»Joshua Stephenson, Staff Writer
The game of baseball has long been considered America’s pastime and a tradition for many families around our country. At any baseball game a father or grandfather there with their son or grandson teaching them the ins and outs of the game. That is where our love of baseball comes from; we see it as a game that can bring us back to our childhood and a game that is steeped in tradition. For APSU Second Baseman Jordan Hankins, that is where his love of baseball truly began.
“It’s family tradition, it’s been in my family for generations,” says the 5’10, 191 pound junior from Wentzville, Missouri. “I grew up watching my dad play and all the stories my grandpa would tell, he was a great ballplayer, and it just kept coming down the family tree.”
This love started by his family was something that Hankins always had around him no matter what the age. His older brother Josh played baseball as well and that made an impression on Jordan at a young age.
“My brother is my biggest role model,” said Hankins, a 2012 All-American Honorable Mention, “I grew up watching him play; other kids would be playing video games or hanging out, but me and him would go downstairs and play a full-on baseball game.”
The Govs record currently sits at 17-2, one of the best starts in the program’s history, and Hankins knows this team could be special.
“We are playing really good baseball right now, really good team baseball,” said Hankins, who is second on the team in batting average right now hitting .357. “We are just so deep with pitching and hitting. We are a hard out from one through nine in our lineup. I wouldn’t want to face us.” Hankins is one of the leaders on this team and its players like him that you want to have when you are in a close game. “We are figuring out a way to win the ballgame no matter what. If we get down we don’t get upset, we just find the way to win games.”
The team success of APSU’s baseball program has no doubt helped Hankins get some national attention and put his name firmly in the conversation for being drafted.
After the NCAA Regional in Oregon last season, Hankins was selected to participate for the USA collegiate baseball summer team, one of the highest honors a college baseball player can attain.
Projected to go in one of the top 10 rounds of the MLB Draft in June, Hankins understands that his dream of playing Major League ball is in his sights.
“It’s something that I have always dreamed about, its what I love to do,” said Hankins, who has one year of eligibility left at the college level. “Growing up you never thought you’d make it this far; you just love the game and love to play it.”
Despite the possibility of being drafted so high up the board, Hankins is not letting it cloud his short-term goals.
“You can’t really think about or worry about that aspect of the game. You have to focus on what we are doing right now.”
With a great season last year, Hankins knows this team is destined for bigger and even better things, much like his future, but he keeps it all in perspective. “You just have to take it one game at a time still and have fun with it.”
The game that Hankins grew to love as a kid could one day be his meal ticket. As June approaches, APSU baseball fans will wonder if Hankins will stay for one more year or go pro. But one thing is for sure: the sky’s the limit for this young baseball star.