Just a little before 2 p.m. Friday as the National Anthem is being played at Alex Box Stadium, Jameson Fisher will do what he always does.
He’ll stare into the sky and use that time to meditate.
“That’s my alone time with God,” Fisher said. “It’s my time to thank him for the opportunity and my time to just reflect on the game and to reflect on how far I have come.”
He’ll be just 20 miles away from his hometown, where he went from an undersized guy who barely played his freshman year at Zachary High School to a high school All-American to now one of the best hitters in college baseball.
Fisher, the No. 2 hitter in Southeastern Louisiana’s lineup, is batting .394 this season. It is the 11th-best batting average in the nation and second-best among players on teams that reached the NCAA regionals that begin Friday. Only Kennesaw State’s Max Pentecost (.423) has a higher average.
Fisher, a sophomore catcher, looks to improve on that average when the Lions take on LSU in the opening game of the Baton Rouge Regional against either LSU star right-hander Aaron Nola or left-hander Jared Poché.
“Anytime we go up against a really good pitcher, it makes us focus even more,” Fisher said. “I definitely know that with Nola or Poché, we will have to be even more locked in.”
Being focused isn’t really a problem for Fisher.
It hasn’t been since around his sophomore or junior year of high school.
“That’s when I realized that I was really good at this game,” Fisher said. “I was being a typical teenager, doing things I wasn’t proud of. I turned my life around, and I started being a leader, and people started following. I realized that God had blessed me with this ability, and so I wanted people to see God through me, and I have been at it since.”
He wears a purity ring on his finger, a symbol to show that he is practicing abstinence until he gets married.
“It’s not me showing off my faith off or anything, it’s just a symbol and hopefully points people to Christ,” he said.
It’s the same person Jesse Cassard remembers.
Cassard coached Fisher in high school at Zachary.
“I called him the Tim Tebow of high school,” Cassard said. “If you could draw a picture perfect leader as a player, he would be it. He just has a relentless work ethic, and players want to be like him. He just has a tenacity that is above everyone else. I was the coach, and he made me a better person. So what he is doing now doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Cassard watched Fisher put up mind-boggling numbers in high school after his growth spurt heading into his sophomore year.
“One of the craziest stats I remember was that he hit .700 with runners in scoring position,” Cassard said. “He just had a really good feel for hitting the baseball.”
In addition to his lofty batting average, Fisher’s .480 on base percentage ranks 14th nationally. He has drawn a team-best 30 walks to go with his 37 RBIs. A catcher, he also has a triple and eight stolen bases.
“He is just a special kid all around,” Southeastern coach Matt Riser said. “Just aside from baseball, he has shown fantastic faith in his guidance. We have gone through struggles as a team, and he had some struggles as an individual, but he persevered.”
The biggest struggles came last season as a freshman when Fisher’s batting average flirted around the .200 mark.
“To be honest, it got to me a little bit,” Fisher said about the slump. “One day, I just decided that I was going to turn things around and catch fire. And all of a sudden, I caught fire. I stopped worrying about my average and just focused on hitting the ball. I think the end of the year last year fueled over into this year.”
And the end of this season has been even better. Since May 1, Fisher is batting .526 with five doubles and 10 RBIs in 14 games.
He hasn’t gone unnoticed. Perfect Game rates him as the top pro prospect in the Southland Conference for the 2015 MLB draft. He was drafted in the 24th round out of high school by the Chicago Cubs but elected to play college ball.
“I talked back and forth with them, but it just didn’t work out the way we both wanted it,” Fisher said. “But I haven’t thought much about next year. That will come when it comes.”
For now, he is focusing on LSU, playing in front of friends and family who grew up watching him play just a few miles away. Two of his biggest hitting influences (his father Randy and his brother Jacoab) will be in the stands cheering him on and yelling out encouragement just like they used to do in the batting cages in the backyard of his Zachary home.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience,” Fisher said. “When we played here last year, I had a bunch of friend to watch at the Box. It wasn’t nearly as crazy, because it was just a regular-season game. This time it’s a regional, so it’s going to be huge atmosphere, and it’s going to be crazy. I feel like it’s going to motivate us, and we are going to feed off that. It’s just a blessing to be able to play in a game like this.”