Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
PIKETON — When Jacob Mathews took on the bump in his career, Piketon’s chances of winning rose exponentially.
The 6-foot-3 right-handed hurler enjoyed a fruitful career as a Redstreak while developing into the player he is today. His success in between the lines and work ethic away from the field has paid off.
Last week, Mathews made his commitment to Lakeland Community College officially official by signing his National Letter of Intent.
“I chose Lakeland because I felt I could go and contribute right away,” Mathews said. “I went on my visit and met [Lakeland head] coach [Howie] Krause and loved the program he has and is building.”
As a sophomore, Mathews compiled a 3.50 ERA and struck out 20 hitters in 14 innings of work.
He expanded his role as a junior, becoming one of the team’s top pitching options and helping the Redstreaks nail down 13 wins.
“My family has been amazing through all of this, going with me on all the visits and making the process as easy as possible for me,” Mathews said. “I’ve also had some amazing coaches that have helped me along the way. From the guys at Midland to coach [Gene] Bumgardner early in my high school career to, now, [Piketon] coach [Jonathan] Teeters, they all have helped so much and I’m very thankful for them.”
According to Prep Baseball Report, Mathews’ fastball reaches 84 miles per hour. He can also mix in a curveball and change-up when needed.
The Lakers compete in the NJCAA and are a member of the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference. This past spring, the team was 1-7 before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Mathews mentioned, he’ll have the chance to earn a spot in the rotation upon arrival.
“I’m most looking forward to competing everyday and becoming the best player I can be,” Mathews said. “Being a college athlete is huge to me. It’s something I’ve worked for as long I can remember. But I know I have a long way to go and my journey is just beginning. I’m excited for the future.”