Jonathan Hester hit six home runs in 2011.
Oct. 10, 2011
A senior biological engineering major from Savannah, Ga., Jonathan Hester is in his second season with the Bulldogs. As a junior at UGA, he posted a .243 batting average, hit six home runs and tallied 25 RBI in 63 games including 60 starts. In 2011, Jonathan ranked among the top defensive first baseman in the SEC with a .990 fielding percentage in 587 total chances. A member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, he helped lead the Bulldogs to the NCAA Corvallis (Ore.) Regional Final and a 33-32 overall record.
Evan Beever of Georgiadogs.com caught up with Hester at Foley Field for this week's Fall Baseball Bulldog Spotlight.
How are your preparations going for the 2012 season?
“We’re working on getting our mind right for the season. Coach (Allen) Osborne has been grinding on us to have good approaches at the plate, and that’s our main thing right now, trying to get tuned up for the season.”
What did you learn from the 2011 season?
“Last year, we had to fight really hard to get to a regional. I think it was a good accomplishment for us because we had to win that stretch of games just to be able to make it to a regional. When we got to the regional, we did pretty well and made it to the finals against Oregon State. We ended on a positive note considering everything that happened last year.”
What was your most memorable moment of last season?
“Definitely, it has to be the SEC tournament after we beat Florida to go to a regional. That was just a huge thing for us to be able to win those three games and be able to make the regional.”
What has been the biggest adjustment from junior college to now playing in a major conference like the SEC?
“The biggest adjustment probably coming here from Middle Georgia was getting used to the pitching, it’s a lot different and obviously a lot better in the SEC. We had a tough schedule last year in the SEC so we were facing difficult pitchers every week. When I was at Middle Georgia, I would definitely face good pitching but it wasn’t on a consistent basis, while in the SEC we are facing the best pitchers every single day.”
How has Johnathan Taylor’s recovery helped you and the team?
“Overall, I think it just brought us as a team a lot closer together, and we were all rallying around JT last year and wanted to do special things for him. Even though he wasn’t there competing with us, he was with us in spirit so we were all just trying to do good things for him.”
Who has had the greatest impact on your life?
“I’d say my father; ever since I was young my dad had a huge impact on me playing baseball. He always helped me out with hitting, taking ground balls, and everything extra after practice. He instilled a great work ethic in me, and we would always go do extra things like that.”
What do you like the most about playing first base?
“I like that fact that you’re involved in almost every play, not like every other position where you’re only involved in some of the plays. At first base, you’re involved in all of the action.”
Part of being a first baseman is having good communication with the rest of the infield, how do you do this during a game?
“We always have good pre-pitch communication. I’m over at first base and Levi (Hyams) is at second base and between each pitch we’re communicating with each other because I need to know where he’s set up for the play, is he playing up the middle? Double play depth? Is he shaded over to my area? This helps me shade accordingly; we’re always talking pre-pitch so we know where we need to be set up.”
If you could play a different position, what would it be?
“Anywhere in the infield really, I played third base for pretty much my whole life. I played a little shortstop while I was at Middle Georgia. Last year, it was really my first year playing at first. I like every position in the infield so I probably wouldn’t change that.”
Who is your favorite to win the Major League World Series?
“I’d probably have to go with the Cardinals just because I’m pulling for them. Being a first basemen, I like Albert Pujols a lot so I hope they make it all the way and win it.”