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Senior Spotlight: Whipple was poised for best season yet with Vintage High baseball
Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Whipple was poised for best season yet with Vintage High baseball

From the Senior Spotlight: A celebration of Napa County student athletes series

With the cancellation of the spring season for high school sports, the Napa Valley Register is recognizing senior athletes who have had their careers come to a premature end due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today we focus on Jake Whipple, pitcher for the Vintage High baseball team. Coming off of a strong junior season, the right-handed hurler and shortstop had a good shot at being at the top of the Crushers’ rotation this spring after getting stronger and making improvements in the offseason.

Sports

Baseball.

Years on varsity

Two years.

By the numbers:

He was batting .500 with 6 hits in 12 at-bats with 3 runs scored and 3 RBIs in 6 games before the season was halted. He was also 2-1 with a 2.92 earned run average and 11 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched over four outings.

He took the loss in the final game, a 9-4 defeat to Clayton Valley Charter in which he gave up 7 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.

His varsity career batting average was .330, with a .372 on-base percentage.

He had 29 hits, 11 RBIs, 15 runs scored, two doubles and a triple in 30 games.

He was a finalist for All-County Baseball Newcomer of the Year as a junior, and was selected to an all-state leadership team as a senior.

What was your reaction to the spring season being canceled?

I was shocked. It was all so unreal to me. I didn’t believe it at first. (Head coach Rich Anderson) told us after the game that it was over. I could tell by the way he was walking towards the team in left field after the game that it was not going to be good news. After he told us, it took a couple minutes for it to all sink in for the team. Once it settled in, I was heartbroken. This was supposed to be my best and most fun season of my life. To have it snatched away just like that was heartbreaking.

What had you hoped to accomplish in your sport this spring?

I wanted to have the best and most fun season of my life with my lifelong friends. I also hoped of achieving MVP this season.

How has coronavirus changed your life?

It has affected me the same ways as it has affected everyone else, but considering I’m a senior and having my season snatched away came to heart. I have worked hard my whole life to have the best senior season possible so I was able to move onto college ball, and I had it taken away.

Have you picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?

Cliff jumping into water holes.

Best memory from high school sports?

The camaraderie with my team.

What do you miss most about sports?

I miss having the drive to go out and do the thing I love every single day with my best friends.

Summer plans:

Hope for a summer season.

Fall plans:

Attend Arizona State University.

Coach Rich Anderson says

Jake came in as an undersized freshman but with good skills. These skills and his competitive nature have helped him become a varsity player. He played two demanding spots in pitcher and shortstop and never shied away from the limelight. He liked to play in pressure spots.

It’s a shame that our season was cut short because his best times were still ahead of him. He was poised to have a great senior year. He is bigger, stronger, and more mature. This year would have been his time to shine.

Although he is a man of few words, he was an integral part of our team culture and chemistry. I will miss his competitive spirit. He loved to compete and that is why I think he loved to pitch. He had an arm injury that he took time off for and rehabbed. He did everything he needed to do in order to be ready for the season. His arm was in great shape and he was dialed in before we were asked to shelter in place.

He has decided not to play next year in college. I really was hoping that he would continue to play because I feel his best baseball was just about to start happening.

Senior Spotlight: A celebration of Napa County student athletes

With the cancellation of the spring season for high school sports, the Napa Valley Register is recognizing senior athletes who have had their careers come to a premature end due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Contact Gus via phone at 707-304-9372 or email at gmorris@napanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustGusMorris.

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Sports Reporter

Gus Morris covers St. Helena and Calistoga sports for the Napa Valley Register. Before joining the Register in 2018, he covered collegiate sports for the student publication at the University of Oregon.

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