.

Hensley stands at 6-foot-5, and has evolved his game from a fringe freshman to a leader on this year’s club as the starting shortstop.

Hensley is a local guy, a Patrick Henry product from just across the I-8 highway a few miles away from SDSU.

During Hensley’s junior campaign he led the club in hitting with an average of .357, and manned right field for most of the year.

Hensley is a special ball player, who is able to play defense in essentially every position on the field.

In his time at SDSU, Hensley has played every position except for catcher.

This year he was tasked with taking over the shortstop position and hitting in the heart of the lineup.

“Earlier in the year I struggled a little bit trying to manage the two,” Hensley said about separating his offensive and defensive duties. “I took a lot of the defensive mistakes into the dugout, and into my at bats. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve managed to separate the two, allowing me to be successful.”

With shortstop a vital defensive position in the middle of the infield, Hensley had to take his defense more serious than in years past to give the coaching staff the confidence to keep him at the position.

Hensley said his approach to defense has changed due to the transition from the outfield to shortstop.

“The attentiveness that comes with the position, I have to be locked in on every pitch and anticipating the next play at all times,” he said.

Although Hensley scuffled earlier in the season on defense, his footwork, glove actions and his mindset have improved tremendously.

The success is apparent with Hensley hitting a .352 average on the year – the second best on the team –  while currently sporting an on-base streak of 29 games.

Hensley has incredible bat control and is able to spray the ball to the opposite field almost as if it were on command. His bat control also allows him to foul off tough pitches and create quality at bats for the team.

By playing such an important role for the squad, Hensley has prided himself on trying to get the next crop of underclassmen talent ready for their advancement in roles in the coming years.

“I’m just trying to relay to the younger guys you have to simplify the game, you can’t be antsy because you won’t get the results you’re hoping for,” Hensley said.

This is a lesson Hensley has learned over the past four years he has been on the Mesa, and wishes the underclassmen grow into.

Hensley has had plenty of help from his senior class mentoring the younger players, and while helping season the younger guys is important, the team leaders are still on a mission to close out the season strong.

“We hit a speed bump, but after this weekend [against Cal State Fullerton] it looks like we can turn it around,” Hensley said. “We got a fire that was sparked this weekend so hopefully we can continue that and get on a roll to win the conference and get to Omaha.”

SDSU won their series against Cal State Fullerton, a definite confidence booster for a team which had lost its last two conference series.

With Hensley catching fire at the plate and his glove leading the defense, the Aztecs are looking to capture their fifth Mountain West Conference title in the last six years.

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