Move To Baseball From Cricket Is The Ticket For Auburn Juco Commitment Brendan Venter

Growing up in South Africa, Auburn commitment Brendan Venter started out playing cricket but his move to the U.S. introduced him to baseball and the rest is history.

Waco, Tex.--One of the top junior college hitters in the country, 6-2 corner infielder Bredan Venter is the newest addition to the 2017 recruiting class for Butch Thompson and the Auburn Tigers. While many baseball players grow up playing the game since they were first able to walk, Venter has a very different background but it hasn’t kept him from fast-tracking in the baseball world.

Born in South Africa and living there until he was nine years old, Auburn’s newest commitment got his start in a very similar game and that got him transitioned well for baseball when he moved to the United States.

“I played cricket,” Venter said. “When I came here I was like ‘hey, what’s the closest sport you’ve got to cricket?’ One of my buddies told me to come play baseball. I gave it a go and so far it has turned out pretty good for me.”

Visiting Auburn for the LSU game, Venter got to experience the campus and a great atmosphere for an SEC football game. Already very high on Auburn because of his bond with Coach Butch Thompson and assistants Brad Bohannon and Doug Sisson, Venter said Auburn checked off all the boxes for him.

“I think it was the coaching staff for me,” Venter said of what stood out about the Tigers. “Coach Bo, Coach Thompson, Coach Sisson, they’ve all won every place they’ve been. Coach Sisson spent 20 years in the bigs and ultimately I hope that’s the next step for me after Auburn.

“Having somewhere where they’ve been there and done that is a positive thing. It’s great and the people are very welcoming. It’s a place that wins. Good players have come through that system and hopefully I’m another one of those players. That’s ultimately what it was for me.”

While he’s focused on improving Auburn’s pitching depth in both the 2016, 2017 and already in the 2018 classes, Thompson definitely knows the importance of having quality hitters throughout the lineup. That’s one of the reasons why Venter was targeted and he said it’s exciting to think about having his shot to be a contributor right away.

“It’s very exciting because ultimately as a juco player you want to go somewhere you’ll have a chance to play and make an impact,” he said. “The fact that Auburn is in the SEC and you’ll be seeing good arms every single day, that challenge is awesome. I look forward to stepping in and producing.”

Originally committing to Texas A&M before signing with Stephen F. Austin, Venter had a huge first season at McLennan Community College last year. Batting .385 in 55 games, Venter had 15 home runs, 17 doubles and 69 RBI. That was enough to catch the eye of the Tigers and bring a familiar face back around Venter once again.

“Coach Bohannon actually watched me play in high school when he was at the University of Kentucky,” Venter noted. “We didn’t really have much contact because I was already committed at the time. I had a few conversations with him and he actually recruited one of my best friends that went to a rival high school.

“He came out to a practice this fall and he liked what he saw. We’ve built a good relationship since then.”

With his commitment done Venter said he’s just focused on having a good sophomore season and taking care of what he can control this year. After that it’s all Auburn for the former cricket player turned baseball power hitter.

“I’m very excited,” Venter said. “Obviously I’ve got business to take care of here at the junior college level. I want to go to Grand Junction (Col.) and win a world series here. I want to come in my junior year and be competitive and get to Omaha (College World Series) and win the whole thing. I’m taking it one step at a time. I’m going to take care of business here and once I give everything I’ve got to my teammates I’ll be able to go to Auburn. I’m very excited.”

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