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Designer name, designer game: St. Laurent stars in the infield

Ashton Woodruff
Redshirt junior third baseman Austin St. Laurent garnered the 2022 Sunbelt Freshman of the Year Award. Feb. 21. St. Laurent became the fifth App State freshman to win this award, as he led the team in OPS, hits, total bases and tied for the batting average lead.

With spring approaching in the High Country, the Mountaineers will trot onto the diamond with a team highlighted by redshirt junior third baseman Austin St. Laurent. 

Head coach Kermit Smith described him as a “really special kid” and a “really special player.” 

“I love coaching him,” Smith said.

God found a way to get me on the mountain

— Austin St. Laurent

From Elon, St. Laurent graduated from Western Alamance High School in 2020, ranked as the 17th overall recruit in North Carolina by Perfect Game. 

As a sophomore, he posted a .400 batting average with 24 RBIs and a .360 average as a junior. St. Laurent was a team captain in his senior year before enrolling at East Carolina. 

“We step on the field, and these guys are looking at me to set the standard and bring the energy,” St. Laurent said of his team captain status.

In Greenville, he redshirted his freshman year and played collegiate summer ball for the Carolina Disco Turkeys, but entered the transfer portal in June 2021. On his way to post a .321 batting average in summer ball, the Disco Turkeys traveled to play the Boone Bigfoots in Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium. His visit to Boone in 2021 was his first time returning to the High Country since playing baseball at 14. 

This wasn’t his last time returning as St. Laurent transferred to App State heading into the 2022 season. Smith and his staff recruited him throughout the summer and made a connection with their future starter.

“God found a way to get me on the mountain,” St. Laurent said. 

By joining the Mountaineers, St. Laurent built a connection with Smith and considers him a father away from home, as Smith’s team culture revolves around life and family, not just baseball.

“He’s definitely somebody that I can rely on, and somebody that I see being in my life for years,” St. Laurent said.

Austin St. Laurent played 40 games in the 2023 season, starting in 39 games and recording nine doubles and 18 RBIs Feb. 21. St. Laurent had a career-high five hits, five RBIs and four runs during the team’s March 10, 2023 game against No. 24 Campbell.

In his first season in the Black and Gold, St. Laurent became the fifth Mountaineer in program history to be named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. He led the team in on-base plus slugging, slugging, hits, triples and total bases, catapulting him to earn Sun Belt honors and be named Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. 

At the plate, St. Laurent tallied 60 hits, 32 runs, 25 RBIs and four home runs in 2022. Defensively, the Mountaineer shortstop switched to first base for the majority of the season before switching back to shortstop due to a teammate’s injury. 

“I came in and I told coach that I just wanted an opportunity to play,” St. Laurent said. “It doesn’t matter where.”

As a team, the 2022 Mountaineers lost in the Sun Belt Tournament quarterfinals to Georgia Southern after a 20-33 season record. 

With a retooled, senior-led 2023 team, App State had high hopes entering the season after being doubted and picked to finish 12th in the Sun Belt preseason poll.

“We have an opportunity to take this team to a higher level and compete for another championship,” said former Mountaineer infielder Luke Drumheller at the 2023 media day.

St. Laurent batted a .286 average with 44 hits, 36 runs, 18 RBIs and two home runs. Additionally, he started at shortstop and outfield throughout the season as the Black and Gold began 7-0.

Unfortunately, St. Laurent’s season was derailed by an injury, and forced him to miss 15 games in April and May. 

“The main thing that I was looking to do is see how I could help our team in a different way,” St. Laurent said. “Whether that was bring a lot of energy, or see if I can just make somebody’s day better.” 

After being cleared to play, St. Laurent joined a Mountaineer team that upset No. 8 Coastal Carolina 11-0. 

The Black and Gold finished the season 30-25, including a program-record 16 Sun Belt victories and a Sun Belt Tournament run concluding in the semi-finals against Southern Miss.

 Going into his redshirt junior season, St. Laurent fully recovered from his injury and improved upon his game too. 

“Coming into the fall and not only getting healthy, but getting healthy and strong,” Smith said. “Now, he’s playing freer, harder, faster, everything.”

Redshirt junior third baseman Austin St. Laurent and head coach Kermit Smith pose as each other for Halloween. (Courtesy of App State Athletics)

During off-season workouts, St. Laurent and Smith let loose on Halloween by dressing up as one another in the weight room as they ironically had no idea of each other’s costumes.  

“I think that tells you the relationship there,” Smith said.

The grind of the off-season and regular season for St. Laurent focuses the vision for the entire App State baseball program.

“I feel like I can speak for everybody on our staff, we want to go to Omaha,” St. Laurent said. “I just wanna see our whole staff out there, and playing in front of those crowds and making it past regionals and super regionals.”

As the Mountaineers begin the season, St. Laurent characterized the 2024 team in three words: winners of Omaha. 



Correction: A previous version of this article listed Austin St. Laurent’s position as an outfielder. It has now been updated to his new current listed position.

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About the Contributors
Chance Chamberlain
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Ashton Woodruff
Ashton Woodruff, Photo Editor
Ashton Woodruff (she/her) is a junior IDS Criminal Justice/Photojournalism major, and a Social Work minor. This is her second year with The Appalachian.
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