University of Alabama pitcher uses baseball as platform for faith

Motivated by a coach who told him in the eighth grade he would not amount to anything in baseball, Connor Shamblin was named 2018 Tennessee Mr. Baseball in Division 2-AA. 

Completing his senior year at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Shamblin enrolled at the University of Alabama in July 2018.

“That was one of my goals at the beginning of the year,” he said. “I wanted to win a state championship … but to win Mr. Baseball shows how God can move in anyone’s life. To win something like that means a lot, to be considered the best player in this division. I know the amount of work I have put in and to see it pay off is a relief — that I did not do all that to come up short. I accomplished my personal goal.”

With a fastball that hit 95 mph and a slider, his favorite pitch, he had 63 strikeouts in 53 innings his senior year. 

“He is the best player on the field, the best pitcher, the best hitter,” said Briarcrest head baseball coach Craig Hopkins. “I don’t know of a time when there was somebody else who was a better athlete.”

A right-handed pitcher, Shamblin originally committed to Mississippi State University. But after two weeks he couldn’t shake the pull to Alabama, his “dream school” since he was a young boy, he said. 

‘What He calls me to do’

“I had to go to Alabama. I love the coaches and everything.”

He is now focused on his goals at Alabama and his future.

“I feel like God wants me to be a baseball player,” Shamblin said. “If that is what He calls me to do then I will be the best player I can be. God’s sovereignty is what ultimately drives my life.”

Hopkins expects Shamblin “to shine at Alabama. … Once he commands all his pitches he is going to be a special player.”

Ben Cowell, Shamblin’s youth pastor at Germantown Baptist Church, told him baseball can be a platform for expressing his faith.

“I try to use my platform for God,” he said. “If His light shines on you, if you have all these eyes on you, what do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known for your career or spiritual walk with Jesus like Tim Tebow?”

Shamblin’s spiritual goal is to lead someone to Christ. “I have the right material to do it. I have got to build up the nerve and not be timid,” he said. 

How to Pray:

  • Pray for Shamblin to continue to use his platform at the University of Alabama to shine the light of Christ. 
  • Pray for those Shamblin comes into contact with to have their hearts and minds opened to the gospel.