Even in his 10th pro season, Darian Sandford isn’t slowing down.
The former Park standout is playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers in the independent Atlantic League.
He entered this week with 44 stolen bases, the most in the league and 19 more than the next player.
Stolen bases are the forte for the St. Louis native who played two years at Park. He was drafted by the Royals in 2010 in the 47th round and played two seasons in the farm system.
He has been on 11 different teams the past decade and has had another stint in organized baseball, playing for the Nationals in 2017 and reaching Double-A.
Currently, he is hitting .228 with 61 hits, nine doubles and 16 RBI in 81 games as of July 29.
He has bounced around from various independent leagues over his career — some that don’t even exist anymore. Like the Pacific Association, which had four teams. He stole 99 bases for Vallejo in 2016 and the next year Lancaster before having his contract purchased by Washington.
After getting cut by Washington, he returned to Lancaster and hasn’t left yet.
In 787 pro games, Sandford has racked up 576 stolen bases. As a 31-year-old last year, he stole a franchise record 82 bases and easily bested the old mark of 55 set in 2005.
He is also the first Barnstormer to have more than 100 stolen bases in a career.
Sandford was named to the Atlantic League’s Red, White and Blue All-Defense team after the 2018 season.
His 11 outfield assists were second in the league.
“He anchors center field for us and can flat out go get the ball,” Barnstormer manager Ross Peeples said in the press release announcing Sandford’s return to the team. “His speed creates havoc, plus he brings a lot of energy to the game.”
Dorvilien headed to Notre Dame
Park graduate Nixon Dorvilien was named as the athletic trainer for the University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team on July 26.
The 2001 graduate of Park — with a degree in athletic training — leaves the NBA ranks to join a Division I team guided by Mike Brey.
“We found the right fit for our program,” Brey said in a press release. “Nixon’s NBA experience will help prepare our guys for the next level and he is on the cutting edge of player treatment and rehabilitation.”
Since 2005, Dorvilien has worked in the NBA. He broke in with San Antonio (2005-2011), then went to the Brooklyn Nets (2012-2014), then to the Milwaukee Bucks (2014-16) and most recently the Utah Jazz (2016-2019).
He has also worked for Texas Tech, USA Track and Field and the Austin Toros of the G-League.
He has been an assistant athletic trainer, head equipment manager, athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach, travel coordinator and director of rehabilitation in his various stops.
“I am so excited to join one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world,” said Dorvilien, who ran track at Park. “I believe my experience can help make an impact on the program by teaching young athletes elite habits and elite behaviors that prepare them for future success.”
Eight teams honored
The Park University athletics department garnered eight NAIA Scholar Teams for the 2018-19 season, as eight programs finished the academic year with a Team GPA of 3.0 or higher.
There were a total of 1,883 teams from across the country to earn the award, which is higher than the total in 2017-18, 1,862.
For a team to be considered for the NAIA Scholar-Team award, it must have a minimum 3.0-grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) as defined by the institution. The team grade point average includes all eligible varsity student-athletes.
The eight teams that earned the award for the Pirates include women’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s soccer, softball, men’s volleyball and women’s volleyball.
The 2018 NAIA National champion women’s volleyball team finished with the department’s top GPA at 3.53.