Four years ago, Jarrod Belbin picked up his life in Melbourne, Australia and moved to the United States to pursue a career in baseball. He has a dream of playing in the MLB one day, and he took the opportunity to start that career in 2019 with Arizona Western Community College. He now finds himself playing at Campbell University entering his fifth year.
The love of baseball has always been a part of Belbin’s life, but he also loved a few other sports as well. From swimming, to basketball, cricket, Australian football and baseball, Belbin has not come short of experiences in sport. He found his passion is for baseball, and he knew that he ultimately wanted to make it to the United States to make this passion into a career.
“When I came to the United States, I was like, wow, this sport can take me around the world,” Belbin said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so that’s why my love kind of just stuck around.”
Moving to the United States for baseball was an easy decision for Belbin. His entire family supported his dreams, and they understood that this is what Belbin wanted to do with his life.
With any move comes tough transitions and adjustments. The biggest adaptation Belbin had to make was to the heat, especially here in Macon, Georgia. Another adaptation was the speed of the game. Belbin noted that the play is much faster here in the United States, and that was a huge change for him.
During Belbin’s earlier years, he started practicing at a baseball academy in Victoria, Australia which led him to an opportunity to play on the World Select Team. This was an amazing accomplishment as Belbin was just one of 10 Australians selected to come and compete in Arizona.
“We played against a few minor league teams,” Belbin said. “And then I played against my junior college. They wanted to give me an offer, and so I took it. That’s how I ended up here in the United States.”
During Belbin’s last year playing for Arizona Western Community College, he talked to many schools, but only one seemed right for him.
“I knew Campbell University was the one for me because they stuck with me through Covid-19, showed me they really wanted me and developed a connection with me,” Belbin said. “They were really open and let me decide on my time because they knew they really wanted me to come. That’s how I knew it was the right place for me.”
Belbin has a passion for baseball, and his desire is to eventually carry that to the younger generations. He noted that if he was not pursuing a career in baseball, he would want to begin a career giving young players the opportunities to make their dreams come true.
“Eventually, I would like to start my own business evolving around just baseball for younger kids to have more connections in the United States,” Belbin said. “I essentially want to get their dreams over here in the United States. There is just so much more accessibility here, and I could see myself playing a part in making more dreams of Australian young people come true.”
Belbin has accomplished a lot during his baseball career. He’s played on many teams including participating in an MLB Draft League, but his biggest accomplishment in his eyes is just getting over to the United States to play. After his efforts to make his dreams come true, he said this moment probably tops all the others.
While his biggest accomplishment was getting to the United States to play, his best memory in his baseball career occurred just a few weeks ago here in the United States as well.
“I hit a homerun in the Knoxville Regional against No. 1 seeded Tennessee,” Belbin said. “It was an unbelievable moment.”
Out of all of Belbin’s time as a baseball player, he has thoroughly enjoyed his time here in the United States. Even though he pointed out many differences between the two areas, he has loved his experiences here that he would’ve never had in Australia.
by: Kennedy Finch