Fultondale HS baseball player defies the odds, becomes first from school to play college ball in decade

Local News
October 02 2021 06:00 pm

FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — JoeJoe Hamaker is a graduated member of the 2021 Fultondale High School Baseball team.

The team lost their school and their field to an EF-3 tornado and much of the ability to showcase themselves properly to colleges and universities. Against all odds, Hamaker is going to play college baseball at Talladega College.

Hamaker is the first to sign to play college baseball from Fultondale High School in a decade, according to Head Coach Michael Franklin.

“I never thought this day would come really because I didn’t know how much traction I was going to get or anything,” Hamaker said. “It was scary at the beginning of the season.”

The deadly EF-3 tornado on Jan. 25 left the Wildcat baseball team with a wrecked field. That, on top of the pandemic, meant getting in front of college recruiters got even more difficult.

A deadly EF-3 tornado left the Fultondale High School baseball field in shambles, forcing them to play at Tarrant High School.

“I was really praying COVID wouldn’t shut it down so I could really put my name out there,” Hamaker said. 

But after touring and making appearances at various recruiting camps, he got his first offer to play baseball from the University of Tennessee Southern. 

“As soon as I got off the phone, me and my dad just start screaming,” Hamaker said while laughing thinking of the moment. “We were just hype!”

Then offers kept flowing in until he made his choice. Now, he’s a man on a mission.

“I try to show them what I have, really,” he said. “The coach has already seen me but really put Fultondale on the map.”

His coaches, former teammates, friends and family members have been there to celebrate with him.

JoeJoe Hamaker said his father Joey Hamaker has been his inspiration and biggest motivator. He said this is just as big of a deal for his dad as it is for him.

“With my coach, my dad pushing and putting my name out there, it lit a fire under me to keep working that this day would come,” Hamaker said. “I’m excited to move into the dorms, meeting my new teammates, I think it’ll be a good time getting down there.”

In regard to his senior year, Hamaker says he feels he got the full experience. he says now it’s time to prove himself in Talladega. You can catch him do that next baseball season at Talladega College.

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