Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vollstedt an Unexpected Blessing for JU

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vollstedt an Unexpected Blessing for JU

Article excerpt

Jacksonville University junior John Vollstedt has put up some gaudy offensive numbers this season.

He's second on the team with a .361 average, first in runs scored (67), tied for first in hits (74), first in stolen bases (29) and second in home runs (8). It's a far cry from just a few seasons ago.

After attracting minimal recruiting interest, Vollstedt was redshirted his first season at JU, played sparingly as a redshirt freshman and was used primarily as a backup last season. But whether he was in the lineup or watching from the dugout, one thing has always remained constant with the former Ed White High School player -- his belief that God would work things out.

"You just can't say enough about him, his attitude, his beliefs and his Christian background," said JU senior Kirk Asche, the Dolphins' marquee player. "It's just a total positive for the team. It's been a blessing, not only for me, but for the other guys on the team, to see what he's done this year."

What Vollstedt has done in his first year as a regular is help lead the Dolphins (40-21) to their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1995. JU will take on Providence (47-14) at 3 p.m. today at Florida State's Dick Howser Stadium.

When Vollstedt graduated from White, his baseball future was uncertain. He had received minimal response from a few junior colleges about being a pitcher after posting a 1.40 ERA. Vollstedt, who was primarily an infielder and hit .434 as a senior, knew he wanted to continue his career.

"My mom [Linda], she prayed every night," Vollstedt said. "She knew I wanted to play baseball somewhere. God really opened a door for me to come here."

Still, the early going was rough. He joined JU with the heralded recruiting class that featured University Christian pitcher John Byrd, Middleburg's Scott Porter and junior college transfer Talmadge Nunnari, now playing with the Montreal Expos' Class A minor league team in Jupiter. …

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