St. John has succesful season at SU, ready to join USA
by LaVonte Young
PELL CITY- Locke St. John had a stellar sophomore season at Southern Union in Wadley.

An injury late in the season hampered the Pell City native, but when his team needed him the most he came through for them in a major way.

“It was good,” St. John said. ”The season went well, we were 47-18. We came in second behind the World Series champs Central Alabama Community College. I was 7-2 and I had a 3.68 ERA. I had two saves. During the year, I had a back injury that took me out three weeks. I only threw 65 innings and that was really tough for me because I am not used to being injured. Being healthy is a key thing for me. I came in relief until the state tournament, then, I threw a complete game in the semifinals against LBW (Lurleen B. Wallace). We beat them to advance to the World Series. We had a really good team and a really good season.”

Unlike the past few summers, St. John is taking this summer off to rest his arm and prepare for his new team, the University of South Alabama Jaguars. St. John signed with the Jags last November. He believes signing early allowed him to play his game at a high level. USA made a trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament this season.

“I signed in November and I committed last August,” St. John said. “I had a few offers, I think the coach said he had a call from Auburn and I had an offer from Troy. I am an Auburn fan and I will always be an Auburn fan. The coach at South really sold me on winning. The head coach at South Alabama was the pitching coach at South Carolina when they won their first national title five or six years ago. He is the head coach now. That really sold me, and the way they win down there. Auburn is going through a coaching change and I didn’t want to get caught up in that. I really liked South campus; that kind of sold me. There is a catcher from Southern Union that kind of helped me with everything that is down there. Our centerfielder from last year, Adam Blue is going down there also.”

Signing with South Alabama also allows the lefty to join his best friend and high school teammate Cole Billingsley.

“Cole (Billingsley), that is one of my best friends,“ St. John said. “I am just ready for that to happen, because I know how much fun we had in high school together. This will be something else.”

In 18 appearances on the mound, the 6-foot-2 181 pound pitcher went 7-2 and had two saves. This season, in 58 innings of action St. John held opposing batters to a .213 average. He allowed 42 hits and 27 runs, with 24 of them earned runs. St. John struck out 56 batters and only gave up 22 free passes to first base.

“I am not an overpowering pitcher,” St. John said. ”I am somebody that fills the strike zone up and depends on a lot of ground balls. Mentally, I think I am sound. Nothing really shakes me up, but some things can. I want to go down there and work my hardest, because nothing is going to be given to me and I am going to see where that gets me. I am going to work my butt off down there. I want to be a conference guy, I want to be a weekend guy.”

In the semifinals of the Alabama Community College World Series, St. John was given the ball for the first time in a month and he didn’t disappoint. St. John pitched a complete game for a victory. He only allowed three hits and allowed three runs in his first start April 19. He said that was his most memorable moment of the season.

“After not starting in a month and come in against LBW in the tournament. I was just playing for my team

I haven’t started in a month after my injury and I threw a complete game against LBW,” St. John said. “The coaches had enough faith in me to give me the ball after sitting out a month. That showed that they had a lot of faith in me.”

© 2013