Cole Harbour teen cooking up something in Nebraska

Dartmouth Arrows alum Jake Sanford (Cole Harbour, N.S.). batted .374 with 12 home runs in 53 games for McCook Community College in 2018. Photo: Brent Cobb/ McCook Community College

Dartmouth Arrows alum Jake Sanford (Cole Harbour, N.S.). batted .374 with 12 home runs in 53 games for McCook Community College in 2018. Photo: Brent Cobb/ McCook Community College

By Mike Carroccetto

Saltwire Network

Cole Harbour teen cooking up something in Nebraska

With dreams of cooking up the perfect recipe to reach baseball's professional ranks, a Nova Scotia teen is off to a sizzling start in Nebraska.

Cole Harbour's Jake Sanford, a former Dartmouth Arrow, slugged nine homers in the recently completed fall season, setting the table for a potential main course with the McCook Indians next spring.

So interested was Sanford in going to the U.S. to play baseball, he pro-actively marinated his wares for McCook Community College brass by sending stats and video. McCook is a junior college in the American midwest, about four hours due east of Denver.

"Jake reached out to us," said McCook assistant coach Patrick Morey. "He introduced himself, (and) after talking with coaches/scouts in the area, and watching some video, (McCook) felt comfortable offering him a walk-on spot. He has done a great job of putting himself in line to be a part of our team (moving forward). We expect Jake to be a big part of our team (in the) spring."

Sanford appeared in every game - usually in left or right field - during the fall season, but also played some first base. "He also pitched a bit, but isn't expected to (be) on the mound this spring," said Morey, who added that Sanford possesses a strong throwing arm. Sanford, interestingly, had never pitched prior to this summer with the Dartmouth Junz.

Showcasing his big bat is exactly what the 19-year-old Sanford cooked up as a walk-on during the Region 9 Empire Conference fall season. The freshman slugger's nine homers led McCook, seemingly cementing his future with the team.

"Jake has (also) been a great citizen and quality teammate in his time here and those are big reasons why he is put himself in a position to play (come late January)," adds Morey. "He currently is in the mix for first base and left field, but could also be used as a DH (if he's not playing a position)."

Sanford, the Auburn Drive High School athlete of the year in 2014-15, has always been able to dish the long ball.

"I grew up idolizing David Ortiz, because I'm (also) a lefty and always (been) a big hitter," says Sanford, a 6'3", 205 lb. chicken-and-rice loving power-hitter, who is studying Sports Recreation Management at McCook. "For the past couple years I've been a pull hitter, but this year I've been working on going (to the) opposite field, hitting the ball wherever, because that's what the (pro) scouts are looking for."

Sanford, who played with the Junz this past summer, has played in several national tournaments, including the 21U championship in Regina this past August. Team Nova Scotia, represented by the Junz, went winless (0-4). Sanford drove in but one run. None-the-less, Sanford appears to have a very bright future in the game.

Whether the opposing pitcher hurls a fastball - or perhaps hangs something off-speed - Sanford says he's capable of shredding it. In the Indian World Series played earlier this month (McCook roster was split into two teams) Sanford broke a 2-2 tie with a fifth-inning solo blast, clinching a World Series win for his side.

After two years at McCook, Sanford hopes to move onto a four year NCAA Division I program.

There hasn't been a Nova Scotia native player in Major League Baseball since Vince Horsman, a left-handed relief pitcher with Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A's back in the early '90s.

Sanford is confident he can be among the next generation of Canadians ready to put himself on the menu for a taste of pro ball.

SandlotsCBN Staff