JUCO transfer makes splash in first season

Carson Myers, 11, left, son of the head coach, shushes Cruz Dougherty, 4, right, son of the assistant coach, after baseball game at the Hot Rod Stadium in Bowling Green on Mar 24, 2015 between WKU and UK. WKU won with a final score of 12-3. Emily Kask/HERALD

John Reecer

With the addition of junior third basemen Danny Hudzina to the WKU baseball team, the program has now received and successfully integrated two players from Palm Beach State College, a junior college in Lake Worth, Florida. 

It might have seemed unlikely that a junior college just less than 1,000 miles away would give the WKU baseball team a player like senior first-baseman Ryan Church, but just a year after Church’s arrival, another Palms Beach player has made his way to Bowling Green—one who could surpass Church’s accomplishments by the end of his career on the Hill. 

A native of Palm City, Florida, Hudzina’s path to WKU started with a friendship with Church beginning back in their playing days at Palm Beach. 

“A lot of me coming here had to do with Ryan Church obviously,” Hudzina said. “I think we are going to be lifelong friends, so I trusted a lot of the things that he told me about WKU, and I trusted him as a teammate.” 

Assistant Coach Blake Allen was the first to see Hudzina in action during his time at Palm Beach State, where he recorded a batting average of .323 while hitting 32 RBIs on 60 hits his last season in Lake Worth. 

“We just saw a guy that originally didn’t fit a need at third base,” Head Coach Matt Myers said. “However, we realized that he could really be an asset with his talent, and we had to get him.” 

So far through 26 games (all at third base) with the Hilltoppers, Hudzina has proven that the talent the coaches saw in him a year ago is the real deal. 

Hudzina is leading the team with 33 hits and is currently batting .317 at the plate. He also has 21 RBIs, the second most of any Hilltopper besides, who else, Ryan Church. 

“Danny brings it every day,” Myers said. “He has been one of the most consistent players we have had in our program this year. The kid just continues to have great at bats and he is a RBI machine for us.”

Hudzina’s presence isn’t just felt at the plate, however. He has also proven to be a bright spot in the field and makes extremely hard plays look easy.  

“He is just an unbelievable third- baseman,” Myers said. “He is just a gold-glove type of defender. He shuts down the field at third base and we knew that coming into the season.” 

Even with an impressive start to the season, Hudzina manages to stay humble despite his impressive numbers. 

“I’m not much of a stat guy,” Hudzina said. “All I really care about is winning and hopefully we can start to win more ball games as a team.” 

“Team-wise, we are going to get together and figure this season out,” Hudzina said of his goals for the remainder of the season. “We are going to make a run at this conference.” 

With a breakout start to the season, Myers describes Hudzina as “a great addition to our program.” If Hudzina can keep up his promising pace, the Hilltoppers’ potential could be limitless.