Will Zimmerman grew up on a farm 12 miles north of Park River, N.D.

He's a long way from home now, but he's still doing all the things on the baseball diamond those in northeastern North Dakota remember about the speedy second baseman.

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Zimmerman, a junior at Arkansas State, is batting .405 with a .549 on-base percentage in his first season playing Division I baseball in the Sun Belt Conference.

"Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to play pro baseball," Zimmerman said. "As I grew up, I got the perspective of how difficult that would actually be. There are so many baseball players who want to do that. To be a kid from a town of 1,400 people, it's kind of cool that I have the privilege to play Division I baseball and have a lot of fun."

The Red Wolves, of Jonesboro, Ark., are 8-4 in the Sun Belt and 20-13 overall. They're tied with Texas-Arlington for the West Division lead.

Zimmerman's average leads Arkansas State and would lead the entire Sun Belt if he had enough at-bats to qualify.

Zimmerman prepped at Park River High School, earning 2016 Region 4 Senior Athlete of the Year honors. There, he hit .425 throughout his high school career and holds Aggies records for stolen bases and hits.

Although North Dakota State showed Zimmerman a little interest out of high school, he didn't hold a scholarship offer from the Bison so he opted for the junior college route.

He attended Indian Hills Community College in Iowa, batting .330 and stealing 40 bases.

As a sophomore at Indian Hills, Zimmerman started to hear from NDSU again but an assistant coach at Indian Hills had a friend who was an assistant at Arkansas State, a place he was told needed help in the middle infield.

After his sophomore season, Zimmerman took visits to both NDSU and Arkansas State.

"My parents came down and we looked at Jonesboro," Zimmerman said. "It went well, and I really liked the coaches and people down here. We drove all the way back to Fargo, a 14-hour drive the next day."

Although playing close to home was appealing, Zimmerman opted for Arkansas State, knowing the weather would allow him to be on the field earlier in the spring.

Zimmerman's season at Arkansas State has been a rollercoaster. He's played in 14 of the team's 33 games.

In the second game of the year, Zimmerman rolled his ankle and had to miss three and a half weeks.

When Zimmerman returned to the lineup, he played in nine games before breaking his hand diving into second in a series against Troy.

"I've really never been injury prone," Zimmerman said. "I don't know what's going on."

Zimmerman was told he'd miss four and a half weeks with the hand injury.

About halfway through that timeframe, however, Zimmerman ran out of patience. After a midweek game, at about 9:30 p.m., he grabbed a bat and went down into a batting cage.

"I couldn't make a fist around the bat, so I just let my middle finger relax off the bat," he said. "I took a swing and it felt perfect. I asked an assistant coach to come downstairs, and he stood in the door and watched one swing and I ripped it straight to the back of the cage. (The assistant) walked back upstairs and I was playing two days later."

Zimmerman said his hand isn't 100% yet, but he's made the adjustment to hit more to the opposite field.

"It's going well," he said. "I'm hoping to keep this up and help the guys get our first-ever conference championship. We have a really good squad this year."