After recovery, athlete’s ready to resume career
One could forgive Matt Fanning for being unsure of his baseball career after high school. The senior Basehor-Linwood star suffered a bout of mononucleosis followed by kidney stones. Those medical setbacks were enough to make any athlete reconsider putting their bodies through more vigor.
Fanning leaned strongly towards giving up baseball and going to the University of Kansas to focus on academics. In the end, however, the pull of the field was too much and Fanning committed to St. Mary to play ball.
"At the beginning of the summer, I just figured I would chill next year," Fanning said. "At first I really didn't think I would go anywhere to play sports, so I was going to settle for that. But once I talked to some coaches, and got healthy and everything, then I got to thinking about it and I talked to Beau Basler (Piper's baseball manager) and he said he would get me a place to play next year."
Basler, a family friend, got Fanning in touch with St. Mary's coach Rob Miller and arrangements were quickly made. Fanning toured the facilities and talked with the coach.
Once Fanning decided to play baseball, he had two other choices next to St. Mary. Ottawa and Kansas Wesleyan were also under consideration, but he ultimately chose St. Mary's
Fanning's parents allowed their son to choose the school of his liking.
"They talked to me a little bit about each school; what I liked and what they thought," Fanning said. "They wanted me to go wherever I wanted to go. They were happy with my decision."
Fanning said the decision was not hard when he decided he wanted to play baseball. The former Bobcat said his parents were not concerned with the extra time he would be spending on the baseball diamond while away at school.
"It was pretty much do whatever I want because I have been able to balance sports and school work my whole life, so it isn't an issue," Fanning said.
USM finished 20-23-1 overall in 2007 with a 14-10 conference record.
Fanning has been playing baseball this summer and said that rust was his biggest concern. Fanning logged merely 14 at-bats in his senior season. The second half of the campaign was lost to mono.