Before traveling 3,888 miles from Nanakuli, Hawaii, to St. Joseph, Joshua Lincoln already got a taste of Mustangs baseball.
The islander finished his time at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, California, with former Mustang Dixon Marble as his assistant coach. Already on his way to the Midwest to join East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, Marble had another idea for Lincoln.
"I wasn't really thinking of playing summer ball, then our last series we had, he comes up to me and says, 'Would you like to play for the Mustangs?' … I was like, 'Yeah, that would be cool. I would love it.' That conversation was pretty cool," Lincoln said.
When Lincoln was younger, he made trips to Cooperstown, New York, and South Carolina for baseball tournaments, but he had no exposure to life in the Midwest.
More than one month into his first summer in St. Joe, it's easy to imagine what the Hawaii native is missing most.
"The ocean. When I was back at home, I was a real beach kid," Lincoln said. "I would always be in the water, be surfing or something. That's what I miss the most."
Lincoln hasn't even spent a day by the water — be it a pool, lake or river — during the entire summer.
Instead, he's focused in on becoming a focal point of the attitude and mood of the Mustangs.
"You know, he's super chill, always got a smile on his face, always listening to cool music. He's a guy everyone loves being around," hitting coach Johnny Coy said. "It's contagious for everyone else to be around a guy that's always in a good mood, always happy and always looks forward to being here every day to play the game of baseball."
Lincoln is batting .289 on the season with 26 hits and 15 walks to his name. He has produced 21 runs and batted in 11 against eight strikeouts. He also has contributed to the Mustangs' MINK-leading base running attack with eight stolen bases.
He notes his love to play in front of the packed houses at Phil Welch Stadium, as it reminds him of the love surrounding baseball on the islands.
"The baseball culture over there is actually really big. The only thing is you don't really get seen," Lincoln said. "There's not a lot of college recruiters that come down to get you seen. The only way we were able to be seen is maybe take a trip over here, to California or Arizona."
Though his future was uncertain before this summer, he's already looking to the dog days down the road with St. Joe in his mind.
"Why wouldn't I want to come back? Playing in front of this crowd, I have so many little fans. Going on deck, they're like, 'You're gonna hit a home run' and stuff like that. I don't see why not," Lincoln said.
"Once I got to know the guys, once we started playing baseball, it's just going by so quick. Playing baseball all summer, I couldn't love it any more."