LOCK HAVEN - When Jay Hartman's college athletic career began in the fall of 2008, he was catching passes for Lebanon Valley College football. It will end this spring with him catching fly balls for Lock Haven University.
It was no surprise that Hartman could switch sports and become one of the top players for the Bald Eagles. Hartman played football for four years and will round out his college career with two years on the diamond.
In high school, Hartman was one of the greatest all-around athletes to come out of Indian Valley High School.
He was a key player for the Warriors in football, basketball and baseball over this four year career (2004-2008). At one point in his high school career he helped lead Indian Valley to six-straight District 6 Class AAA finals in all three sports.
His background in baseball was high pedigree. He was a three-time All-Star in the Mifflin County Babe Ruth League and was on a state championship team in 2003 (14-year-olds) and as a 15-year-old went the Babe Ruth World Series in Longview, Wash. He also played for the Mifflin County American Legion team.
But, how did a split end become a center fielder for Lock Haven?
"I was in the weight room one day and I jokingly said to one of the volunteer coaches (Matt McCamley) on the baseball team, do you need any outfielders? He had seen me play in the Centre County Men's League and knew my skills and I tried out for the team and made it."
Not only did he make the team, he soon became one of its leaders and its best player last spring.
Hartman led the team in hitting with a .357 mark. He also led the Bald Eagles with runs scored, 40 and hits, 56. He added four doubles to his total and knocked in eight runs from his leadoff spot.
In center field, he had 126 putouts, picked up four assists and had only five errors (.963).
For his effort, he was named to second team in the West Conference of the PSAC.
Hartman also talked about the transition from football (where he was a 1,000-yard receiver in his three years) to baseball.
"It helped me that I transferred in from Lebanon Valley to here and that transition helped me going from football to baseball," he said.
The fifth year senior noted that he had to make a small adjustment at the plate.
"In the men's league, you could just go up and swing," Hartman noted, "But, here you have to be a little more patient. Playing football and playing baseball all my life, I had confidence that I could do well."
As his college baseball career comes to a close, Hartman was all smiles.
"It's been a blast," he said. "It's more laid back than football. (Playing college baseball is) something I always wanted to do."
This spring as of April 4, he is second on the team in hitting with a .299 mark. He has scored 13 runs and has 23 hits including two doubles and has driven in 13 runs.
Lock Haven is 9-12 after 21 games. Last year, the team went 16-29-1.
As the saying goes, if you are having fun then it isn't work, and for Jay Hartman everyday at the ball park is all smiles.