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Former James Clemens baseball star Tommy Crider is now playing in his athletically sophomore year at Belmont University located in Nashville. He’s been selected as one of the top players to watch in the Ohio Valley Conference in the 2021 season. Photo- Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Tommy Crider- “Player To Watch” At Belmont University

NASHVILLE, TENN.- Once regarded as the “rock” of the James Clemens High baseball program before he graduated in 2018, Tommy Crider is now one of the young stars of the Belmont University Bruins, the Div. I Ohio Valley Conference program based in Nashville. The athletically sophomore multi-position player has been named to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s “Top Players to watch in the OVC” pre-season list.

“I came in as a freshman and was very happy with the opportunity to play as I started about two-thirds of the season, mostly as designated hitter,” said Crider from his room at Belmont. “Then last year, which was cut short by COVID, I played well and I look forward to this season.”

Due to the pandemic, players were allowed to keep their seasons eligibility by the NCAA thus 2021 is Crider’s sophomore season déjà vu. He hit .238 with 15 hits, three homers and 15 RBIs a year ago. He played mostly first base starting all 17 games of the Bruins who were 14-3 when the season was stopped.

Last April he underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, which he injured while in high school. He played through the pain as much as possible until making the decision to have the injury revamped in preparation for the current season.

Crider, son of Andrew and Cynthia Crider, began playing baseball by age five at Madison’s Palmer Park. Most of his time was playing catcher where Crider always felt the position was his first love as being a catcher was always a pivotal part of the entire game seeing how the defense works and helping with the pitchers and how they approach each batter. In high school, he was an All-State selection for the Jets.

Crider is studying nursing and hopes to venture into the anesthesia area of the medical field while he carries a 3.56 grade point average into his twice-a-week schedule of hands-on clinics. Due to his enormous class schedule, Crider has been forced to miss several practice sessions with the baseball team, but has interesting stories on how he makes the baseball field from the nursing clinics without missing a beat.

“I’ve numerous times finished clinic, grabbed my uniform, change clothes when and where I can and sprint to the field,” said Crider. “There was one time when my roommate drove me to our game at Morehead State of Kentucky. The frenzy sets off sparks in your brain and I seem to keep things together.”

Having a medical degree fits right in with Crider who seemed to be connected to the medical field in an unusual way since age four. He and his older brother were in their car with their mother. After both children were taken out of their car seats, the young Crider, in his energetic way, took off on a sprint across the parking lot of the Baptist Church across the street from Madison Elementary School in downtown Madison. That day it was raining and upon his over-eager sprint fell to the pavement. A car was traveling through the lot and was unable to miss the young toddler and ran over his legs. He was rushed to the hospital and was lucky to receive just minor injuries and no permanent, long-lasting damage.

Besides his play for the Bruins and the grind of attending school, Crider also volunteers in local hospitals and helps package meals for the homeless.

“I’m excited about this season, as we were picked to finish first in the conference with seven starters returning off last year’s team,” said Crider. “I’m healthy and look forward to the competition which is much more talented than my years at James Clemens. The game will speed up on you if you’re not careful.”

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