By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
NOC Enid’s Sammy Terry says he tries to lead by actions instead of words.
“I try to keep my energy up doing the little things like hustling on and off the field, said the Jets left fielder.
Terry’s bat has spoken loudly for NOC Enid (7-23), which begins its Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference season with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Murray State today. The two teams also play a twinbill at David Allen Memorial Ballpark at 1 p.m. Sunday.
He is hitting .319 with a team-high four home runs and 19 RBI. He is the team co-leader with eight doubles.
“I try not to focus too much on myself,’’ Terry said. “I just try to think about being the best teammate that I can be. If I can keep up the other guys spirits up, everybody will start doing better.’’
He said he benefits by hitting behind Chase Knott (.293, 16 RBI) and Korbin Polston (.400, three homers, 27 RBI), who have given him plenty of RBI opportunities.
“It always helps batting behind two good hitters,’’ he said. “You see a lot more fastballs than you would typically see.’’
Terry is not discouraged about the season so far. He said the Jets’ tough non-conference schedule has prepared them for the conference season.
“Everybody is 0-0 right now,’’ Terry said. “We have had our ups and downs so far, but we’re making some positive strides.
“We have been working hard all season. We have had some tough breaks, and things haven’t gone our way. We know what adversity is and how to handle it.’’
That’s one of the keys to Terry’s season — handling the downs and putting an 0-for-5 day behind him.
“All baseball is to relax and play the game,’’ he said. “You know you can play, you have been playing all of your life. It comes down to being in the right mental mindset. If you keep working hard, the baseball gods will award you eventually.’’
Terry, a Tulsa Washington product, transferred to NOC Enid after redshirting at Division II power Central Missouri last season.
“It was tough there,’’ he said. “I needed to come here to get more experience at the college level. I wasn’t quite ready for that level of competition. I thought I would play here, and see where it goes from there.’’
Terry, a childhood friend of Jets pitcher Zach Postoak, regretted not taking the junior college route out of high school.
“I thought with my personality type — I really like meeting new people — I wasn’t sure the junior college experience would fulfill that,’’ Terry said. “I wish I came here sooner. Enid is not a typical junior college town. We have a lot of support from fans. This is a nice-size city. I feel at home here. I had some previous teammates play here and I heard some good things.
“We all get along well. A lot of us competed against each other in high school. We were familiar with each other from the beginning.’’
He remembers spending a lot of time at Postoak’s home growing up, and traveling with his family. That was one reason he came to NOC Enid.
He jokes about any previous head-to-head battles with his old buddy.
“I don’t remember them,’’ he said with a smile. “Baseball is a game where you put the bad at-bats behind you, and use the good at-bats as confidence and run with it. Every pitch is a new at-bat.’’
The maturity of the players is the biggest difference between D-II and junior college. He had teammates that were 22 or 23 years of age at Central Missouri. He’s one of the oldest players at NOC Enid.
“Baseball is still baseball,’’ Terry said. “At Division II, the pitchers usually have more command of their pitches and a certain confidence level when they step on the mound. You have some of that in junior college, it’s not too different.’’
His role model is Detroit Tigers outfielder Torri Hunter. Terry’s aunt catered Hunter’s anniversary celebration in Dallas and Terry got to meet the long-time All-Star.
“It was exciting to be around a big-leaguer,’’ Terry said. “He gave me some choice words and I took it to heart. That motivated me. He’s a role model and a good family man.’’
Terry plans to graduate in May with an associate’s degree in business administration. He is the team’s scholar athlete of the year.
“I go as hard in the classroom as I do on the field,’’ Terry said. “My mom worked her way through college, and I know how important an education is.’’
The Jets will pitch Zach Bradford (0-3, 6.20 ERA) and Postoak (3-2, 5.06) today and Austin Hannum (0-2, 9.15 ERA) and Dillon Freie (0-2, 2.55 ERA) on Sunday.