Alumni Update: Baseball, Joel Hartman

Article By: Scott Gonzalez, Galveston County Daily News

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Below is a recent article in the Galveston County Daily News about former Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball standout Joel Hartman. A Sailfish baseball player most recently in 2006, Hartman was named to the mid-season All-Star team in the Colonial Baseball League as a member of the Bay Area Toros.

Hartman finds strength in faith

By Scott Gonzales
Correspondent
Published July 12, 2009

TEXAS CITY — Sometimes all a person needs is a second chance.

Bay Area Toros first baseman Joel Hartman knows all about it.

Hartman began his baseball career between Southeastern University and Palm Beach Atlantic University, both in his home state of Florida, where he thrived as a leadoff-type hitter with a high on-base percentage and an eye for stealing bases.

After not being drafted by a Major League Baseball team, he looked elsewhere to begin his professional career.

Hartman began the 2008 season with the Continental Baseball League’s Texarkana Gunslingers, where he only managed to earn one hit in 13 at-bats in six games. The rough start had Hartman looking for other options.

Things got better when he joined the Corpus Christi Beach Dawgs midway through the season. Hartman made his way into 20 games with the Beach Dawgs, earning a .226 batting average and stealing six bases.

Though he had his struggles out of the gate, Hartman said he believes his faith granted him a second chance.

“Every time things don’t go my way and I start to get down on myself, I always look to the Lord to help get pushing through,” Hartman said. “He’s always been motivational for me to keep pushing on.”

This season, it appears Hartman’s prayers have been answered.

After earning the starting first baseman’s job with the Toros in spring training, he has been on a tear. He leads the team in batting average (.347), walks (20), hits (35) and stolen bases (28), and is second on the team in runs (24), doubles (5), on-base percentage (.468) and total bases (51).

Hartman said Toros manager Jim Bolt’s faith in him and the ability to play everyday have helped make the difference.

“There just wasn’t really an opportunity for me to play in Texarkana,” Hartman said. “When I got the opportunity to play in Corpus, it was a different situation. I was just glad that I got the opportunity to play.

“The coaches here trust the guys that they put out there, and that’s a big lift off of our shoulders. When we have coaches that trust us and have the confidence to put us out there everyday, it really helps us mentally.”

Hartman also is among the league leaders in batting average, stolen bases and hits. His hot start earned him a trip to the CBL All-Star game, played last Tuesday at Bringhurst Field in Alexandria, La.

During the All-Star game, Hartman went 0-2, but reached on an error and stole a base. Just being selected to the team was a great honor for him.

“It was the first time I got to be on an All-Star team so it was a great experience,” Hartman said. “The atmosphere was great, and I got to meet a lot of the players from the other teams, so it was all really great.”

Hartman’s successes haven’t slowed his tenacity. Like most independent league players, Hartman hopes to be noticed for his ability to play hard everyday at a high level.

“My goal has always been to play Major League Baseball,” Hartman said. “God’s always given me that desire, and I thank him everyday for the ability to come out here and play.”

Though his goals are high, Hartman said he’s not playing with his head in the clouds.

“I’m just doing what I can on the field and not worrying about anything else,” Hartman said. “If somebody wants to sign me, that’s awesome, but I’m only going to worry about and handle what I can do and that’s playing on the field.”

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