By Jacob Horton
If you’re a follower of Auburn University at Montgomery baseball, you’re probably well aware that the sport plays a huge role in assistant coach Sam Judah’s life. What you may not know is that in addition to coaching with the AUM Warhawks, Judah continues to pursue his dream of playing baseball at the professional level.
Judah, a native of Ozark, Alabama, graduated from Carroll High School in 2007. He signed a scholarship out of high school to play baseball at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, where he played from 2007-2009. Judah finished his collegiate career at Auburn University at Montgomery in 2011, and he now has served here as a volunteer assistant coach for the past two seasons.
Since 2011, Judah has spent his summers playing Independent League Baseball, which is very similar to minor league baseball, except the teams are not associated with a major league franchise.
Although teams in the independent league do not belong to a higher-level of authority, Judah will be the first to tell you that it is a professional organization nonetheless, and the competition is still fierce.
“Independent League Baseball is professional baseball,” Judah said. “You’re getting paid to play. It’s the guys that for some reason didn’t’ get a chance to play in a minor league organization. It’s for the people that still want to keep playing, or just haven’t gotten that right opportunity yet.”
This past season, Judah played for the Normal Cornbelters in Normal, Illinois, where he helped lead the team to a 48-47 record. In 94 games played, Judah batted .307 with 13 home runs and 82 runs batted in. His 82 RBI’s were good enough for 2nd in the entire league and a new single season record for the Cornbelters. Judah is also only 80 RBI’s shy of breaking the all-time record for the Normal Cornbelters.
Judah hopes that he can build on that momentum from last season, and finish strong in what he is claiming to be his final season playing Independent League Baseball.
“This will be my last year of independent league baseball, unless I get picked up by an affiliated team,” Judah said. “This offseason I’m working on keeping that same aggressive approach at the plate that helped me have so much success last season. I just want to have fun and try to win a championship ring; and if I break a few records along the way, it’ll definitely be something that I’ll hold very close to me.”
According to Judah, that dream of playing professional baseball has served as the driving force behind everything he does. It’s what gets him out of bed in the morning and, ultimately, it has gotten him where he is today.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted and now I’m there,” Judah said. “That’s what still drives me. I’m still living my childhood dream.”
Photo Courtesy of AUM Athletics website
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