By Vincent Perstad
From a Canadian-grown hockey player to UT baseball catcher, Jason D. Osbourne has been impressive as he clinched SSC Player of the Week for Feb. 13-19.
“I played hockey in the winter seasons up in Canada and then played baseball in the summer-time,” Osbourne said. “When I got selected to play for the junior national team around the age of 17, I realized that I had a chance to play at a collegiate level or potentially professional level.”
Osbourne is a junior human performance major who recently transferred from Polk State College in Lakeland, FL. As a freshman at Polk State College, Osbourne saw action in 53 games with a .292 hit score and as a sophomore he increased it to .354.
“There have been a lot of influences that have got me to the point where I am at today,” Osbourne said. “Friends, family and coaches have all been a big part of my life as I continue this journey, but my father had a huge influence in my life regarding sports.”
It was Osbourne’s performance against University of Southern Indiana on Feb. 18 that secured him the SSC award. Osbourne led the team into a 2-1 victory for UT as he hit a .615 scored three runs, three runs batted in (RBIs), a homer, and a walk.
“Osbourne has been great for us so far,” assistant coach Jose Jimenez said. “He is off to a good start at the plate providing some power and leading the team in RBIs and he has also played great defense with bouncing around from third base to first base depending on the lineup we use.”
Jimenez adds that of all of Osbourne’s personality attributes, his sense of humor is most sought after next to ability as a team leader who keeps everyone loose and laughing at all times.
The key to Osbourne’s success, he says, is his understanding of the key aspects to weightlifting and training. Osbourne started baseball as a shortstop, but as he grew and got stronger, he was moved to third base in his senior year of high school.
“I was told that if I could learn the position of a catcher, my chances of playing at the next level would prolong,” Osbourne said. “I began catching when I was 13 and loved it, so now I have a little bit of versatility in my arsenal.”
With a season that began Feb. 20, the UT Spartans are off to a 9-3 overall record. So far, the Spartans are only nine games into their 44 game season, but Osbourne is very hopeful as to what the season has in store.
“We always try to come in with a good attitude and coach Urso has very high expectations every year and expects us to produce a good record,” Osbourne said. “The ultimate goal is to win a national championship as well as to continue working hard and figuring out what we need to do to accomplish that goal.”
The UT baseball team were national champions 92’, 93’, 98’, 06’, 07’, 13’, and 15’.
“JD is our biggest power threat in the middle of our order,” head coach Joe Urso said. “He is one of the best power hitters in our league who hits for average, which is rare for a power guy and so far he has done a great job defensively at third base.”