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Henson

Spencer Henson has always been big and burly in the batter’s box. But a dynamic training program turned him into the Summit League’s best hitter.

“Losing 30 pounds after my freshman year really helped me get my swing in order,” said Henson, a 6-foot-2 slugger for Oral Roberts.

Straight out of Pryor High School, Henson played right away as a freshman for the Golden Eagles. But only 17 at-bats spread among 31 games left his offensive production mostly disjointed.

That changed rapidly after only one offseason.

“The two main keys for me include having a good mental approach, which includes not riding the highs or the lows of baseball,” Henson said. “It’s really just keeping a level head.

“The other key is keeping my body in check.”

Consider Henson successful in every facet since the start of ORU’s 2017-18 season. After all, he’s now the Summit League’s triple crown winner for the second consecutive season, leading the league with a .372 batting average, 17 home runs and 49 runs batted in this season.

On Tuesday, Henson was named Summit League Player of the Year.

There have only been five triple crown winners in league history, and Henson makes up 40 percent of the field by himself.

“Finishing the last two years with the triple crown is nothing I could have ever imagined doing,” said Henson, the first ORU player to do it since Brian Van Kirk in 2008. “I’m very blessed to be able to have done it in back-to-back years. Winning that is only a byproduct of the countless hours the coaching staff and I spent getting my body and swing where it needed to be.”

For good measure, Henson wrapped up ORU’s regular season by going 7-for-13 with four runs scored, two home runs and five RBIs in four games to claim the Summit League player of the week award.

“It’s always fun to see guys grow and develop,” said ORU coach Ryan Folmar, whose club will open Summit League Tournament play Wednesday against South Dakota State. “I’m proud of him and how hard he’s worked. And what’s scary is he still has room for improvement.”

It should come as no surprise that Henson has tried to model his offensive approach after guys like Luke Voit, Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera — the last MLB player to capture the triple crown in 2012.

“All of them are bigger-built guys like myself,” Henson said. “They’re able to keep their bodies relaxed and athletic at the plate, so taking bits and pieces of each guy has really helped me make the jumps I’ve needed to help myself be more successful.”