By James Summerlin, Sports Editor
The Union baseball team is looking to continue its TranSouth success, and two freshmen first basemen join the mix this year to bring depth to the Bulldog lineup.
The Bulldogs have added redshirt Jim Martin, mathematics major, and Logan Wall, nursing major.
Martin’s high school baseball career started in Ajax High School in Ontario, Canada. He played for a travel team in Toronto and competed against different universities. From that exposure to other universities, Martin entered the recruiting market. Union was able to pick him up. Martin redshirted last year to recover from an injury to his arm.
Wall, a first baseman for the University School of Jackson, did not expect to join Union’s team before he enrolled. He said he found out he was wanted by the Union coaches as soon as he got on campus. His high school coaches encouraged him to keep playing the game he loved.
“I got a text from my high school coach saying I should play,” Wall said. “I love the game and wanted to play.”
Union head baseball coach Brent Fronabarger said where a player comes from does not matter because players usually fit in easily to the new lifestyle. He said the important thing is if the player meets the mission of the university.
“We’ve got guys from all over the place,” Fronabarger said. “It’s about finding the right fit athletically, but they have to fit the mission of the university. They both are outstanding students in the classroom and outstanding kids.”
Three first basemen are on the Union roster.
The strategy for using either of the freshmen will be based on performance.
“From a coaching standpoint, we will play whoever is playing the best at that time,” Fronabarger said. “We will play the best guy that gives us the best opportunity. (Of the freshmen), one plays left-handed and one plays right-handed. Those are different (matchup possibilities) they bring to the lineup.”
Championship expectations of this team rose last season after the Bulldogs snatched their second TranSouth title in three years.
“I think we have a shot to repeat again as conference champions,” Martin said. “I’d like to contribute as much as possible to help the team win.”
For these players to make an impact, improvement must be made. Fronabarger said the intensity of the college game heightens the competition.
“Defensively, they still have work to do,” Fronabarger said. “First base is a position that is neglected from the amount of work that you get. There is more that goes into it at a college level. Your infield defense is only as good as your first baseman.”
Union out to a strong start, opening their 2012 campaign with a 4-1 record.