Midland’s Fagnan selected NJCAA player of the year
His father’s death was tough to take, but then he used his memory as an inspiration.
Jeremie Fagnan likely made his father proud.
The Midland (Texas) College outfielder, who led the Chaparrals to their first appearance in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in school history, is the 2013 National Junior College Athletic Association player of the year, the NJCAA announced Wednesday.
The award is sponsored by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings.
“It’s a great honor, not only for me, but for the Midland College program,” Fagnan said. “I can’t say enough about the coaching staff, the way they prepare you for the next level. They really helped me through a lot this year, especially with the passing of my father.”
Guy Fagnan died last fall after a four-year battle with lung cancer.
“When I was little, he would play catch with me in the park,” Fagnan said. “He spent numerous amount of hours with me practicing my skills. He was with me 24/7, preparing me for the next sporting event. He was my rock. He made everything possible for me. I’ll never forget that, for sure.”
Fagnan told the Calgary Herald, “My dad was always at the back of my mind. But then his memory, his spirit, it would help me relax. Before every game, I would look up to the sky and say, ‘I’m playing for you. I love you.’ “
Jeremie’s faith helped him deal with his father’s death.
“They have a great family,” Midland coach David Coleman said. “They’re Christian people. They understood what the faith was about. It was tested, but they leaned on each other. His teammates really bonded with him. The whole team was special. They bonded and took care of him.”
Fagnan was fourth in the nation with 70 RBI and second in runs scored with 78. He hit .419 with a .665 slugging percentage, five home runs, 21 doubles, 10 triples and 30 stolen bases.
Playing in the JUCO World Series made the season special for Fagnan.
“It was the experience of a lifetime,” he said of playing in the JUCO World Series. “I’ve never played in front of 10,000 people before. It’s something I’ll never forget. The atmosphere was unbelievable. It was awesome.”
The sophomore from Calgary, Alberta, led the Chaparrals during their three World Series games, going 6 for 12 (.500) at the plate, with two doubles and six RBI. Fagnan had a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra innings before the Chaparrals were eliminated by Palm Beach State (Fla.) College.
“That’s the guy you want up,” Coleman said. “He’s a great player and even better kid from a special family. He’s very deserving of the accolades.”
Fagnan is the first player from Midland College to make the NJCAA All-America first team. He also won the Rawlings Big Stick Award with the highest batting average in the Southwest District, and he was the Western Junior College Athletic Conference MVP.
Fagnan has signed a letter of intent with Texas Christian University.
“I visited there in the fall,” Fagnan said. “TCU was the first school that recruited me. (Teammate) Blair Beck’s little brother is going there. That kind of started it. I fell in love with the place. The coaching staff is great. I bonded well with guys. I’m excited about playing there.”