CLICK HERE TO READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE, written by Eagle Tribune Staff Writer Dave Dyer
Yes, there are a few Mike Trouts out there, guys who seem capable of doing it all from the get-go.
But, let's face it, most complete ball players need time to develop one part of their game or another. Saint Joseph's College and Kingston Night Owls' catcher Jacob White of Salem, N.H. is a case in point.
Even in high school, when he hit .345 as a senior MVP for the Blue Devils, White was lauded most for his defense. His last year with Salem, he threw out 13 of 14 runners trying to steal and was adept at calling games and blocking pitches.
As a freshman at Saint Joseph's in 2015, White struggled at the plate, going just 5 for 26 for a .192 average while starting eight games.
The next year, he lifted his average to .296 and this past spring, while starting 22 games, he improved to .304 all the while shining behind the plate with a .994 fielding average.
Now, in his third year with the Night Owls in the North Shore Baseball League, White's offense has continued to rise. After starting only five games his first year, he started 19 of 24 at Saint Joseph's this spring while hitting .317.
He has continued the upswing this summer. When the Night Owls got out to a 7-0 start, he led the team with a .421 average. He's cooled off a bit, but still is hitting .346.
"My main goal this year has been just to improve on my hitting," said White. "I've worked a lot on my swing ... tightened up the screws and been more aggressive at the plate.
"So far, it's been going well. I'm seeing the ball better and making good contact. Being a catcher, I take a lot of pride in my defense, but I want to become a more complete player so I work on my hitting."
Night Owls' coach Paul Sartori has certainly noticed.
"Jake has always been an excellent catcher but he has developed into an offensive threat for us," said Sartori. "He's made himself into one of the best if not the best catcher in the league."
At the same time, White has become more of a team leader for the Night Owls, a role that has not come naturally.
"In the past, coaches have told me that I'm too quiet, that I have to speak up more," said White. "That's something I've improved on. I feel like being vocal is a part of my game now."
Said Sartori: "Leadership starts with the catcher and works its way throughout the field. Jake has shown that leadership. I'm very happy he is with us."
As for White, he's happy to be with the Night Owls as well. "We have a solid group of guys who take the game seriously and I like playing for Paul. I see myself playing for as many years as I can."
THE SAINT JOSEPH'S LINK
White is just one of several players from the successful Saint Joseph's program who play for the Night Owls. Others include:
Chris Gerossie — Former Pinkerton player from Chester Sartori calls "the best defensive center fielder in the league."
Greg Emanuelson — Versatile all-around player who played at Alvirne, leads the team in hitting.
Aaron Hall — Formidable former Central Catholic pitcher from Haverhill, getting stronger all the time.
Joey Murphy — First-year player from Derry. Former Pinkerton standout plays second base and is a superb leadoff batter.
"All five players mean so much to the Night Owls success," said Sartori. "We have leadership skills all out in the field. They have fun with each other, which allows them to enjoy the game, bringing out their best of talents and skills."
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.