July 11, 2013

The boots still fit in Starkville

Kyle Hann was all set to attend Oklahoma State.

The Canadian infielder signed a national letter of intent and marked the occasion by purchasing a pair of cowboy boots. But when the OSU coaching staff was fired following the 2012 season, Hann was left scrambling to find a new school just weeks before the fall semester started.

Luckily for Hann, boots are acceptable footwear on the campus of Mississippi State as well.

"I was playing in the Dominican Republic with Team Canada when my dad called me and told me the (Oklahoma State) coaches left to go to Texas Tech and I had to choose another school," Hann said. "Basically it was two months before school started and I was talking to a bunch of schools. My coach knew (John) Cohen pretty well so he came up to see me play in Canada. So whenever my (release) went through I came here."

Hann's arrival in Starkville was just in time for the Bulldogs most successful season ever on the diamond reaching the championship series of the College World Series. The Oakville, Ontario native appeared in 26 games as a freshman making nine starts. He hit .219 splitting time between second and third base.

The 5-foot-7, 179-pounder did not play high school baseball but instead played for the Ontario Blue Jays for four summers as well as the Baseball Canada Junior National Team for three years including winning a silver medal in the 2012 IBAF 18U Baseball World Championship in South Korea.

However, Hann found the competition level much greater in college.

"It's a more perfect game," Hann said. "Teams don't make errors or bad mistakes. In high school in Canada the talent level wasn't as good as it is in high schools down here. I didn't even play high school baseball. I just played with my summer team."

Naturally being over 1,000 miles from home is tough for most teenagers. But baseball keeps Hann's mind and body occupied from missing his home north of the border.

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