Cuero graduate wins NCAA Gold Glove award at Texas Lutheran
June 23, 2013 at 1:23 a.m.
Jennings Boothe got a surprising text message from Texas Lutheran University baseball coach Greg Burnett last summer.
Burnett wanted to know if the Cuero graduate would consider moving to third base for his senior season after playing at second base as a sophomore and junior.
"He told me he was thinking I would be a good fit at third base," Boothe recalled. "He said the move would benefit the whole infield."
Boothe was willing to change positions but not without some trepidation.
"You know you can make most of the plays," he said. "It's those bunts down the line or the balls hit in the hole toward shortstop that you worry about. But the learning curve was a lot shorter than I expected."
The transition went so well that Boothe became the first player in Texas Lutheran history to win a Gold Glove.
Boothe was one of nine players in NCAA Division III to earn the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings award for his fielding.
"I found out about the award when a bunch of my teammates started texting me," Boothe said. "I was surprised."
Boothe, who also played some at second base, made only three errors the entire season and finished with a fielding percentage of .981.
He had 157 fielding chances and had 62 put-outs and 92 assists. He contributed to 12 double plays.
"It was an unbelievable season, and I can't think of a better team to play with," Boothe said. "Winning the award was just a bonus. It's the perfect way to go out."
Boothe was a first-team All-American Southwest Conference West selection after hitting .289 with six doubles and 17 RBIs and scoring 30 runs.
He was 9 for 9 in stolen-base attempts and walked a team-best 32 times. He led the Bulldogs with a .441 on-base percentage.
Texas Lutheran advanced to the conference tournament and earned an at-large bid to a regional tournament before finishing the season with a 33-14 record.
Boothe also won the team's sportsmanship award.
He will return to Seguin in the fall to complete the final six hours he needs to obtain a degree in business administration with a specialty in marketing and management.
"I'm sure I'll miss baseball, but the main thing is I went out in such a good fashion," Boothe said. "To end on such a good note team-wise and individual-wise makes it a little bit easier."