ULM's freshman shortstop has big shoes to fill and he knows it.
Less than a year removed from high school, West Ouachita product Kodie Tidwell is positioned to man the all-important middle infield spot for the Warhawks. There, he's replacing departed senior Jeremy Sy, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2012.
"It's a great opportunity and I don't take it for granted," Tidwell told Warhawk Nation. "I come out there every day and try to get better. I try to do the little things to make our team better."
Early reviews have been good, particularly defensively. Tidwell's glove work in practice is drawing praise from his coaches so far.
"I try to make plays and slow the game down as much as possible," Tidwell said.
Tidwell has found an ideal mentor in Caleb Clowers, a Gold Glover at second base who just completed his college career at ULM.
"He's helping coaching and he's mainly the guy that I go to," Tidwell said. "He's helping me learn the system. If I ever have a question on what to do in a certain situation, I always go to him. He always tells me what to do."
Tidwell posted monster numbers at West Ouachita, where he hit .469 as a junior and .403 as a senior while earning All-State honors for former ULM star pitcher Mitch Thomas. He'll be hard pressed to match those stats but Tidwell is confident he'll contribute at the plate too.
"Offensively, I just need to start seeing the ball more up the middle," Tidwell said. "I think the more pitches I see, the better I will get."
Like the rest of the team, Tidwell has been prepping for ULM's upcoming season, which begins Friday night at home against Wake Forest. He's also making the adjustment to college life.
"The transition has been great," Tidwell said. "These guys all love you to death. The transition was tough as first, seeing good pitching every day. But coming out every day and competing with them makes you better."
Although his career is just beginning, Tidwell is already anticipating what it will be like under the lights at Warhawk Field.
"Just the atmosphere," he said. "You always have people here every day to watch you play that you know. Knowing you have somebody in the stands that you know makes you play better.
"I love it here," Tidwell added. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."