Hard work paying off for sophomore baseball star
By Dawson Eastes / J1 staff
“You have to work hard in order to get results.”
Countless athletes across the world have grown up hearing this quote.
But how many physically and mentally put their abilities to the test to achieve their goals?
One of the athletes who honestly does is sophomore standout baseball player, Jack Walker.
Walker is playing in his first varsity baseball season for the New Palestine Dragons after playing junior varsity as a freshman. He is batting .472, with an on-base percentage of .596, and 14 runs batted in during 14 games this season. His improvements from the previous season were not on accident.
“I’ve put in countless hours of work to become a better baseball player. Cuts off of the tee everyday to keep my swing in shape. Band work helps my arm recover. I also get in the weight room as much as I can and develop a stronger build,” Walker said.
Walker has put in numerous hours of hard work and dedication with his personal instructor, and New Palestine graduate, Danny Collier.
“Jack has taken the time and really listened to numerous people to get to where he is right now. Through the weight room and extra hours in the gym and batting cages, Jack has really fine-tuned his craft. He is motivated and he uses that to continue to work. He always gets better every time he comes in to work. He stays until he is satisfied with the work he put in.”
This work ethic is what Walker hopes will carry him to the next level.
“It’s my goal to go to college to play baseball and get a good education,” Walker said. “I believe I can achieve that goal by never setting limits and always getting better. Even if I get to the college level, I’m not going to settle. I dream every night about playing in the big leagues. Once I start my college career, I’m going to have to work 100 times harder to come close to my dream.”
Because of this goal, Walker will never be satisfied with himself.
“I’ll never be satisfied, that’s what motivates me,” Walker said. “I’ll always have something to work for, I’m not going to stop.”
Even with his elite skills, Collier knows Walker can still improve on his developing game.
“Like any athlete, Jack needs to continue to gain strength,” Collier said. “The weight room is the best place in the world for that. Footwork drills and quick-twitch drills will help him become an elite athlete in general. Flexibility will also make him faster in general. His strength and explosiveness will help him in the long run.”
Upperclassmen have also had an impact on Walker’s high school career.
Senior, Keegan Watson, a University of Nebraska baseball commit, has had an influence on Walker and has seen the improvements Walker has made since the beginning of his freshman season.
“The rest of Jack’s career I expect big things,” he said. “Our team is solid and we should be able to advance fairly deep into the tournament. Hopefully I can come back after I graduate and see how far along the underclassmen have come and see how far they have developed into young men and baseball players.”
Walker has also shown signs of great potential while on the diamond this season.
“Jack has great potential, but with that means he has to continue to work that much harder,” Collier said. “Sports can take anyone far if they put the time into it and stay humble. There always has to be a drive and motivation to get better. With the instruction and drive Jack has around him, he could do very well. Baseball is a game to take one at bat at a time. You fail more than you succeed in baseball and that’s how you deal with the failures that make you the better baseball player. Jack’s attitude and leadership will take him far.”