Baseball, softball prepare for upcoming season

photo of Aaron Bartlett Sports Editor
Aaron Bartlett
Mesa Legend

On Jan. 31 the defending Mesa Community College baseball national champions took to the field to begin the 2015 season.  This season the Mesa T-Birds have their minds set to return to the playoffs by playing one game at a time and to play against the game.  “Last season pitching had to rely on a few pitchers versus the number of pitchers we have this season,” said Baseball Coach Tony Cirelli.  “At this time no match-up sticks out to us as a team because we try to go out and play each team with the same level of success. This season we have 40 conference games.”  Baseball at Mesa has had success because of the long tradition the program has had.

Today sons of fathers are always coming to play at MCC because of what the program has achieved.  According to Cirelli, success can be defined as playing as close to one’s potential as possible.  Cirelli has been at Mesa for the past 21 years and 11 of those were as an assistant coach.  “I as a coach have had great success thanks to the many coaches that coach this baseball team with me,” Cirelli said. “If not for them I don’t know where our team would be. I would define my coaching style as disciplined, teaching and passion.”  As of today the players are more than ready to play real games that matter to Mesa’s continued success in baseball.

photo of MCC's Thunderbirds practice to prepare for the new season. Photo by Aaron Bartlett / Mesa Legend
MCC’s Thunderbirds practice to prepare for the new season.
Photo by Aaron Bartlett / Mesa Legend


MCC softball starts the 2015 season with a new head coach.  Born and raised here in the Valley, Coach Grady Moorhead, who is a Cactus Shadows, Mesa Community College, Paradise Valley Community College, and Arizona State University graduate joins the Mesa T-Birds softball team.  After coaching here at MCC as an assistant from 2009-11 I had the opportunity to coach at the Division 1 level for three years at the University of Southern Mississippi in Conference USA as an assistant.

“When I left MCC for Division 1 I knew that I would be back one day,” Moorhead said. “After three years of being away I felt as though I needed to be closer to those closest to me and returned. Three words that would describe my coaching style would be attention to detail.”  Softball starts the season off on Feb. 3.  This season, the players established pre-season goals, season goals and individual goals. One academic goal for success would be to maintain a 3.0 team GPA on all grade checks.

“For me as a coach my goal is that our team is playing our best brand of softball by the end of the season,” Moorhead said.  “As a team we are not approaching the season as if one is cramming for a test but looking at it as a marathon and a process. Our main concern is to improve everyday whether it be in practice each day or that days contest once they start.”

“For me success is when; you can lie down each night and know that you put your best foot forward that day. It’s when you can look at yourself in the mirror and feel satisfied that you did all that you can do that day to become a better student, teacher, coach, son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father,” Moorhead said.

“For us as a team we will find success when each player leaves Mesa a more self-sufficient young woman than they were when they arrived. I feel as though our program will do that for women moving forward. The most exciting part of this season is being in the best softball division or region in the country. Each conference game is a chance to measure ourselves against the best the country has to offer in Junior College Softball.”  Mesa softball looks to return to competitive form this year.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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