BRHS alum Gordon finding his place at JSUPublished 11:55am Friday, March 22, 2013
By Ed Bailey
For Griff Gordon, timing is everything.
A former stud on the diamond for the Benjamin Russell Wildcats, the Jacksonville State outfielder learned just how important time is after showing up to practice a few minutes late during his high school days.
“Coach (Richy) Brooks taught me to never be late for anything,” Gordon said. “We were playing in the Lake Martin Classic, and somehow I ended up late. I think it was a miscommunication on my part. I ended up having to run like 50 poles before the game.”
Since then, Gordon seems to have a newfound appreciation for time.
As of this writing, his .373 batting average and 25 hits lead Jacksonville State.
At one point this season, Gordon had an 11-game hit streak and had reached base in 15 straight plate appearances.
Gordon said this comes from the time logged in the batting cages as well as lessons he learned at BRHS.
“This fall, I really worked on my game,” he said. “I was hitting in the cage a lot so I’d be ready for the pitching I’d see this season. Coach Brooks always told me to try to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field instead of being a pull hitter. Him helping me do that has helped me out a lot.”
If the southpaw slugger’s stats are any indication, Gordon has been more than ready for the opposing hurlers that JSU has faced this year.
Yet for the Alexander City native, being a complete team player is more important than any personal accomplishment.
Gordon said that his attitude toward the game comes from his parents, Coach Brooks and his coaches at Southern Union.
He added the lessons have stuck with him since.
“My parents taught me to put others before myself,” Gordon said. “That attitude also came from my junior college coaches. I believe if you do your part for the team, the rest will take care of itself.”
In addition to being Jacksonville State’s best hitter, he is arguably the Gamecocks’ best defender as well. Gordon has yet to commit an error this season and has a fielding percentage of 100.
“Succeeding at the plate means a lot, but I still work at my defense,” Gordon said. “After all, if you don’t allow any runs, you don’t get beat. (Coach Brooks) taught me that defense was always important. If you play defense, the hitting would come. You just just have to believe in it.”
Gordon added that Brooks’ “tough love” style helped him to become the player that he is and keeps him working toward the player he wants to be.
“He’s tough sometimes,” Gordon said. “He’ll get on you when you do something wrong, but he’s also there to pick you up. He’s a good coach, and I loved playing for him.”
However, while at Gordon’s heart resides a selfless player, he admitted that there is one personal goal he’d like to reach.
“Hitting .400 at the Division 1 level is pretty tough to do,” Gordon said. “That’s my goal for the year.”
With 31 games left to go in the Gamecocks’ regular season, he has plenty of time to achieve that goal.
And if Gordon’s past is any indication, he’s sure to make the most of it.