By Josh Kimble, staff writer
At this time last year, Jud Fabian was still playing on his high school travel-ball team. His junior season at Ocala Trinity Catholic High School had recently come to a close, complete with a nod as the Marion County player of the year.
Now just one year later, Fabian has played a full season for the Florida Gators, whom he forewent his senior year in high school to play for, and shined in summer ball as one of the Cape Cod League’s best players as a member of the Bourne Braves.
“Yeah, it’s been kinda crazy,” Fabian said. “I’ve matured a lot more over this year. I grew as a player a lot, too. Having Coach [Kevin] O’Sullivan as your coach will do that to you. He’s a great guy, a good coach, and he’s just helped my baseball tremendously.”
“It’s been a fun summer, meeting new guys, and it’s just been something special to me. Just the fact that I was able to do it and it’s just been an honor.”
Things didn’t start out easy for him in the Cape, however. As one of the league’s youngest players, Fabian had to prove himself before he got a spot in the lineup, and that meant sitting the first several games of the season. But it didn’t take long for him to get his chance.
“When I had my shot, I knew I had to make the most of it so I just played my best,” Fabian said. “I think I got two hits [that game] and I haven’t come out of the lineup since.”
Since cracking the lineup, Fabian has certainly made the most of the opportunity. He lead his team in runs scored (23) and home runs (6), and was third on the Braves in hits (36) and RBIs (16) this season.
It hasn’t simply been just personal pride that’s motivated him though. As a Florida Gator, there are often big shoes to fill from those who have come before, and as Fabian found out, the Bourne Braves are no different.
“The first day I got there, coach actually said his last three [Florida] Gators he had on the Bourne Braves were Pete Alonso (New York Mets and 2019 Home Run Derby Champ), Richie Martin (Baltimore Orioles) and Harrison Bader (St. Louis Cardinals). He basically told me ‘you better be next.’ That kinda put a chip on my shoulder, and I had to perform as one of those guys would,” Fabian said.
While Fabian may not be at the level of those players yet, he’s certainly on his way. Not only has his outstanding play on the field taken him to the top of the leaderboard, but it also got him a selection on the Cape Cod League All-Star Team, the youngest player to ever receive the honor.
Fabian played in the game going 1 for 2 at the plate with a single and a stolen base as his West team fell to the East, 6-5.
“It felt unreal to be an All-Star, especially my first year. It’s been an honor,” Fabian said. “It was a bunch of fun, just meeting new guys from all of the teams up here and playing high-level baseball.”
The Bourne Braves season came to an end this past weekend after a short run in the playoffs, falling to the Falmouth Commodores two games to one.
With the school year about to start, Fabian will head back to Gainesville where he and the rest of the Florida Gators baseball team will look to get ready for the 2019-20 season.
“We didn’t make it to where we wanted to go [last season]. We were a young team, but this is our year,” Fabian said.
“I’m just going to do everything I can to help the team get back to Omaha. That should be our goal from day one in the Fall and all the way through Spring.”