Starling, Hixon reflect on JUCO Word Series

Published 8:39 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sometimes, it’s not about winning a championship.

Sometimes, just being a part of a team that competes for a title is the most important aspect of a season.

For Will Starling and Ross Hixon, the later is the case as the two return back to Alabama after competing in the 2011 Junior College World Series with Southern Union.

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Unfortunately, the stay was not as long as the two had hoped or liked, as the Bison were shown the exit door after back-to-back losses to Navarro, out of Texas, and Seward, which was out of Iowa.

But while the team may have to deal with the disappointment of those two losses, Starling pointed out that just making it this far was a great experience for not only himself but the rest of his teammates.

“There were a lot of really good teams out here,” Starling said with a laugh, “they were good, but not that much better than us.

“Just to be able to play at this level, in Colorado, and against these teams was just awesome though — it was a good experience.”

Starling got the start in game one against Navarro, however, ran into some trouble early on, giving up eight earned runs off of four hits in two and a third innings pitched.

“I was not as nervous as maybe I should have been before the game,” Starling said.

“That was the biggest stage that I had pitched on in my entire life. After the game, I was really thinking about what I could have done differently, but at that point, it was over with.”

Hixon also saw some time on the mound in game one, but had to deal with the same kind of results as his teammate.

In one and two third innings pitched, Hixon surrendered five earned runs off of five hits.

“Things did not go as smoothly as I would have liked,” Hixon said with a laugh.

“But it was still a really fun experience. We had a good team this year and I think every one of us is better because we made this far and experienced what it is like to plan on this level of the game.”

And that was a level of experience neither expected to have after just one season with the team.

“As freshmen, Will and I have really done a lot and been a part of a lot,” Hixon said. “And you can’t replace those kinds of experiences.

“That’s what makes this year so special to me. And hopefully, this year will be one that we can grow off of and continue to get better.”

While the two will be looking towards the future for another championship, this past season helped form who they are, according to Starling.

“There are a lot of positives that came from this trip to Colorado,” Starling said.

“It may be hard to see right now, but we accomplished a lot this season. This whole year has been a learning experience. I have learned how to be a better ball player and teammate. Those are all important things.”