By TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It seems only fitting that his role on the team is a perfect fit to describe his character. A significant responsibility for one of the nation's best offenses, he served as the leadoff hitter in 59 of a possible 62 games for a Tennessee Tech baseball team that captured both the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament title.
He leads the top of the order, the first to face an all out arsenal of fastballs, curveballs, changeups and the like, attempting to pave the way for the Golden Eagles from the get go. But off the field, he leads in more ways than one can measure and thus has been honored for his unmistakable efforts and qualities.
Alex Junior, junior out of Hendersonville, Tenn., was named the Tennessee Tech Athletic Department's Unsung Leader for the month of January.
"A.J. is an amazing young man and a leader," TTU head coach Matt Bragga said. "He's humble, unselfish, caring and his contagious personality makes all of us that are around him better."
Between the lines, Junior carried over Bragga's notion of making those around him better, sparking the aluminum from the onset of each game for a Tech offense that set program records in runs, hits, extra-base hits, total bases, home runs and RBI. Overall, Junior hit .323 with eight doubles, five home runs, 82 hits and a club-best 68 runs scored, a mark that put the Hendersonville, Tenn. native ninth in the nation in that department.
Outside the action, Junior displayed his leadership capabilities as a positive contributor within the community. A volunteer for countless events across Cookeville, Junior spent time as a Sunday afternoon leader, coach for a handicapped kid's softball league and helped coached a local little league team as well.
An upbeat attitude and optimistic approach, Junior didn't let his own set back come in the way of helping do whatever it takes to make Golden Eagle baseball flourish. As coach Bragga indicated, offseason shoulder surgery didn't get in the way of his starting centerfielder still making an impact wherever was needed.
"A.J. has shown he will do anything that is needed to make our program better and is an absolute joy to coach" Bragga said. "Whether it's chasing foul balls while coming back from injury, and then of course his on-field impact in helping us win a championship, you just can't say enough about this young man."
One student-athlete each month, nominated by members of the athletics staff, is selected and recognized for exemplifying outstanding leadership qualities. The leadership can be shown on the field, in the weight room, at practice, in the classroom, in study hall, on campus, in the community, for a student club or organization.
This award honors a varsity student-athlete who has made a positive impact on their team and the Tennessee Tech community as a whole, through his or her dedication to demonstrating leadership traits, such as:
- Keep Learning, Growing, and Improving
* Follow Through with Excellence
* Accomplish More than Expected
* Inspire and Motivate Others
Photo by Tony Marable