Dhaenens Rebounds From Early Slump To Pace Sun Devils

April 14, 2005

It couldn't have gotten much worse for Arizona State second baseman Seth Dhaenens. After starting 27 games as a redshirt freshman last spring, Dhaenens expected to be a regular contributor as a sophomore.

Instead, 22 games into the season, the Mountain Pointe High School graduate was batting .071 and had committed four errors.

'I wouldn't have started for my high school team,' Dhaenens said. 'I expected to help, but I didn't know in what capacity. When I wasn't helping early in the season I was down on myself.'

Boy, how things have changed.

Dhaenens is 20-for-44 over the last 15 games to raise his average 291 points to .362. He's also eliminated the fielding mistakes that plagued him earlier in the season. As a result, Dhaenens seems to have locked up the role of everyday second baseman.

Dhaenens said he never totally lost confidence in himself during the slump. However, he wasn't so sure the same could be said about his coaches, so he approached ASU coach Pat Murphy and asked him to stick with him.

'He came over to my house and said, `Coach I want to talk to you. I know I've been terrible, but I don't want you to lose confidence in me,' ' Murphy said.

'When a kid with that type of temperament . . . says that to you, you have to listen. The next series I gave him a chance and he proved himself right.'

Dhaenens, who credits a simple reevaluation of his mental approach for his turnaround, has been especially effective during Pac-10 play.

He has started at second base in all six of the Sun Devils' conference games. In those contests, he is 9-for-21 with four runs and five RBIs. In Sunday's 4-3 loss to Cal, Dhaenens drove in a run that would have won the game if Cal hadn't rallied in the bottom of the ninth.

'We wouldn't be in the spot we're in now without him,' ASU junior Travis Buck said. 'It's been a real relief to our team to have a guy who's been on for a month straight. It seems like that guy can't get out.

'He let Murph know not to give up on him and the guys on this team never gave up on him. We knew that he could do it.'

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