Whitby native Osborne found his hitting strike at Polk State

 Photo: Michael DiStefano

Photo: Michael DiStefano

By: Michael DiStefano

Canadian Baseball Network

TAMPA, Fla. - Nothing makes the game more enjoyable for a hitter than winning ball games and crushing the leather off baseballs.

Year after year, Whitby, Ont., native J.D. Osborne continues to take his game to whole new heights as he nears the end of his collegiate baseball career. 

Osborne was given the opportunity in 2014 to take his talents down south to Polk State Junior College, in Winter Haven, Fla., where J.D. said it’s where he really learned to hit the baseball.

“Al Corbeil at Polk State, my head coach over there, he influenced me and introduced a whole new aspect of hitting,” Osborne said. “I had no idea, literally, about hitting a baseball or where to look, and in what counts.”  

Corbeil told Osborne there were two key components he was missing to start producing at the plate.

“A lot of it actually is flexibility and staying loose,” Osborne said. “Just staying loose through the zone and just learning how to hit certain pitches.”

That was the best advice the young Canadian power-hitting third baseman has received, and he’s been an offensive threat in the batter’s box ever since.

After lighting up pitchers at Polk State for two seasons, Osborne transferred to the University of Tampa. Through 16 Sunshine State Conference games in his second season with the Spartans, he is batting .476 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs. 

“I’m just trying to get good swings on balls and see pitches up in the middle of the strike zone rather than chasing balls out of the strike zone,” he said.

Currently mashing the ball, Osborne is batting .909 with three homers and 12 RBIs in his past three games, two against Flagler College, the other against Rockhurst University.

Osborne’s offensive production has never been so potent, and his current home-run streak is an indication of how well he is seeing the ball.   

“I’m just putting bat on ball, that’s all I’m doing,” he said. “We’re just trying to play ball, man. I’m just having fun. Honestly, that’s all it is.”