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Big 12 baseball: Baylor catcher Josh Ludy is Oklahoman's Player of the Year

Ludy commits to improving his defense, waiting for his chance to play
by John Helsley Published: May 21, 2012

Less than two years ago, Josh Ludy couldn't even crack Baylor's two-deep at catcher.

So entering his junior season, it was time for a difficult sit-down conversation with coach Steve Smith.

Not a confrontation, but a consultation.

“Josh showed up in my office one day, and I think he was afraid that we didn't want him,” Smith said. “He's an Indiana kid, so he'd come south. And that's not the first time I've had a kid come in to have that conversation. But most of the time when they come in, they come in with a chip on their shoulder and it's almost like, ‘Play me or I'm leaving.'

“Well he came in and the longer we talked he teared up. My sense was this kid wants to play so bad and he's hurting deep inside because he thinks we don't believe in (him).”

Smith, however, believed.

Now everyone's a believer, after Ludy helped power the Bears to the Big 12 regular season championship, belting nine homers and driving in a league-high 54 runs. Eight of Ludy's long balls came in conference play, when Baylor raced to a record 18-0 start en route to a 20-4 finish.

Ludy is The Oklahoman's Big 12 Player of the Year.

Not even Ludy saw all that coming in the fall of 2010.

“We had two other guys ahead of me,” he said. “But one of them ended up leaving after the fall. And then me and (Joey) Hainsfurther split time until the end of the year.”

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