The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s baseball team is pleased to have the return of a huge contributor in senior Yanni Patten after battling cancer this past year. Patten was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) of the spine in February 2018 and underwent back surgery and extensive chemotherapy before being recently told that he is now cancer free.
The impact of not having Patten was shown on the field for the baseball team as the team went 24-26 overall and 10-17 in the Crossroads League in 2018. In the 2017 season, Patten led the team with 56 hits, plus he also had 33 runs batted in.
Patten knows that being on the field means that he is joining people that he considers his brothers.
“Being a part of the MVNU baseball team is like having a second family,” Patten said.
This fall during practice, Patten was able to participate in batting practice and fielding, as well as continuing to pursue his degree in engineering. Patten was a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete during the 2017 season.
Head coach Keith Veale knows having Patten back is very important, and he is thankful.
“It’s been a blessing to have Yanni back on the field,” Veale said. “It has been a long road for him, but he has continued to stay positive.”
Patten has had a very long and challenging recovery process. “While recovering in the hospital, I had to regain strength and balance, and it was a very difficult experience” Patten said.
The MVNU community was very important during this time. MVNU athletics department and the community raised over $2,000 through the #YanniStrong campaign to help provide Patten with the required treatment.
The team regained a great player and person, and the campus and students are very excited to have him back.