Hunter Higdon went to The Ballpark at Jackson this past summer for the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament, and among the teams he saw play was Tennessee Tech.
If things go well, Higdon will be out on the field wearing purple and gold for the 2017 tournament.
“That’s one of my goals, to come back all four years and play at my hometown so everybody can come out,” Higdon said. “It’d be pretty awesome.”
A senior at Jackson Christian, Higdon signed a letter of intent Tuesday to play baseball at Tennessee Tech. A pitcher and shortstop for Jackson Christian, Higdon will be an infielder in college. He chose Tennessee Tech over Harding University, committing to the Golden Eagles this past summer.
Higdon wore a Tennessee Tech-themed tie for his signing Tuesday. As he signed his name in front of several dozen supporters in the Jackson Christian library, a few teammates chanted “Hig-gy! Hig-gy!”
“I went up there and it has a great campus, great people there, and the coaches love baseball,” Higdon said of Tech. “They’re excited about it and they’re all about baseball, which is a major thing for me because that’s all I’ve known all my life. I just love baseball.”
He’s not sure of his major yet but is interested in Business and Agriculture.
Tennessee Tech finished fourth in the OVC tournament last year to close its year 26-29, but the Golden Eagles had consecutive 40-win seasons before that. Matt Bragga has coached them since 2004. Crockett County catcher John Elford has also signed with Tennessee Tech.
Jackson Christian coach Chuck Cooper said he wants Higdon, who has played with Jackson Christian since eighth grade, and any other college signee to expect a lot of himself.
“When you go in as a freshman, don’t just be happy to be there but expect to compete for a starting job,” Cooper said. “The mindset is so important going to a new place and a new level. Don’t just be satisfied. Don’t just try to fit in, try to stand out and try to separate yourself from your competitors and get on the field.
I have no doubt that Hunter and Miles [Humphreys, a Harding signee] will both take that attitude to the next level with them.”
Higdon has a .330 career batting average with 59 runs scored, 62 runs batted in, 23 extra-base hits and 18 stolen bases. As a pitcher he has a 2.95 career ERA, and his ERA last year was 1.58.
Higdon already has shown he can make contact well, and his arm strength and range make him a good defender. At 5-10 and 155 pounds, has been working out regularly to boost his power at the plate.
“I’m planning on starting. That’s going to be my top goal,” he said.
Higdon wanted to thank Cooper, travel baseball coach Jimmy Carey and all of his teammates for their support. Before he moves to Cookeville, though, Higdon is excited for his final high school baseball season to start.”
“It can’t get here soon enough,” he said.”
Craig Thomas, 425-9634