BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The Southern University baseball team is eyeing a fourth straight trip to the SWAC Championship game.
Leading the way is senior Jaylen Armstrong, who’s at the top of the NCAA in stolen bases per game. Yet it didn’t happen in the blink of an eye.
“We felt like we weren’t getting enough out of him on the bases,” Assistant Coach Daniel Dulin said.
Jaylen Armstrong reached base 76 times in 2022 and ended the year with 14 stolen bases. Through 40 games in 2023, he’s already stolen 34 bags.
“Over the offseason, me and my dad, he’s a speed and agility coach, we worked on my base stealing techniques and it’s paying off right now,” Jaylen Armstrong said.
Speed runs in the family. His dad, Jamie Armstrong, played football at The University of Mississippi alongside Eli Manning. He made minor tweaks to his son’s start on the base paths. The speed was already there. Jaylen Armstrong runs a 6.5-second 60-yard dash which puts him in elite company.
“But it was just most of the mindset. You got to attack, you got to go get back,” Jamie Armstrong said.
“When you put pressure on somebody they say pressure makes pipe bursts,” Jaylen Armstrong said.
That pressure starts in the box. Jaylen Armstrong has led the Jaguars in batting averages over the past two seasons.
“That’s the guy when he gets on base, we got people like [O’Neill] Burgos coming up behind him. We’ve got a good chance of scoring one at least,” Dulin said.
Jaylen Armstrong is bringing major league scouts to the Bluff but his main focus is getting Southern back to the SWAC championship.
“He’s the table setter for us. He sets the tone. He sets the tone for us in practice and games. You know, he’s the guy that we’re following,” Dulin said.
“This team is near and dear to my heart, and I’ve been here for three years and I’m taking on a big leadership role. These aren’t just my teammates, these are my brothers. So whatever I can do to put us in a position to win, that’s what I’m going to do,” Jaylen Armstrong said.
“Being a leader that he is on the team, being the kind of guy he is, taking care of his grades, doing what he’s supposed to do, I can’t be any prouder. He’s making me a proud dad just by doing that. I don’t care how many bags he steals,” Jamie Armstrong said.