Seniors Kason Howell and Brody Moore have each been at Auburn for four years, combining for 308 total starts and providing valuable experience at their team heads to Corvallis for its third Super Regional in the past four postseasons.
The pair arrived for their freshman year on the Plains in 2019. Moore is a legacy player from north Alabama, following in the footsteps of father Brandon, who played baseball as a member of Auburn’s 1994 World Series team. Howell arrived via Argyle, Texas, but his family also had personal history with the Tigers despite living almost 11 hours away. His father, Eric, served under head football coach Tommy Tuberville in 2006.
Playing shortstop and centerfield, respectively, Moore and Howell are responsible for covering the heart of Auburn’s field. Having spent for years as instrumental starters for the team, head coach Butch Thompson looks to the duo to provide leadership to a team that was underestimated at the beginning of the season.
“I think they've used it for fuel,” Thompson said. “A coach is always trying to present a good message, but I think these guys from day one had a chip on their shoulder. And I think they've made it healthy. I think they present it as a challenge and use it for the good.”
Auburn’s locker room was full of new faces at the beginning of the year with newcomers like first baseman Sonny DiChiara, a transfer from Samford, and Mike Bello, a freshman who has lately been in charge of holding down left field. Returning guys like Howell and Moore are the glue that brought this team together.
“They meshed well. It’s a good clubhouse and the coach can’t take credit,” Thompson said. “I think they tried to do everything they could, for the most part, to represent Auburn, their families, our coaching staff and the baseball program the best they possibly can.”
Moore was named Regional MVP, going five-for-five at the plate in the game two defeat of Florida State. Howell, next in the order and also a member of the All-Tournament team, backed him up with a four-for-five hit night.
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“We did this for Auburn,” Moore said. “We did this for the university and the people who love this place.”
Moore and Howell began their time at Auburn with the first trip to the College World Series since 1997 on a 2019 team that brought some life to the program. That team went to Omaha via an Atlanta Regional and Chapel Hill Super Regional.
In 2020, the baseball postseason came after the pandemic set it, so no games were played. In 2021, the team went 25-27 through the season and 10-20 in conference play, a set of numbers that resulted in projections placing Auburn at the bottom of the SEC West for 2022.
Howell was available to the media prior to the Super Regional and Moore was available after the Regional. Thompson’s most recent comments were specifically about Howell, but on both occasions, he echoed the pricelessness of the two.
“He's not a good center fielder. He's a premium and a difference-making centerfielder. He's meant a lot to our program,” Thompson said. “I don't want him to go. I don't want him to leave. He's that good. He's that special.”
With that preseason chip on their shoulder, then, the pair of seniors will head to a Corvallis Super Regional in hopes of making a return to the much-anticipated College World Series.
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