A closer look at 3rd base - part IV

Evan Button is the last of our third base candidates we'll take a look at as fall baseball continues. Cody Overbeck, Devin Hicks, Dan Black, and Button appear to be the leading contenders for the hot corner spot vacated by Chris Coghlan, the three-year UM starter now in the pros.

Evan Button came to Ole Miss last season knowing where he stood.

The all-star infielder from St. Louis, Mo., knew Chris Coghlan was at third base. He knew that Zack Cozart was at shortstop. He knew Justin Henry and others were in the mix at second base.

But he chose to come to Ole Miss anyway. It's where he wanted to be, and the talented 6-foot, 173-pound Button says a year later it's still where he wants to be.

He says he loves it here and appreciates a good challenge. With so many talented Rebels on the field trying to get starting spots, especially at third, first, and in the outfield (where Button played some last season), things are still as competitive as ever.

"We have a lot of talent," said Button, a hard-nosed, blue-collar player who also played hockey growing up, lettering three times on the ice. "We definitely have some guys who can swing it and lots of guys who can play the game."

As for his fall, he's pleased but says he hasn't been at his best.

"So far it's gone OK," said Button, who played in 51 games for the Rebs last season, batting .265. "I'd like to be hitting a little better and fielding a little better. But I've had a back problem. My lower back hurts some and it hinders me. I'm doing some therapy every morning and also when I go onto the field for practice, just trying to get it better."

Through two fall weekends with two to go, Button is batting .250 (3-for-12) with all his hits being singles along with a couple of RBI.

Button loves being an infielder but just wants to be on the field playing somewhere.

"Infield is the most important positions on the team," he says confidently. "You have to make a play and throw it to first. You also have to hit. Whoever is hitting and can play defense will be the ones out there."

As for himself, Button says he believes it will all come around as the fall continues and also in the preseason practices of January.

"I know I need to start hitting better, and hopefully that will help me find a spot somewhere," said Button, rated out of high school as one of the nation's top 20 middle infielders by Team One Baseball. "I feel I can play anywhere in the infield. And as we saw last year, I can even play outfield. Wherever they need me, I'll play."

Button had a good summer playing for Danville in the Central Illinois Collegiate League. After being in a utility role for the Rebels as a freshman, playing some infield, outfield and designated hitter, Button found a home at shortstop for the Dans. He started almost all the games and posted a batting average of around .250 with very few errors in the field.

"I hit my first collegiate home run up there," Button said. "And it was with a wooden bat."

He was named MVP for postseason play with Danville.

Button says the competition on the Ole Miss team this year is so competitive that even missing one day can put you behind. But he knew that's the way it would be.

"And that's how it should be," he said. "It's all about who performs. It's a challenge, but that's why I came here. I want to work for my spot. I like working for it, and not having it handed to me. I could have gone some other places and already been playing all the time. But this is where I wanted to be. This is why I'm here.

"I'm a lot more comfortable this year. Last year I was just trying to get to know guys and trying to fit in. Now I'm comfortable. I feel very much at home now."

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