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Jamison's patience pays off

Williamsport catcher signs with Division I Eastern Kenkucky

Williamsport catcher signs with Division I Eastern Kenkucky

May 29, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

WILLIAMSPORT -- A.J. Jamison left his college options open, and Williamsport's star senior catcher reaped the rewards Wednesday afternoon.

Jamison, who was named to the Maryland All-State preseason team and the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America second team back in March, broke the Williamsport regular-season batting record with his .596 average.

That led Eastern Kentucky University -- an NCAA Division I program -- to come knocking at Jamison's door, and he signed his letter of intent to play for the Colonels in the Williamsport school library.

"Coach (Larnie Vickers) got an e-mail after the season," Jamison said. "I was keeping all my doors open, and this popped up. It seemed very interesting. It's very unexpected.

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"It was very relieving. There's a sense that all my hard work paid off. But there's no reason to quit working hard now."

Jamison was leaning toward attending Shenandoah University -- a Division III program -- when the season started.

His impressive senior campaign -- he broke Jimmy Benedict's record of .592, set way back in 1962, and hit nine doubles and four homers -- led to bigger and better offers, including from High Point (Division I) and West Virginia State (Division II).

Then Eastern Kentucky coach Elvis Dominguez came calling.

"I'm real excited to see him have an opportunity to play at a D-I school," Vickers said. "I'm excited to see that all his hard work got him what he deserves."

Jamison called the Colonels "an up-and-coming program looking to rebuild," and believes he can be a big part of that.

"The catching situation seems pretty open. There's an opportunity to come in and catch," Jamison said.

Jamison earned 2007 Washington County Baseball Co- Player of the Year honors along with Boonsboro graduate Kyle Kane. Jamison was the 2007 Herald-Mail All-Area First Team catcher.

"The last two years, I've really been swinging the bat well," Jamison said. "I've come to understand my own swing, and understand what it takes to be successful."

"It's been a lot of extra hacks, a lot of tee work, making sure my hands are staying in and good hand-eye coordination," Jamison said.

As much as his game has improved during his high school career, Jamison knows the work is far from over.

"My own personal goal is to increase my arm strength and gain some weight -- I'm pretty small for a college catcher," Jamison said. "Hard work has gotten me this far, there's no reason to give up on that.

"It's been an amazing ride through high school. I'll miss it here, but I'm looking forward to getting up there, meeting new people and playing some college ball. I want to thank my parents and family for all their support when times were both good and bad. They're the ones who kept me going through the rough times and kept my head on my shoulders."

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