Pettus wears blue collar at Troy

Published 11:44 pm Friday, March 27, 2009

Bart Pettus hit the second home run of his collegiate career last weekend against Western Kentucky. But make no mistake. While the DHS grad’s bat is flashing a little more pop this season, he doesn’t yet consider himself a power hitter.

“He has continued to improve his strength level. He has the first two home runs of his career,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said of Pettus, who made his name with the Trojans as a defensive stalwart. “I don’t know if he could have a better year than he had (in 2008) defensively from a statistical standpoint.”

During his redshirt sophomore season in 2008, Pettus fielded an eye-popping .969 while committing only six errors in 194 opportunities from the Trojans’ shortstop position.

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“Mainly it’s just trying to stay focused every game,” Pettus said. “It’s such a long season that it takes its toll on your mentality. You’ve got to stay focused every single pitch, every single game because you never know when you’ll need to make a play to help your team win the game.”

“From the beginning of the time that he came into our program, Bart has just been that blue collar, hard-working guy,” Pierce said. “For the last two seasons, he has been a cornerstone on our ball club.”

Pettus’ work ethic has led to continued production at the field and at the plate this season. The redshirt junior was hitting the ball at a .289 clip headed into play this weekend. Those numbers included 12 runs, two doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs in only 45 at-bats.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more confident,” Pettus said. “I know that’s been my weak point the last couple years.”

For Pettus, his personal goals are entirely secondary to team aspirations.

“We knew coming into this year that we had a chance to win a lot of games,” Pettus said of the Trojans, who were 13-9 heading into the weekend. “The important thing for us is playing to our capabilities.”

While he has remained focused in finding success as a Trojan, Pettus has yet to turn his attention to what may come next in his life.

“I think as far as the remainder of his time in our program, we would like to see continued development as he works toward a degree,” Pierce said. “As far as professional aspirations, he has gotten some interest from scouts.”

“I have truly been blessed to be able to come to such a nice place like Troy. The coaching staff has done such a great job getting us ready to play. So I consider myself very fortunate,” Pettus said. “I haven’t really put a lot of thought into (life after college). I’m majoring in sports and fitness management. I guess in another year, I’ll be sitting down, thinking about what I really want to do. IIt would be awesome to get an opportunity to play at the next level. It would be a dream come true. But I know that if it doesn’t work out, Troy University is a great school and our coaches do a good job of keeping us in the classroom. Education is one our top priorities, if not the top.”