After moving from the outfield to the infield at shortstop as a junior and earning SEMO All-Conference honors, Jackson baseball senior Landon Hahn has now officially signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Southeast Missouri State.
Hahn, who verbally committed to Southeast over the summer, met with Redhawks Head Coach Andy Sawyer several times, who Hahn said always showed interest in him. Playing close to home was also key for Hahn.
“It means a lot [to sign with SEMO],” Hahn said. “I’m glad that God has given me the opportunity to keep playing the sport I love and to stay at home and play.”
Signing with SEMO also takes a lot of pressure off Hahn since he knows he’ll be playing somewhere after Jackson.
Hahn helped lead the Indians to their third Class 5 District 1 Championship in the last four seasons by recording a .378 batting average, 31 hits, 31 runs, 19 runs batted in and 16 stolen bases last season. He also finished with a fielding percentage of .915 as he had eight errors in his first year at shortstop.
Hahn said it definitely took some time to adjust to playing in the infield, specifically because of how quickly the ball comes to you.
Hahn moved from playing right field to shortstop because of the hole former Indian Jarrett Newell left at the position.
“[Coaches] told me at the end of [my sophomore] year that they wanted me to move to shortstop,” Hahn said. “A ground ball coming at you is a lot less time to react than reading a fly ball. [I had to] put more time into it because it didn’t come as easily. I really had to work on footwork and handwork for hours and hours.”
Heading into this season after having a full year of experience at shortstop, Hahn has focused on being more fluid at the position and having less errors. He has also continued to work on batting, something he has focused on every offseason since entering high school.
For Jackson Head Coach Bryan Austin and his coaching staff, this is their first official Division-I signing in six years.
Coach Austin knew he was going to have Hahn moved to the infield after his sophomore season because of his speed and ability at the plate.
“To watch him get better every day last season and to the player he has become now has been a fantastic thing to watch,” Austin said. “The kid works extremely hard.”
Austin said Hahn’s work ethic is probably the best out of any player he has ever coached by “taking things to an entire new level.”
From Austin’s perspective, most first-year college baseball player’s work ethic has to drastically increase because they don’t understand that they have to work out on their own.
“Hahn is the complete opposite,” Coach Austin said. “He completely understands working on his own, and he does this probably the most I’ve ever seen out of anybody. Whether it’s at our place or another facility, he puts in a lot of time with just himself working on the game of baseball.”
Hahn said he is blessed to have been able to play and grow on and off the field under Austin and the coaching staff at Jackson because of the time they spend on working with players.
To be able to have success at Southeast, Hahn said one of his major focuses will be gaining more weight. He is looking forward to playing with current Redhawk and former Poplar Bluff player Turner Fritts, who both played for the Missouri Bulls this summer.
“You’ve got to love it — they live and breathe [baseball] there,” Hahn said. “I’m excited to be able to do that and just go in every day knowing I get to play baseball.”