On every team there has to be a veteran player helping lead the team down a successful path, and for the Eastern Michigan University baseball team, that player is senior pitcher Corey Chaffins.
“He’s been here five years and has seen a lot,” senior outfielder Ken Battiston said. “So he brings leadership and experience, especially with pitching in big games and how to handle that situation.”
The right-hander tallied 277 career strikeouts, which is good enough to earn him the second place spot on EMU’s all-time strikeout list, passing Jeff Fisher’s 261 strikeouts from 2007.
The six-foot-three Chaffins from New London, Ohio came to the EMU baseball program despite having the opportunity to play for both Xavier and Ashland Universities. He said chose EMU because he likes the people.
Chaffins, a biology major, started playing baseball at about five-years-old because “everyone else was doing it,” and enjoys playing videogames, especially Call of Duty, and playing golf in his spare time.
“I was going to play football in college,” Chaffins said. Instead, he picked baseball as his sport of choice, and the Eagles program benefited greatly for it as he gave the Eagles four solid years on the mound.
“It’s a big team sport, but also gives you the opportunity for individual success as well,” Chaffins said.
He said the favorite thing about this team was “everyone’s desire to win.
“It’s a lot better than it was before.”
Chaffins has been with the Eagles since the 2007 season when he made five starts to go 2-2. In his 14 appearances, he struck out 42 batters during 40.1 innings pitched before missing the entire 2008 season due to Tommy John’s surgery in the offseason that replaced a torn ligament in his elbow.
Since his return in the 2009 season, Chaffins has been one of the most reliable pitchers on the roster, striking out at least 69 batters in each of his last three seasons and accumulating a 16-14 record.
One of his best games came in the 2010 season opener against the No. 25 Kansas Jayhawks when he pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out eight, which was good enough to earn Mid-American Conference West Division pitcher of the week honors for the third time in his career.
The 2011 season was Chaffins last as an Eagle, and he finished it with his lowest earned run average of his career with 4.99 in 19 appearances and 12 starts.
Chaffins is not always about baseball, though.
“He is going to chiropractic school,” Battiston said of Chaffins.