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College athlete of the week: Jake Hammons

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Senior | Central Washington University
Sport: Baseball
Hometown: Snohomish
High School: Snohomish

What he did: Hit .563 with 12 RBI in four games, including a 3-for-4, six RBI performance in a 31-15 win over Montana State-Billings. The 31 runs and 32 hits set CWU modern-day records, and it marked the most runs in a game by a Wildcats team since 1947.
What’s next: The Wildcats plays host to Western Oregon this weekend.
The two-minute drill
So how’s it going?
Great. I’m just working on my unicycling. I’m taking a unicycling class and I’ve got a final coming up.
A unicycling class? What’s that like?
It’s pretty hard. You have to learn to get up by yourself and go 30 feet. I’m at 10 feet right now, so I’ve got two weeks to get another 20.
Well, if we could move on to another athletic endeavor, your Central baseball team scored 31 runs in one game last week. Do you think Coach Bennett with the CWU football team would take that?
Yeah, definitely. Any sport would take that number. That’s a lot of runs, points, anything. I looked up at the scoreboard after six innings and we already had 28. That’s unbelievable.
How does that happen? Do you have McGwire, Sosa and Bonds in the middle of your lineup?
I wish. That would help out a lot. I guess we had 19 different guys come to the plate in that game and 18 of them got a hit. It was just one of those days. I wish we could do that every day. If I knew the secret as to how, I’d have a long, successful career in coaching.
Shifting gears here, you were a part of one of the last Snohomish boys’ basketball teams to go to state, the year Jon Brockman was a senior. And you obviously had success as a baseball player there. What has it been like watching from afar as some of the Snohomish High teams have, comparatively, struggled since the addition of another high school in town?
I’ve gone back for a few games, and it’s definitely different. Now, there are less students (at SHS) and you have to pay to go out for a sport. When I played, you didn’t have to pay; now it’s $100. It adds up if you’re playing three, four sports. And that doesn’t even include the cost of all the equipment. Some kids can’t even afford to play. But as far as there being another high school, I hear a lot of districts are going to be doing that in the Wesco. I hear Marysville and Lake Stevens might be adding schools.
At least the Panthers have some good coaches, especially on the baseball diamond, huh?
Yes, definitely. But basketball does too.
Of course, we’re talking about your father, legendary baseball coach Kim Hammons. So how old were you when your dad first started showing you how to throw and hit a baseball?
Well, the day I was born, he put a baseball in my crib. I wasn’t strong enough to grip it yet, but he put it in my hand. I’d say at about 1 or 1½, I was throwing. And at about 2 or 3, I was hitting out in the yard with a whiffle ball and one of those big, yellow bats.
Didn’t he teach you that catchers grow up to have bad knees?
He wanted me to be a shortstop. I actually played pitcher and shortstop growing up. But one of my good friends, Kevin Rodland, was a shortstop, and I knew he was better than me, so I made the switch. I moved to catcher, and I love it. It’s my favorite position, by far. You always have the game in your hand, one way or the other.
Switching gears again, who do you have winning the Final Four this weekend?
West Virginia. I had them winning it all when it started, too. I really wanted U-Dub to beat them, but there was a part of me that wanted West Virginia to win that game so it wouldn’t ruin my bracket.
Do you get out on the basketball court much these days?
Yes, I do. We’ll go down to the rec center and play. Also, I have a class in my major where we had to set up this basketball tournament. And my team won. So that was pretty great.
So you’ve got classes in Bracketology and Unicycling? What kind of a major do you have over there?
I’m an education major. It’s part of the P.E. and teaching classes. We had to organize a tournament.
When you’re on the basketball court, have you ever scored 31?
No. Maybe in my dreams, but not on the court. If I did, it would’ve had to be back in high school, when they had five guys guarding Jon (Brockman) and I had no one on me.
Scott M. Johnson, Herald Writer
Story tags » College Baseball

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