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Baseball: Arizona State coach talks about Cory Hahn

February 23, 2011 |  5:49 pm

Arizona State Coach Tim Esmay commented Wednesday for the first time on the serious neck injury of freshman Cory Hahn, the Santa Ana Mater Dei graduate who required surgery last weekend after his slide into second base in a game against New Mexico.

Here are Esmay's comments: "Obviously, the events on Sunday, it was a very tough day for not only Cory Hahn and his family [but also] his baseball family, which is us. The family is in a healing process, I’m happy to say, and happy to say that Cory is in a healing process right now and ... our team is in a healing process.

"I think what has been awesome is in the last couple of days our guys have been able to go see Cory and be able to talk to him. I too have had the opportunity to go see him and talk to him on many occasions through the situation since Sunday and nothing but hope, nothing but positive prayers that we have been receiving has just been incredible … incredible the Sun Devil nation that has stepped up for this thing … the fans … the former Sun Devils and trust me, his family is hearing these things, and Cory is hearing these things and it’s a big boost to him and the situation.

"I am very excited about that and proud, very proud of the Sun Devil administration and Arizona State … everybody how they have handled themselves in uncharted waters. Just to see the response, how everyone has come to the help factor, the human factor in this whole thing has just been incredible and just a true statement to our University, and a true statement on what people do, and they come to help.

"I will say this, what we are looking to do as a team is getting some bracelets made up for our games. It's going to have a great little saying that reflects Cory ... The kids are also going to put Cory’s number on their hats, and the other thing we decided as a team is we have these new stirrups this year and we have the 'A-S' on the caps. We are going to go ahead and put the number 34 below that 'A-S.'

"It’s just little ways for the healing process to continue and as we are handling this thing as a group, as anything else that’s just part of the equation, and Cory is obviously very involved in what we are doing right now and having great conversations with his teammates and that’s been great. As a team, as anything else, we talk about this all the time in our program … it's life lessons … but you can never get the pitch back … you can never get the situation, the at-bat, the ground ball, the pitch, you can never get that back. But what you can do is keep looking forward, looking at the next pitch, the next at-bat. You talk about this, and that’s your preparation to play a game, but it's also your preparation for life, and what a great test for us to continue that.

"I don’t think I have been more proud of a group of young men in a situation than what happened on Sunday. You are talking about a situation that nobody has been involved with in their baseball careers, yet they have this happen in the first inning of a ballgame. To see your fallen teammate, a guy that [you're] in the trenches with. A special part of ASU baseball and why it's such a great experience for kids is it's just not the act of winning baseball, but it's what it provides for you, and it provides a lifelong lesson, a lifelong family-type atmosphere, and if you have been through this thing, you know what I am talking about.

"To see that happen in front of you, and have him carted [off] in front of you, there was a lot of emotion, a lot of tears in the dugout. The true sense on why I know this team will be fine, on why this team will continue, to do what this team came here to do, is the way they responded there. They just went right out and played a baseball game that I am sure, deep-down, didn’t mean a whole lot."

-- Eric Sondheimer