Photo courtesy UNC athletics
Photo courtesy UNC athletics
GREELEY — Not too long ago, Josh Tinnon and the rest of his University of Northern Colorado baseball team were in the midst of a 30-win season.
What a difference a year makes.
“It’s been unbelievably rough,” said the former Holy Family standout.
The Bears are mired in last place in the Western Athletic Conference and have managed just five wins against 27 losses through Wednesday’s defeat against Air Force.
“If you would have told me we would have had just five wins at the point in the season before the season, I would have told you ‘No way,'” said Tinnon, who is 2-6 with a 7.59 earned-run average this season. “It has been a really tough season so far and obviously no fun at all.”
Even a 9-2 win in Lincoln over Nebraska in March seems like a long time ago for Tinnon and the Bears. But in what can be the quirkiest of games, Tinnon and his mates are holding out hope to turn the season around and to make a push in the WAC standings.
If they do, there is a possibility of making the conference tournament and extending his playing career.
“We still have a chance to make the tournament,” Tinnon said. “That is still a possibility if we start playing well, so it’s just a matter of trying to enjoy the last six weeks.”
Said former Holy Family coach Marc Cowell: “I know that is tough when you come from a program and you are used to winning, you put in the hard work and want to see those results and when do don’t see them, that can be extremely frustrating. And for Josh, he is about as competitive as they come.”
Tinnon, who still has two of his three brothers — Jacob and Andrew — attending Holy Family, has made it a point to get down to his old stomping grounds to watch the Tigers and new head coach Eric Nakayama.
He saw Jacob, a senior, play last week against Bishop Machebeuf and is rooting for his alma mater to keep on rolling. The hire of Nakayama made a lot of sense to him as well.
“I think Nak learned a lot from coach Cowell as far as baseball-related stuff, but Nak also likes to have a good time,” Tinnon said. “When I was playing there he was always the guy that was joking around and keeping things loose and having a great time. I think he has brought a little bit of that to what he is doing now as a head coach.”
Tinnon will graduate with a degree in criminal justice, and the reality that this phase of his life is nearly over is beginning to set in. His prospects for continuing any sort of baseball career have taken a hit, especially with the tough season the Bears are having.
“It’s kind of starting to hit me here in the last few days, just that this last six weeks is going to go by just like that and it’s going to be completely different for the rest of my life,” he said. “But I would like to go to law school.”
Tinnon has already accepted a sales position that begins after graduation and if that doesn’t pan out, it will likely be on to law school.
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