TULARE, Calif. (KSEE) – “I like throwing a fastball when a guy can’t catch up to it, maybe it’s a little bit of a power trip, but I think it’s fun.”
Fun for Jack Anker, but not for opposing batters.
“I think he knows that he’s got a golden arm,” says Ken Searcy, Tulare Western’s head baseball coach. “I think he knows that he’s got something there but he’ll never tell you that.”
Jack Anker knew that he was good at pitching when he “started talking to Fresno State.” But the Tulare Western Mustang does not like to brag.
“I don’t like to say that I’m good, I don’t like the attention,” says Anker. “But I would say, last year when Fresno State and I started talking.”
Anker committed to play at Fresno State as a junior.
“Fresno State was a dream of mine since I was a kid,” he said. “And being so close to home and my family and friends, it’s just really a dream come true.”
In the East Yosemite League last season, his junior season, Jack Anker recorded 29 strikeouts in 18 innings. He did not allow a single earned run.
“I did not think it was anywhere in the conversatio,n but luckily my teammates behind me played really good defense and they made it all possible,” said the league’s player of the year.
“He just has a seriousness about him when he warms up, he just takes his approach, everything is business-like when he gets on the field and that separates him a lot,” says Searcy. “He’s never been late to practice, never been late to a game. He’s early, he’s helping setting up, he’s always helping take down, he’s one of those kids that you don’t have to tell to do that. He just knows the way we like it done out here and he just gets it done.”
What is even more impressive about Jack Anker is what he does away from the field; since he was four years old, he has spent time working on his family’s dairy farm in Hanford.
“There’s not a time I don’t call him on an off time and he’s like, ‘I’m out in the dairy, I’m shoveling a pasture,'” laughs Searcy. “The other day he was driving a water truck. He’s always doing something out there.”
“I think that’s definitely helped with the toughness aspect of (baseball) mentally and physically,” says Anker. “Some days you’re out there in 105-110 degree heat, it’s just hot and you want to go home. But you can’t until the job’s done. And I think it really toughens you up and gives you a good work ethic.”
Adds Searcy, “he’s one of those kids when he shakes your hand, he looks you in the eye and he squeezes your hand right off your wrist. First time I met him was right before his freshman year coming into high school. We shook hands, and I thought, ‘Jiminy Christmas, this guy’s got a good grip.’ He’s just a very physically strong kid.
“He’s lethal with just his fastball. It’s always good to have that slider-curveball, but if you can place that fastball where you want to place it, come in with the change-up, you’re gonna be just fine. He throws all three for strikes. He really worked on his curveball last year, and it was filthy.”
“My mindset when I get on the mound is, ‘I’m not friends with anyone in this world,'” says Anker. “And I’m gonna beat you today.”