Friday, April 13, 2018
MCC’s Sanford signs with Western Kentucky
By Brent Cobb
He traveled from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to the McCook Community College campus – site-unseen – in August of 2017 for a chance to play baseball. He had no scholarship, just wanted a chance.
On Thursday, Jacob Sanford signed the paperwork to up his dream and the chance to continue playing baseball at Division I Western Kentucky.
“I’m really happy for him,” McCook Community College baseball coach Jon Olsen said. “He is a hard-worker on the field, in the weight-room, in the batting cage and in the class room.”
Some of his buddies back home were playing at Colby Community College two years ago and when Jake was looking for a place to play, they suggested MCC might be a good fit for him. He sent some videos and got the invitation to come to MCC as a walk-on. He paid his way for the first semester then earned a scholarship for the second semester. As a freshman in 2017 he went on to earn first team Region IX honors as a first-baseman/outfielder batting .345 with 11 homeruns and 39 RBIs. He also was named to the Academic All-American team.
“Jake is a great story because he has working extremely hard and deserves everything he has earned as he continues to meet his baseball goals,” Olsen said.
This season he sits sixth in the most recent Region IX Division 1 hitting leaders with his .393 batting average. On Wednesday he hit his fifth home run and has 33 RBIs, which also place him in the top 10 in the Region. He has a .478 on-base average with a .647 slugging percent.
When he visited the Western Kentucky campus last week, Sanford said everything just seemed to be the right fit. Yes he loved the Nick Denes Field with its AstroTurf surface (revamped for $1.3 million in 2016), but he is also excited about being part of a competitive division I conference.
Located in Bowling Green, Kent., the Hilltoppers play in Conference USA and have had 54 players drafted by Major League Baseball teams.
“Their schedule includes Louisville, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, there is lots of exposure, the facilities are great and I liked the coaching staff,” Sanford.
He also believes that since the Hilltoppers are losing a pair of left-handed hitting seniors after the season – who play leftfield and first base (his positions) –he will have a great chance to come in and contribute right away.
“He has worked hard to get to this point and has a lot of potential,” Olsen said. “His game keeps getting better and I know he’ll continue working hard and take advantage of the opportunities he’s earned.”
Sanford admits he’s relieved to have next year now lined up and that will allow him to focus on the remaining 20 games on the Indian schedule as he hopes to help lead MCC into the top four of the Empire League Standings and the chance to play post-season baseball for the second year in a row.
At MCC he’s a Sports Management major with long-range plans to develop a hitting facility back home in Canada, as well as promoting and developing traveling teams.