Story and photos by Cara Cooper, Martinsville Bulletin

Brady Slavens grew up in Kansas City, and his mom is from the West Coast. So it was the opposite side of the country where he and his family went for trips and vacations when he was growing up.

Prior to this June, Slavens had never been to Virginia or any of the other states where he’s played this summer with the Martinsville Mustangs. Getting used to the East Coast hasn’t been a problem, though, for the Mustangs’ infielder.

In a team-high 43 at-bats this summer, Slavens is hitting .349 with a team-high 15 hits and 15 RBIs. He’s second on the team with 14 runs scored and six stolen bases.

It’s no surprise Slavens has been successful at the plate this summer. Before the college baseball season was shut down in March due to the coronavirus, he was hitting .507 at Johnson County Community College, located in Overland Park, Kansas. After leading all junior college players with 14 home runs, he was named the National Player of the Year by JUCO Baseball Blog.

Slavens started his college career at Wichita State before transferring to JCC. He plans to transfer again to the University of Arkansas in the fall.

“I was looking for somewhere else to go and luckily I found Arkansas,” Slavens said.

Slavens’ future Razorbacks teammate Matt Goodheart, a first baseman for the Mustangs, was the one who originally asked Slavens if he’d like to come to Martinsville A little time later Mustangs’ assistant coach Brandon Nania reached out to Slavens and asked if he’d like to play this summer.

“I said, ‘Yea I’d love to,'” Slavens said. “I’ve never been out here to any of these states… It’s a little different, obviously. I guess I grew up a West Coast guy but I’m loving the East Coast right now.”

Slavens is one of four Arkansas players on Martinsville’s roster this summer.

He didn’t come into the summer season with anything in particular he wanted to work on, it was more about just getting in reps and preparing for next season at school.

With more than three months between his final 2019 college at-bat and his first with the Mustangs, Slavens said it took some time to pick up where he left off.

“It was a little bit a struggle, especially not being able to do anything for a couple months. I’m sure every baseball player felt that,” he said. “But I’m just glad to be back playing baseball.”

Baseball has been a lifelong love for Slavens. He can’t even remember when he started playing – probably around four or five years old, he estimated. His dad played and got him into the sport, but it didn’t take much for it to become his favorite.

“I don’t know. I just loved it from a young age. I just always thought it was the most fun sport ever,” he said. “I had always been in love with the game.”

That love has brought him to Martinsville as a member of the Mustangs this summer, where he’s thankful to just be back on the field again.

“It’s great. They’re a group of fun guys. Love to play with them, love to be around them. Just like me they just want to play,” Slavens said.

Get to Know Brady Slavens
College – University of Arkansas

Favorite baseball team – The Kansas City Royals

Favorite baseball player growing up – Alex Rodriguez

Walk-up song – “Mean” by Taylor Swift

Reason for his walk-up song – “I just thought it was funny and fun. I enjoy Taylor Swift.”

Pets – a cat and a golden retriever puppy – “He’s wild but he’s cute.”

Pregame rituals or superstitions – “I try my hardest not to be superstitious and just have as much fun as possible. I don’t like thinking too much.”

How do he pass time on long bus rides – “I can’t sleep on a bus so I guess I just listen to music or probably find something to watch or I’ll just look out the window too sometimes.”