Once again, Fullerton College has produced another great division one athlete. Being a part of the Fullerton College baseball team, Laine Huffman has been able to excel at the next level.
Huffman graduated from Valencia High School in 2014 and enrolled the following fall semester at Fullerton. After performing well on and off the field, Huffman was able to transfer and receive a full scholarship to Cal State University Long Beach where he is now the starting shortstop.
The jump from community college to a division one university, came pretty easy for Huffman.
“I feel like being at [Fullerton] for two years prepared me for two more years of college on what the life and expectations were going to be like. I knew what I was getting into, so it made it a little easier for me,” stated Huffman.
For many other community college athletes, they do not always perform well in division one sports, but being a tremendous athlete and having a cannon of an arm like Huffman made the transfer a lot easier.
Huffman’s time at Fullerton allowed him to mature, strengthen and gain confidence in his style of play. By doing so well at Fullerton, it allowed him to start out on top at Cal State Long Beach.
Before entering college as an athlete, high schools need to prepare athletes for the next level. The coaches at Valencia High School did exactly that for Huffman. Before Valencia, Huffman attended Servite High School his freshman and sophomore years where he played basketball and broke ankles on the court, and ended up getting cut from the baseball team. This was an obstacle for Huffman that he overcame.
“The coaches at Valencia did a lot to help me with my individual skills. From the moment I stepped in there to the moment I stepped out, I was ten times a better baseball player,” Huffman said.
Huffman was able to overcome the adversity from not being able to play to becoming Valencia High School’s star athlete.
One of Huffman’s most memorable moments at Fullerton was making a good run in the playoffs. Huffman ended the season batting .333 with .453 on base percentage, 33 runs batted in, 47 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. Not too shabby.
Last year, CSULB hosted a Super Regional and Regional. “Blair field was sold out almost every game,” he said. “Being able to play in that has probably been one of my favorite memories at Long Beach,” added Huffman.
Huffman finished last season at CSULB with a .294 batting average, .372 OBP, 2 home runs and topping it off with 26 RBI’s.
With all the hard work, dedication and long extra hours he put into the ball field, Huffman’s dream of becoming drafted into Major League Baseball came true. In June, 2017, Huffman became a 25th round draft pick for the New York Mets. With confidence, Huffman decided not to sign because he is eager to earn his degree.
“Being able to balance school is not very difficult for because I want to get my degree. I’m going to school because I want to,” said Huffman.
Huffman is majoring in Communications. As of now, Huffman is determined to make it into the bigs. He has decided to stay in school and dominate in the upcoming season so any team can draft him and perhaps enable him to be drafted in an earlier round.
Huffman has great confidence in going to the next level. “I only have a plan A right now, there is no plan B,” he firmly stated.
If baseball does not end up working out for Huffman, by earning his degree, he will have something to fall back on. Huffman is using this upcoming season to improve his skills so that he can be the best he can be.
Before games, Huffman likes to say a prayer on the field then enters the club house to have his alone time so he can get in the zone and become focused for the game.
In order to stay in top shape, the coaches have Huffman and his team lift weights four days a week by really focusing on the lower half of the body. They condition three to four times a week by focusing a lot on their agility to be able to maintain the quick feet that middle infielders, like Huffman, need.
As baseball players, they are always going to run into adversity. In order to fight that, Huffman says to always stay positive and not to dwell on the small failures, such as making an error on the field or having a terrible at-bat.
Being a shortstop means you are the leader of the team and you can see that in the way Huffman carries himself on and off the field. Huffman being the leader of the team, means that he gets to participate in a strong brother hood.
“The brotherhood is unreal. You make friends that will last a lifetime. From high school to junior college and now to Long Beach State,” Huffman explained.
Keep an eye on Laine Huffman because a year from now, he could be playing in the pros.
Once a Hornet, always a Hornet.