Captains Chosen For 2009 Auburn Baseball

Auburn has announced three captains for the upcoming 2009 Auburn baseball season.

Auburn, Ala.--Deciding to do something different for the 2009 Auburn baseball season, first year coach John Pawlowski decided during fall practice to let the entire team vote on who would be the team captains for the new year. When the votes were tallied seniors Ryan Jenkins and Paul Burnside and sophomore Kevin Patterson were selected for the honor.

A leader dating back to last season when the Tiger team was filled with a lot of underclassmen, Jenkins fills the role very well from his catcher position. The job requires you to be a leader in the first place, but Jenkins has been called out by Pawlowski since his arrival for his willingness to step up and show the team how things are supposed to be done. Jenkins says for him the honor of being selected is mainly because of how it was done.

"To me it's a big honor to me to be named a captain, especially when the people voting on it are your teammates," Jenkins says. "To get that kind of respect from those guys is a real big honor. I respect all those guys. Their opinions mean a lot to me. I think they did a real good job with Burnside and Patty. Those guys are going to represent them well. They work real hard and they are good guys on and off the field."

Ryan Jenkins

Maybe the key to Auburn's success in 2009, Burnside is attempting to get back to full strength on the mound after struggling last season following a broken collarbone and subsequent surgery in December of 2007. The Tigers' most consistent and successful pitcher his first two seasons, Burnside says being named a team captain means a lot to him because of the time and effort he's spent trying to get back to form on the mound. He adds he's also excited about getting the program back to the level it has been in the past.

"I guess it's my senior year and everybody knows we haven't been where we wanted to be the last few years," Burnside says. "I have always talked about how I want this year to mean something where Auburn goes back to the promised land. I want Auburn back on the map.

"It would be nice to know I was kind of a driving force in putting Auburn back where it needs to be. I love the guys. I love playing the game. Hopefully I can show them on the field that you can have fun and play baseball at the same time. It's hard to not do both. I'm jacked up about this year."

Kevin Patterson

The youngest of the three captains, Patterson is described by teammates as a relentless worker on the field and in the weight room. Those qualities are what Pawlowski says make Patterson a perfect fit to be a captain despite his young age. A utility player that could see action for the Tigers in the outfield, at first base, and even behind the plate, his willingness to do whatever it takes is something that his teammates obviously respected when voting him as a captain for 2009.

"It's an honor because my teammates chose myself and Paul and Jenks," Patterson says. "It's especially exciting being an underclassman. That's really humbling. I feel like I have a lot of the qualities needed and respect in the locker room. We all do. It's going to be a great year and I think we have a good nucleus."

Finishing last season at .500, this Auburn team faces a tough schedule under the direction of Pawlowski and his staff. That's something that Patterson knows, but he says what he's seen out of the team during fall practice and so far this spring has him excited about the future of Auburn baseball.

"Coach Pawlowski is big on goals and direction and focus," Patterson says. "I think that has trickled down to us. It has been good. Having this team captain concept is big for us because it establishes everybody on the same page, everybody knowing their role and what is expected from them. I think it's going to be great for us and we're going to have a great year."

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