Over the summer there was quite a bit over buzz about the incoming freshman class for the Ohio State baseball program. With Josh Dezse and Greg Greve both being drafted, with both electing to head to Columbus over respective Yankees and Giants farm systems, long has a class been as anticipated as this one.
Outside of Ohio, in neighboring Indiana, classmate Jacob Hayes was tearing the cover off of the ball on the summer Legion circuit, picking up where he left off after a fabulous career in Terre Haute.
Following his summer exploits and keeping tabs on the latest, the Buckeye Nine was very impressed with the abilities of Hayes and was able to catch up with him as his summer season was coming to an end. As we start to introduce you to the new faces of Buckeye Baseball, we start with a profile of Hayes.
With a few stories from various Indiana newspapers, summer and senior season statistics, as well as a Q&A, here is your chance to meet Buckeye freshman Jacob Hayes.
In helping his Post 346 team win the Indiana State Legion Tournament, The Terre Haute Tribune Star featured Hayes who was on the team managed by his uncle John, but Hayes proved it was talent not family ties that led to his spot on the team.
Taking a look, it comes as no surprise.
On the season for the Wayne Newton post, Hayes batted .489 going 69-for-141. More than half of Hayes' hits were of extra-bases as he collected 18 doubles, 10 triples, and eight home runs. In slugging an incredible .929, Hayes totaled 35 RBI while scoring 68 runs. His on-base percentage was .575 with the aid of 27 walks to 12 strikeouts, and once on base he proved to just as much of a terror as at the plate in successfully stealing at 34 attempts.
The amazing numbers Hayes put up during summer play would are not a fluke. When looking at his senior season totals, you can see that Coach Beals and Ohio State may have a gem in Hayes.
For Terre Haute South, Hayes batted .427 going 38-for-89. Seven doubles, two triples, and five home runs were launched off of the short stop's bat. His .719 slugging percentage and 31 RBI supplement 42 runs scored and a .570 on-base percentage. Hayes showed a good eye, drawing 27 walks with 14 strikeouts, and yet again Hayes was perfect on the bases going 15-for-15.
Now that you know the abilities of Hayes, the following Q&A hopefully fills you in on the player responsible for such gaudy output.
Buckeye Nine 9-Innings with Jacob Hayes
B9: First we know your cousin Mike was a Buckeye in the 90s. As a child, did his playing time at Ohio State rub off on you a bit and spark an early interest in Ohio State?
JH: As a young kid, we traveled to Massachusetts once every couple years to visit some family on my mom's side. On one of these very lengthy drives, my dad decided to take a little detour though Columbus to take me by Ohio State's new baseball stadium. When I saw Bill Davis Stadium for the first time, I told my family that I would play there some day. Ever since then, I have had a goal to follow in Mike's foot steps in playing baseball for Ohio State.
B9: While Coach Todd retired following this season he was the one who recruited you and coached Mike. Was there an advantage you feel in your recruitment either with Mike offering insight or Coach Todd knowing your family that was unique to Ohio State?
JH: When Coach Todd offered me a scholarship, the first thing I thought was that I was not only going to have an opportunity to fulfill my dream of following Mike to OSU, I was going to play for the same coach as Mike. I never felt that there was an insider advantage in my recruitment between Mike and Coach Todd. I think Coach Todd appreciated our family's interest and loyalty to Ohio State, but never gave me an unfair advantage because of Mike.
B9: What thoughts went through your head when you found out Ohio State was offering you the scholarship? Was it an instant yes or did it come down to the final days in November before you signed your National Letter of Intent?
JH: I attended a camp at last June where Coach Cypret told me in person that they were planning on offering me a scholarship. I was almost positive Ohio State was the place for me. Indiana University had told me that they needed to see me play in order to offer me a scholarship. After attending a camp in September, they offered me a scholarship that was less than Ohio State's. This finalized my decision to follow my dream and sign to become a Buckeye.
B9: In going forward with Coach Beals, what were you immediate thoughts when you found out he would be your coach? Did you have a prior relationship while he was at Ball State?
JH: I was excited when I learned that Coach Beals was in the running for the head coaching job. When he got the job, I was ecstatic. Coach Beals and I had known each other since my sophomore year, and I know, from the way he runs his recruiting camp, that he will be a very intense and enthusiastic coach. I can't wait to start playing for him.
B9: Coach Beals has said he will implement an aggressive approach to baseball at Ohio State. How do you feel your game will fit into what Coach Beals will be trying to do?
JH: I have always been a hard-working person in no matter the situation. I feel that Coach Beals' style of coaching will be exactly what I'm looking for. I might be more of a quiet person, but I will do what he tells me and work as hard as I can.
B9: Were you expecting a chance to come in right away and compete for playing time? Is there anything that might make you approach fall practices differently if maybe you were behind 2-3 3 year players?
JH: Coach Todd and Coach Cypret made it clear to me that they recruited me with the intent of playing me next year. I never have had the mentality of taking anything for granted, so I wasn't expecting to come in and play starting on day one, but I will do everything in my power to get myself in the lineup.
B9: Three words that describe your playing style:
JH: Fluid, agile, and in the opinions of some of my summer teammates, "clutch"
B9: The thing your most excited about in being a Buckeye
JH: Playing for one of the biggest schools in the country.
B9: Your career at Ohio State will be a success if you:
JH: Learn to manage my time between the field and the classroom and at the same time, keep the dream of one day becoming a professional baseball player always in mind.