A man on a mission
Concordia-St. Paul's Lippincott enjoys success on and off field
Concordia-St. Paul senior third baseman Bryan Lippincott is a man on a mission … to mold himself into the best student-athlete possible. So far, the mission is looking pretty successful.
At the plate, Lippincott currently leads Division II with a .537 batting average, and ranks second in the nation with a .967 slugging percentage. In the classroom, Lippincott is even more impressive. He carries a perfect 4.0 GPA and is set to graduate in May.
The native of Des Moines, Iowa, was not highly-recruited out of high school. Lippincott became interested in Concordia because a former high school teammate was playing for the Golden Bears. Head coach Lunch McKenzie invited Lippincott and current shortstop Troy DuBay -- teammates at Johnston H.S. -- for a workout in the fall.
|LIPPINCOTT'S SEASON STATS|
“Basically, I watched them play catch,” McKenzie said. “I had an assistant coach here who was a Tampa Bay Rays scout and asked him what he thought. He said, ‘I don’t think you’re going to get him.’ I said, ‘I don’t either just watching the way he moves. I think he’s probably a low-level Division I guy or maybe better with some work.’”
Two days later, Lippincott had an offer from McKenzie. The youngster accepted. It was the only scholarship offer he received.
“Lunch is a guy who can see potential,” Lippincott said. “The coaches provide you with the tools and information to make yourself a better player, but you get the choice of what you want to do with that.”
Lippincott had a solid start to his collegiate career, batting .354 as a freshman, and consistently improving every season. Despite batting .434 with 17 doubles, six home runs and 39 RBI in 34 games as a junior, Lippincott was left off last year’s All-America list and was only second-team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
“He led the nation in doubles per game and our region in hitting, but with a bad winter and the Metrodome collapse we only played 34 games,” McKenzie said. “He was the last guy left off the third-team. He was second-team All-Conference, because we had the player of the year at the same position, who was a 10th round draft pick.”
Out to prove himself, Lippincott worked even harder.
Last summer, he played summer ball for the Quincy Gems in the Prospect League, and garnered All-Star recognition after batting .347 with 11 homers and 57 RBI. To top it off, the left-handed batter won the league’s home run derby.
“I made a little change in my lower half, and added a little bit of a leg kick and I owe that to my summer head coach Chris Martin,” Lippincott said.
Although Lippincott says his approach is not much different than earlier in his career, McKenzie says Lippincott’s determination and perseverance is unyielding.
“He came back from the summer and said, ‘I just want you to know you have a man on a mission here,’” McKenzie said. “He’s worked endlessly on his swing. He has a routine that when we’re done with practice, he takes a bucket of balls and takes 100 swings off the tee, then eats dinner and does his homework. He does it every night, and it rubs off on other guys and helps them get better, too. He’s outworked everybody.”
Lippincott’s batting average is 37 points higher than the second-best mark in Division II, and he owns the second-highest on-base percentage in the nation at .631. He has struck out only eight times in 121 at bats, and has walked 23 times on the year.
The hard work has paid off in greater consistency at the plate, but Lippincott can also get that hit in the pressure-filled moments.
“He can do it when it counts,” McKenzie said. “Some people can do it when you’re down 13-0, but he can do it when we’re tied 6-6 and the bases are loaded in the ninth inning and they have to pitch to him. Everybody is thinking grand slam and there is goes.”
Lippincott’s achievements in the classroom and on campus are also spectacular. In addition to winning the 2011 CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year award for Division II, Division III and NAIA, he also works with the Student-Athletic Advisory Committee and is a senior resident advisor in Concordia’s dormitories. McKenzie says Lippincott has been looking out for his teammates, and helping newcomers answer questions since he got the job as a sophomore.
“We don’t have captains here … I let that take care of itself, but this kid is like having an assistant coach.”
With his talent, size (6’4”, 210 pounds), intellect and maturity, several professional baseball teams are scouting Lippincott. Despite playing at a small Division II school in Minnesota, he will most likely get a chance to play professional baseball.
However, Lippincott has prepared himself for a business career if things don’t pan out on the field.
“I want to go as far as I can with baseball, but I’ve accepted a job with the Minneapolis Financial Group as a financial advisor,” Lippincott said. “They are going to work with my schedule if I get the opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Whether it is business or baseball, Lippincott is ready to flourish in whatever comes next after graduation.
“When you come to college, education comes first, because there are so few people that are going to get the opportunity to go to the next level, and even fewer that make it to the top,” Lippincott said.