Texas State seniors play with former coach in mind

SAN MARCOS, Texas — Dalton Shuffield and Wesley Faison have made this a memorable season for the Texas State baseball team.

Shuffield, a senior shortstop, was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. Faison, a senior infielder and designated hitter, was one of the team’s top homerun threats in the Bobcats’ roster. Both players are the main reasons the program is in NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2011.

“Having this season in my senior year is pretty special,” Shuffield said. “Going out in style, I guess.”

Both players have also matured on the baseball field together since joining San Marcos in 2017.

“I started playing with Dalton when I was 15, and then we both signed up at Texas State,” Faison said. “We’ve been playing here for five years together. We’ve also been roommates the whole time.

Wesley Faison. (Stephen Spillman/Associated Press)

Shuffield and Faison were first teammates for the South Texas Sliders, one of the top travel baseball teams in the state.

“It was amazing,” Faison said. “It was a surreal moment. That’s when I really, really fell in love with the game.”

Something Scott Mayer had a lot to do with. Mayer founded the Sliders organization and coached Shuffield and Faison in their U-17 team.

“This organization means a lot to me,” Shuffield said. “The memories of coaches, players, friends and family, it was great. He was the main reason why I stayed in this organization for so long.

A shining light for his players, even as Mayer battled his own demons in the dark.

“We actually got the news here,” Faison said. “We were playing a series at home and it was really difficult.”

Mayer committed suicide in May 2018. It was Faison and Shuffield’s freshman year. They have been playing for Scotty ever since.

“It’s kind of a connection that we all share together. We keep playing for Scotty,” Faison said.

Honoring a coach on and off the pitch.

Dalton Shuffield. (Stephen Spillman/Associated Press)

“This guy was a special man to me,” Shuffield said. “He helped me a lot, guiding me to be a better person, to be a good man.”

A mentor who is gone but not forgotten as the Bobcats attempt to make playoff history.

“Going into tournaments with this man, he just wants us to go after it and win it all,” Shuffield said.

“He’s definitely proud of us,” Faison said. “He preached excellence. He preached success and he preached winning ball games, so we did a lot of that for him.

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