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AJ Begay is lucky number 13

Choosing to attend Minot State University has been like hitting a home run for AJ Begay. Number 13 on MSU's baseball team, Begay is a Navajo transfer student from Utah who has been in love with baseball since age 3. For him, finding the right team has been a labor of love.

"I have always loved baseball. I started with tee ball and batting cages, but it just wasn't the same. Baseball and being a part of a great team is important to me," Begay said. "At MSU, I feel like I am finally a part of a great team, and I'm not talking just about baseball."

Begay felt as if he struck out on the college experience at other schools. He transferred from a school in Colorado to Williston State College so that he could continue to play ball. It was at WSC that baseball brought him closer to MSU.

"I had been to a few different colleges and they weren't the right fit. I really wanted to be a part of something bigger," Begay said. "I took a tour of MSU and after speaking with coaches, advisors and professors, I knew that MSU was going to be the right school for me. Sure, the small class sizes are great and you get more one-on-one time with professors, but there is more to it than that. I feel welcomed here and accepted for who I am. I feel like I fit here."

Inspired by his father's perseverance and commitment to family, Begay understands that sacrifice and determination can help you succeed.

"My dad has been my inspiration," he said. "He grew up on the reservation before moving to Utah. From a young age, he dedicated himself to improving life for his family. While I was growing up, he often worked two jobs and when he wasn't working, he was helping others. He is a very giving man who can do just about anything! That is the kind of person I want to be. I believe getting my degree will help me do that.

"Utah feels like a world away," Begay added, "but you have to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Just like in baseball, dedication and hard work can make anything possible."

Begay will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 2015 and plans to pursue a career in baseball.